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I am one in a million

How Street Invest  and Big Sofa created a remarkable video : ‘I am One in a Million’ from qualitative research findings – with the objective of changing the public perception of Street Children – to humanise them.

Street children’s stories: “I am one in a million”    

Street children are young people who live and / or work on the streets and they can be found in every country of the world. The global population of street children is contested, however UNICEF state that the figure almost certainly runs into tens of millions and have put this figure as high as 150 million.

The need for accurate and disaggregated data is vital in providing support to this ‘missing’ population and qualitative and quantitative data have roles to play. To quote ODI’s The Data Revolution: “even the most willing governments cannot efficiently deliver services if they do not know who those people are.”

Positive change starts with informed perceptions

Quantitative data is needed to demonstrate the scale of the issue – the number of children living on the streets of a given country and the demographic of that population. But it is qualitative data that paints a true picture of street children’s realities and the complexity of the challenges they face day to day. Without such data, stakeholders, from NGOs to governments, cannot be properly equipped to intervene in street children’s lives.

Misinformed perceptions can lead to highly damaging actions. For example, if street children are seen as criminals, it can lead to incarceration and violence. If they are seen as passive victims with no rights, they may be removed from the streets at all costs, even if it is against their will or not in their best interest.

StreetInvest, a global charity that provides support to street children, approached video analytics company Big Sofa, to conduct a qualitative research study into street children, to try and challenge these perceptions as a starting point to drive change. 

Ethnography on the streets

The research methodology was developed based on exploratory and ethnographic qualitative methods and was conducted in four countries: Guatemala, Zimbabwe, Kenya, and India.

Street children are often highly mistrustful of adults, who they may associate with abuse, which made access a barrier. It was agreed that the most effective and ethical* way to conduct the interviews was to utilise existing relationships between the street children and the ‘street workers’ in StreetInvest’s network. Street workers are trained adult social workers, who operate in street environments to build strong, trusting relationships with street children, to help them develop and grow in a positive way.

The discussion guide covered seven key areas: 1. relationship with family; 2. context around leaving home; 3. everyday lives, especially experiences around food and shelter; 4. experiences with “others” including non-street connected adults and children, other street children and institutions such as police, government officials; 5. work and money; 6. their knowledge of their rights; 7. future aspirations.

Fieldwork commenced over a six-week period and during this time, the street workers recorded 21 interviews and additional observational footage, with footage ranging in length between 2 minutes and 56 minutes.

The power of video analytics

The data was uploaded to Big Sofa’s platform after being translated and transcribed. The videos were analysed within the platform, its technology allowing analysts to code and tag specific speech patterns and phrases, based on the transcript, as well as behaviors, based on the visuals. Codes were drawn from the discussion guide, for example “Rights” and additional themes emerged during the analysis process, such as “Playtime” and “Religion”.

After analysing the raw footage and identifying key insights, a three minute long output film was created. The film used direct quotes from the children, organised thematically to share powerful insights into their lives. StreetInvest also have access to the extensive, searchable online video library of street child interviews, stored securely on Big Sofa’s platform.

Impactful, shareable output

Big Sofa’s technology can draw quantitative data from qualitative inputs, but the relatively small scale of the study meant the dataset could not be used for quantification. No matter: the power of this study lies in the shareable and impactful output film.

The film is a versatile asset which StreetInvest will use to support numerous streams of its strategy, including awareness raising and advocacy. One such example is its inclusion in StreetInvest’s ‘Values and Attitudes’ workshop. These workshops have been delivered to high-level stakeholders, including the Department of Social Welfare in Ghana and the film will help build deeper empathy and understanding among participants. Through this research, street children have been able to share their own stories, using in their own voice, in a manner which can be shared with those who have the power to change their lives.

* All the street workers involved were trained in Child Protection and informed consent was gained from the young people who participated in the filming.

About the Authors:

Georgina Day, Charity Impact and Communications at StreetInvest, UK

Flora Somogyi, Consultant at Big Sofa, UK

Transforming LGBT Opponents into Allies

How Research Guided Program Strategy and the Behavior and Attitudinal Shift that Resulted from It


In 2015 the only LGBT non-profit organization in Cambodia, Rainbow Community Kampuchea (RoCK), commissioned Kantar TNS Cambodia to conduct a large-scope baseline study to objectively verify and understand the situation of the LGBT population in Cambodia especially from the straight community’s perspective. The Opinions, Attitudes and Behavior toward the LGBT Population in Cambodia study employed both qualitative and quantitative methods. The 1,085 sample was among straight people and 478 among LGBT respondents in 10 provinces and Phnom Penh capital. The study was representative of the Cambodian target population with respect to gender, income, and urban/rural populations. Focus group discussions were also used to unearth personal narratives and experiences to better understand the trends we learned through survey research.

Key findings from the research have been used by RoCK for the organization’s strategic planning and program implementations. One of the programs is a training on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) and LGBT human rights providing to the straight community with a particular focus on local authorities in order to make LGBT issues and people more visible, ordinary, normal and natural as part of everyday life in Cambodia.

To understand how our 2015 study has been used to create impact, we further explored RoCK’s program implementation, specifically among straight people. The effect of the program, which is a result of the research, is demonstrated through case studies and through the 2017 survey results (was comprised of 1,683 straight people across 11 provinces and the capital city in both urban and rural areas).

LGBT rejection and acceptance levels among straight people

Evidence from a follow-up study in 2017 with straight people, who had not participated in RoCK’s workshop, indicates that the living environment for LGBT in Cambodia has not improved. Hence, Cambodia needs an intervention to improve the living conditions for LGBT people by transforming LGBT opponents, especially extreme opponents, into allies.

We classified LGBT opponents and supporters into four categories (graph below). The LGBT rejection and support spectrum shows that while no less than three in ten Cambodians completely reject LGBT in the last two years, the number drops to only one in ten for those who completely support LGBT in the same periods. Although about half of Cambodians support LGBT, they tend to moderately support them (nearly four in ten) rather than completely support them (one in ten).

Figure 1: LGBT rejection and support spectrum


RoCK intervention program results

Post-test of the workshops conducted by RoCK among 149 participants shows that after the training all of them agree same-sex love is human rights; the majority (97%) come to an understanding that there should be laws or policies supporting LGBT couples and recognizing their relationship; and almost all of them (97%) believe people are LGBT because of “their nature” not “their choice”.

Our case studies with four straight participants in two provinces, Kompong Speu and Battambang, reaffirm the knowledge gained mentioned above. The knowledge shift that ultimately leads to attitudinal and behavioral change among straight people across LGBT rejection and support spectrum is illustrated in our paper

An added value for RoCK and other NGOs

It is evident that the LGBT problems will not improve without a program intervention given that SOGI and LGBT rights are a relatively new – or still nonexistent – topic in public discourse. Being in an infant stage can also offer advantages in mainstreaming straight people in Cambodia since it is easier to raise awareness among those who have no knowledge than to teach them to “unlearn” in order to “relearn”.

RoCK workshops that have been conducted since 2016 positively impact participants we interviewed, especially the opposed ones. Since RoCK has not had concrete way to measure long-term impact of the program, it would be good for RoCK to conduct rigorous evaluation in order to closely monitor the perceptions, attitudes and behavior change of their participants. We are very pleased that RoCK contacted us after we finished our paper for input on workshop evaluation to track the impact of the program.

In addition, we have been invited to be guest speakers to share our findings. For instance, WaterAid Cambodia recently contacted us to present our findings to their staff in order to raise their awareness, and to integrate LGBT topic into their Equity and Inclusion Program. Moreover, we are probably invited to give our speech to LGBTIQ activists, experts and scholars working on SOGIESC issues and all other allies who will attend ILGA Asia Regional Conference happening in Cambodia from December 04-08, 2017. We hope that the learning will be informative and relevant to other countries facing with these same struggles.

Lastly, one of the recommendations, tracking the program impact, has already been implemented by RoCK. We do hope that other recommendations in the paper will be taken into consideration by other NGOs, especially by RoCK in order to improve the lives of LGBT people in Cambodia 


Vinh Dany, Menh Vuthisokunna and Rebecca Norris (2015). Opinion, Attitude and Behavior toward LGBT population in Cambodia

CCHR. (2015) ‘LGBT Bullying in Cambodia’s Schools’

About the authors

Dany Vinh is a Senior Research Manager at KANTAR TNS Cambodia.

Layhour Sao is a Senior Research Executive at KANTAR TNS Cambodia.

Turning a corner on negative perceptions of refugees in Europe

The world is currently facing the largest refugee crisis since World War II. There are 22.5 million refugees in the world. And the largest group, 5 million, are refugees from Syria. At the same time, refugees have negative connotations, with the European public’s propensity to help being on shaky ground.

We investigated whether increasing public education of the refugee crisis by tackling the most prevalent barriers to support with targeted communication, can positively influence a change in public attitudes and behaviours. To achieve our goal our study consisted of four main objectives:

  • Add to current literature on public understanding and sentiment towards refugees
  • Identify the most prevalent barriers to the European (UK and Germany) public supporting refugees taking refuge in Europe
  • Identify the most prevalent barriers to the European (UK and Germany) public taking action in support of refugees
  • Identify the most effective communication strategies to address these challenges (UK).

We hypothesised that by increasing public awareness and education, revealing the personal stories behind the “refugee” label, and using a targeted communication strategy, it is possible to positively influence public perceptions. However, we also aimed to drive behavioural support and were not convinced this was a realistic goal among those who currently oppose refugees in Europe. Thus, to achieve our objective we targeted two different segments:

  • Attitudinal target: those who oppose refugees coming to their country but are open to learning more about the crisis
  • Behavioural target: those who do not oppose refugees coming to their country but do not currently take action in offering their support (e.g. donating, volunteering).

Our research was designed based on five underlying principles:

  1. Qual-Quant Integration: Using traditional open-ends and video responses valuably enriched our understanding of public sentiment and the ways in which key barriers need to be tackled. Our integrated approach provided a holistic, nuanced and accurate understanding of public perceptions, whilst achieving the speed, scale and validity delivered by a quantitative survey.
  2. Timed responses: to capture immediate, non-rationalised associations with the term ‘refugee’ respondents were given 20 seconds to provide a one-word answer.
  3. Behavioural measurement: At the end of the survey participants were given the opportunity to take action in support of refugees by clicking on a website link to sign a petition, donate money, volunteer, or any other action. This behavioural measurement provides an added layer of insight into the effectiveness of communication tested and the validity of respondents’ attitudinal conversion.
  4. Actionable Insights: We used annotated heat maps, in combination with our qualitative analysis to gain a precise understanding of what information resonates most strongly and why.
  5. Iterative Process: to successfully target the right communication to the right people we deployed an iterative, two-phase process, in which the learnings from Phase 1 informed the design and focus of Phase 2.

Phase 1

The purpose of our first phase was to be exploratory, our objective being three-fold:

  • To gain a holistic picture of public sentiment towards refugees
  • To identify the three most prevalent barriers to attitudinally and actively supporting refugees in Europe
  • To understand the underlying drivers of these barriers to create targeted communication to test in Phase 2.

We evaluated 14 barriers for our attitudinal target group and 12 for our behavioural target group, using a Maximum Differential scaling trade-off methodology based on Bayes Theorem to rank their importance. To select the three most important barriers to tackle in Phase 2 we used TURF analysis. With this methodology we were able to identify the combination of barriers that would have the biggest penetration rate within the population.

Phase 2

Phase 2 aimed to identify the type of communication that is most effective at tackling our selected barriers, by triggering a change in perception or willingness to actively help refugees.For each barrier we tested three types of communication. For our attitudinal target group we tested a personal story and factual information, both related to a specific concern, and a general personal story that incorporated multiple non-specific elements relating to the refugee crisis.

Figure 1. Statistics stimuli for barrier “Refugees increase the risk of terrorism”

In contrast, our behavioural target group were presented with information on different opportunities to actively support refugees. Our study reveals there is opportunity to turn a corner on negative perceptions through a targeted communication strategy. We find the biggest barrier to attitudinal support is the easiest to tackle and almost 90% of our behavioural target positively impacted by the communication tested chose to take action at the end of the survey. However, interestingly, we uncover that some barriers are easier to overcome than others, the most effective form of communication depends on the barrier being tackled and outcomes differ in terms of the type of support triggered. Our key finding were the following:

  • The first and most important finding is that it is possible to positively change peoples’ perception of refugees and drive supportive action.
  • One message doesn’t fit all. Personalized messages have the biggest impact on peoples’ perceptions, compared to more generic stories.- Whether statistics or an individual refugees’ personal story is most effective at countering public concerns depends on the barrier being tackled- There is a need for communication to more clearly differentiate between refugees and economic migrants as they are often grouped together, being perceived to have an equally negative impact on society
  • There is an opportunity to increase positive action by educating people on the different ways they can contribute to helping refugees (e.g. donating clothes, volunteering etc.)

Our project therefore consults on the biggest opportunities available for stakeholders, in terms of which segment to target depending on their objective and provides actionable guidelines on how best to communicate to trigger positive change.

Going forwards, we feel there is opportunity for further research to uncover the extent to which UK findings are similar in other European markets and countries where refugees are a concern, in order to continue consulting on how to turn a corner on negative perceptions and increase public support for refugees.

Nijat Mammadbayli, Research Analyst, SKIM, Netherlands

Patricia Dominguez, Senior Research Analyst, SKIM, UK

Samantha Bond, Research Manager, SKIM, Netherlands


Look beyond numbers: we need to know why change happens

Sonia Whitehead, Head of Research Programmes at BBC Media Action gave an insightful presentation at an ESOMAR Foundation session recently held in Amsterdam during the ESOMAR Congress. The session aimed at debating some ways forward to help tackle societal issues.

Working in the development sector I am aware that, particularly over the last few years, donors and others expect project results to be quantifiable. Numbers talk.

This was apparent at the UN World Data Forum in Cape Town in January when we looked at how the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) will be measured, and it was discussed again at the Esomar World Research Congress in Amsterdam this week. Donors want statistics to demonstrate impact and show a project is value for money, but aren’t as confident using insights from qualitative research.

In my team we crunch a lot of numbers. In 2016, for example, we surveyed more than 20,000 people, which yielded strong results. For example, a statistical analysis of governance data across seven countries (which controlled for confounders such as people’s age, education levels and existing interests) shows that people who listened to or watched our programmes know more about politics and get more involved in civic life. In our health work, we used quantitative data to understand how change happens.

But we have increasingly come to appreciate the need for qualitative research to contextualise our data and explain why we are having an impact. We’re not alone.

At the Esomar conference I took part in a panel with colleagues from My Choices Foundation, StreetInvest, and Save the Children to showcase how qualitative research can provide greater value to the development sector. I summarised what we had learned from our recent projects.

Story behind the numbers

Qualitative research helps us to explain the story behind quantitative data.

Our radio health shows in Ethiopia, Jember (Maternal Light) and Biiftuu Jireenya (Dawn of Life) aim to help women have safer pregnancies and deliveries, and improve the health of newborn babies. Our surveys showed they were reaching a huge audience – around 21 million people across three states – more than a third of the adult population.

However, analysis of our data showed it was difficult to isolate the impact of our programmes. The health sector in Ethiopia was changing fast the government and donor investment leading to local health workers being trained across the country. This investment was reaping benefits; data from the Demographic and Health Survey showed the percentage of women going for antenatal care had jumped from 27 % to 62 % between 2011 and 2016. But what impact were we having?

To understand, we designed qualitative research, whereby we spoke to women and those they felt influenced their decisions (such as their local health extension worker, their husbands and close family members).

Women told us how health services and social norms had changed since they had given birth to their older children. Things that had been unthinkable, such as giving birth at a health facility, were now possible. They were also able to identify storylines and items in the shows that made them think differently about what was “normal” during pregnancy and birth. The shows were reinforcing the advice that health workers were giving – and health workers also felt women trusted them more because they were saying the same information that they had heard on the radio.

Reaching vulnerable people

A limitation of quantitative research is that it’s hard to reach vulnerable groups such as refugees or survivors of gender-based violence. They are less likely to agree to a face-to-face survey or might not have a fixed address. In this situation, it helps to use qualitative research techniques that put respondents at ease.

Last year, we spoke to Syrian refugees travelling from Greece to Germany to understand how humanitarian agencies could best communicate with them. We employed Arabic-speaking researchers and trained them to use a narrative approach, where they sat with a refugee for at least an hour, hearing about their journey and the part communication had played in it. Being listened to, rather than asked a series of fixed questions, helped the respondents feel comfortable and more likely to share information.

Qualitative research can also help us understand sensitive issues. In Syria, we assessed our radio drama Hay el Matar. To understand issues around the conflict we asked a trusted, local NGO to use projective techniques. This involved asking respondents to discuss the feelings of others – either people in their community or an “extremist” character in the drama. People felt more comfortable talking about how others view violence, or explaining the motives of a fictional character, than talking about themselves.

We discovered that Syrians interpreted people’s accents as a strong signal for which side of the conflict they were on. We relayed this to our radio producers who took greater care with the accents of the actors. We could not have grasped these nuances with quantitative data alone.

Insights on a budget

There’s another cold, hard fact to take into account. Conducting quantitative research, on the scale needed to measure media interventions, is expensive. Project budgets often don’t stretch to this so we need to gain qualitative insights in the absence of large-scale, representative surveys.

At the end of the panel discussion in Amsterdam this week, the Esomar Foundation’s Phyllis MacFarlane asked a crucial question: “What does the development sector need to do for qualitative research to be taken more seriously? Steve Kretschmer from Surgo Foundation summed it up nicely. Quantitative data needs to be used to explain the “what” he said, but when it comes to the “why”, well-designed qualitative research is invaluable. He added that the development sector could work with the commercial sector to adopt practices such as using video to capture emotions (rather than relying on what people say) to make the most of audience insight and – most importantly – to make a difference.

More on that another time …

Sonia Whitehead is Head of Research at BBC Media Action.

(Originally posted in BBC Media Action Insight Blog)


Measuring the nature and scale of violence against women in the EU

What is violence against women and why does it matter?

Violence against women (VAW) is one of the most systematic and widespread human rights violations across the world. The United Nations defines violence against women as;

any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life[1].”

 Examples of violence against women include; physical violence, sexual violence including rape, psychological violence including stalking, control or denigration as well as female genital mutilation, forced marriage, and honour crimes.

Most violence against women is perpetrated by men. These can be intimate partners – the people with whom women are either in or have been in a relationship with or other people such as family members, colleagues, acquaintances or strangers. Therefore, violence against women is embedded in gendered social structures and closely interrelated with gender inequality, poverty and economic dependence.

VAW is systematically underreported to the police or other agencies so the scale of the issue is not reflected in official data. Furthermore, intimate partner violence is often seen as a “private” matter of the home, which makes women less likely to speak out. This matters because it means that decision-makers, practitioners, non-governmental organisations and other actors don’t have the data needed to make informed decisions and to develop targeted policies to address and prevent it.

 In response to a lack of comparable data on violence against women, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights[2] (FRA) commissioned a consortium led by Ipsos MORI[3] to conduct the first EU-wide robust and comparable survey on the extent, nature and consequences of violence against women, as reported by women. Ipsos MORI oversaw the data collection, contracting affiliated agencies in each country to carry out the fieldwork.

What methods do you use to collect reliable data on sensitive subjects?

Due to low levels of reporting to the police or other agencies and the difficulties associated with holding perpetrators to account through the judicial system, population based surveys provide the most accurate estimates of the prevalence of violence against women.

In 2012, Ipsos MORI on behalf of FRA conducted a face-to-face survey with 42,000 women across the 28 Member States of the European Union[4]. The survey included questions about physical, sexual and psychological violence, childhood victimisation, sexual harassment and stalking (including the role of the internet). The survey consisted of 1,500 interviews with women in each country, with the exception of Luxembourg where 900 women were interviewed. The women were selected from the general population to participate using a multistage random (probability) sampling approach. The sampling approach is important because it ensures that the results are representative of the female population aged 18 – 74 years living in each EU Member State and increases comparability of the survey results between countries.

Interviewing women about their experiences of violence is a delicate and sensitive situation. The aim of a survey of this nature is to encourage the respondent to disclose her experiences of violence to the interviewer without causing re-victimisation or re-traumatisation. For example, some women may be traumatised or experience distress when recalling and describing these events. Others may have repressed the memory of the abuse, and yet others may have never spoken about their experiences.

To address the sensitivities, interviewers were trained using a survivor-centred approach. Some techniques used in this approach include;

  • Having an all-female interviewing team
  • Not mentioning or defining violence, only asking about specific actions
  • Only conducting the interview in a private setting so as to avoid retaliation
  • Providing information about local support services when asked

As a result, many respondents, including some of those who had not talked to anyone about the violent incident, were ready to share their experiences with the interviewer and appreciated the fact that they were asked about a topic which they considered very important. Ipsos MORI delivered the final dataset and technical report to FRA, who completed the full analysis of the results.

What happened as a result?

Headline findings show that 33% of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence since the age of 15, while 5% have been raped since the age of 15. Just 33% of victims of partner violence and 26% of victims of non-partner violence either contacted the police or some other organisation (such as victim support) following the most serious incident of violence. The results of non-reporting of incidents of violence highlight the importance of using population based surveys to gather data on this issue[5].

FRA released the results of the study in March 2014 and the information collected has allowed FRA to make a number of recommendations on how to address this issue and better protect the human rights of women in the EU. Examples include amongst others;

  • Member States should take particular note of the needs of victims of gender-based violence when applying the EU Victims’ Rights Directive
  • Member States should ratify the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combatting Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention) and the EU should follow suit

In the days following the launch of the results, FRA recorded more than 1,500 news articles and broadcast items referencing the results of the survey. At EU level – as an example – European Commission has used the results to justify funding for awareness raising campaigns to tackle violence against women, while Members of the European Parliament and civil society organisations have found in the survey results a tool which supports their calls for better victim protection measures, for example through the ratification and implementation of the Istanbul Convention.

To make the empirical data accessible to a wide audience FRA used a variety of dissemination techniques. This includes official publications, press releases and speaking at events to raise awareness as well as data visualisation tools and video presentations. Please visit the project website here for more information.

Ipsos MORI has built upon the methodological skills its team developed during this project by continuing to deliver population based surveys that explore issues related to violence against women with partners in Asia, Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa.

[1] General Assembly Resolution 48/104 Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, 1993


[3] Ipsos MORI worked with HEUNI and UNICRI in the delivery of this study

[4] For full details of the project please refer to the FRA’s main results report found here;

[5] FRA, Violence against Women: an EU-wide survey – Results at a glance, Luxembourg: Publication Office of the European Union, 2014,

If you wish to know more about this project please contact: Sara Grant-Vest, Research Director, International Social Research, Social Research Institute, Ipsos MORI | | @ipsosmori



Shedding Light on the Digital Grey Areas of Teen Dating Violence: Co-Creation Research


In 2007  the Family Violence Prevention Fund partnered with the Ad Council and R/GA to create a campaign to prevent teen dating violence both now and as teens mature and enter adulthood.  Our initial research found that teen dating had gone digital and teen dating abuse online had followed. This emerging area became our focus.

Research was conducted at key points of the year-long development process. Because we wanted to understand how teens interact with each other in a digital environment, we created that environment and then brought respondents in to interact with it.  At every point in the research process, respondents created artifacts—words, pictures and ideas—that did not just inform the subsequent campaign, but literally became part of the campaign.

In early 2009, the site and multimedia campaign was launched to draw teens’ attention to the issue of digital dating violence and to help them “draw their digital line” by deciding for themselves what’s right or wrong rather than be lectured by adults.

The campaign included banners, social media, TV, print, radio, outdoors and a mobile site. At the website teens could view content, as well as create and share videos, call out cards and more. The campaign helped start a conversation in the media on teen dating abuse and in the first few months led to over 300,000 visitors, 200,000 video views and 28,000 call out cards sent.

Please take a look at this short video to learn more about the challenge, the research, development of the campaign and to see the creative in action.


Research Phase I (2007 – 2008)

First we reviewed existing academic and secondary research. Next we needed qualitative research to get a deeper, more nuanced and current understanding of the situation – including teens’ social norms, and vernacular. And we needed nationwide input on a tight timeline.

Abby Leafe head of New Leafe Research partnered with Judith Oppenheim, research director at RGA, and the team in developing innovative research methodologies to meet budget, timing and diversity constraints; leverage new digital research opportunities; and create an environment where teens would be comfortable participating and being open. Ben Smithee head of The Smithee Group conducted the male friendship groups.

  • Online Immersion: This phase explored the language, attitudes and behaviors of teens regarding dating. For a week, they recorded their lives and experiences in words and photos on their own ‘blog’ created for this research.  This included structured activities and open-ended forums.

Figure 1:  Teen blogging interface


  • In-home friendship circles (14 in 3 cities): The next phase built upon these learnings using friendship circle discussions conducted in the home of a host teen who recruited same sex friends.  The first step was getting the host parent’s permission. We included structured discussion and  loosely directed conversation about their dating life and language.

Figure 2: Portion of Language Dictionary which emerged from early qualitative


Next we held creative development work sessions with creative teams and teens.

  • Creative development workshops:  We had 5 same-sex friendship groups of 3-6 teens per group. It was important to ensure authenticity and excitement in the campaign experience, language, and look and feel. We had a mixture of exercises such as word sorts, word mapping, and sketching, as well as exposure to work-in-progress concept stimuli.

With the input from the creativity workshops, R/GA developed a revised set of concepts for exploration with a new set of teens.

  • Concept evaluation groups: Friendship circles evaluated the creative overall as well as specific components.
    • Concept review: Feedback on campaign elements, including mobile, out-of-home, print, TV, radio, and web site.
    • Creation stations: The concept for the campaign web site included a host of interactive tools, including a fairly robust video creation application, an interactive quiz and an ‘i-card’ creator. The room was set up as a ‘laboratory’ with two distinct “creation stations” where respondents were asked to try the tools, and specifically to create their own video in responses to the creative elements they previewed during the focus group.  Respondents were provided with a host of everyday props to use to create their videos, including, dolls, toys, puppets and so on.

Figure 3:  Content created by respondents with group stimuli


Phase 2 (2009) 

A second phase of research was conducted to provide guidance on how to strengthen individual campaign elements or to add additional components.

  • The first stage used  in-home friendship focus groups to explore the current campaign
    • In addition to a general discussion about their lives, friendships and romantic interests more structured activities included sorting photographs of celebrity couples into the categories of ‘the good,’ ‘the bad,’ and ‘the ugly.’  Lastly, each group was given the opportunity to visit to give their impressions of the site in general.

Figure 4:

  • The second stage included an online video diary, a texting journal and a survey of respondents’ social networking pages.
    •  Daily written and video based activities covering role playing, tech usage demonstrations, problem/solution creation
    • Texting the moderator each time they were engaged in a digital communication with a romantic interest
    • Documenting each time they saw, read or heard something that fit the theme of “digital grey areas’
    • Texting a “status update” at regular intervals (e.g.hourly) to help paint a picture of “a day in the life” of today’s teens

Figure 5: Prioritization of digital infractions
















A Less Charitable Cashless Society? – Tapping Into New ‘Tap To Give’ Technology


The shift from a cash-carrying to cash-less society in the UK has been incredibly rapid, with the effects of the shift to contactless increasing in the past year – there are now over 100 million contactless cards in issue in the UK and over 350 million contactless transactions were made in December 2016 alone. Although this shift to using digital transactions has been lauded by many as proof of new technological advances making our lives easier, it has also created challenges and barriers to charitable giving that charities and brands must tackle together to overcome.

For many of us who don’t carry cash – or at least not in the same way we did 10 years ago – we are unable to donate our spare change to those in need as we used to do. In the Netherlands an ad agency recently released a new solution to this growing tension; a jacket, to be worn by homeless people that not only keeps them warm but also allows passers-by to donate €1 by tapping the contactless payment area. The money that is donated can then be redeemed in shelters for food, a bed and a bath, and those who donate can be sure that their donations are being used as they would wish.

This isn’t the first foray by charities to try and encourage us to donate using our contactless cards – Cancer Research UK have trialled contactless donation terminals in central locations, and the Blue Cross attached contactless donation points to dogs to create the world’s first canine fundraisers – ‘Tap Dogs’. The move to cash-free is forcing charities to rapidly innovate, but this can be incredibly beneficial to their fundraising. The children’s charity NSPCC said that their recent trial using contactless donations set at a fixed amount of £2 actually increased their average donations, because people are less likely to donate small coin denominations.

Part of the reason why contactless donations have captured people’s imaginations is due to the new kinds of interaction that they provide. Contactless technology is often criticised for diminishing human social interaction, but some charities have creatively flipped this expectation on its head. The Blue Cross have used dogs to create a human-canine interaction, but Cancer Research UK have also used contactless technology to trial new interactive window displays. When a contactless donation was given, the shop windows displayed a video showing the difference that can be made by the money given. Not only does this innovation close the gap between giving to charitable causes and seeing the effects of that donation, it is also available 24/7, and utilises the physical space on the high street that the charity already has at their disposal.

Contactless donations have also taken off because they tap into our need for everything to be on demand and instantaneous. Talking to someone in the street, filling out endless clipboard forms and having to stay involved and engaged through endless emails and letters doesn’t fit with our new, fast-paced, more demanding mode of living. By using contactless donations, charities can combat this problem of a more time-poor, less patient society, by giving supporters more autonomy over their donation.

At Kantar Added Value we believe that brands should play a vital role in shifting and shaping changes in culture. We’d love to see charities partnering with other brands in this area to fully explore all innovation opportunities; people want to donate money to worthy causes, but they now expect this to fit in around their lives with as little effort and fuss as possible. Mastercard have already voiced their concerns about the growing gap between those who have access to bank accounts, and those who are cut off from the rest of society and denied opportunities because of their dependence on cash. Mastercard and other financial services brands could work to resolve this issue by backing a charity contactless campaign, such as the jacket for homeless people, to provide more credibility and confidence for those who decide to donate on the street. Alternatively supermarkets could encourage in-store charity donations by offering to round up transaction amounts, from say £6.59 to £7.00, with the extra money going straight to the customer’s charity of choice, to provide a seamless donation experience.

Although the evolving digital economy offers solutions and possibilities for many, we must be careful as a society to ensure that those without access to it are not excluded entirely – and brands should play a vital part in helping to bridge this gap. Charities also need to ensure that they are not left behind by changing societal behaviours, and that they continue to innovate and explore new modes of charitable giving.

In Brief…

We wanted to examine how technology is changing and how people use it to interact with culture. We worked with the Cultural Strategy team at Kantar Added Value and utilized cultural scoping and trends research to explore how things manifest and change in culture.

 For this work we used qualitative trends research, and looked at the actions of brands in the charity and financial sector to draw strong conclusions about the changing nature of charitable giving. For this piece of work we looked specifically at technology and how the most emergent and switched on charities were using this to their advantage.

We now have a greater understanding of how new digital technology is shifting cultural and societal behaviors, and have developed a strong call to arms for brands to become involved in the charity sector. This research has shown how the third sector can stay abreast of but also drive cultural change, and how they can work collaboratively with brands. The research encourages charities not to see these cultural shifts as problems but opportunities to stay relevant and a part of peoples lives.


Hannah Robbins – The Cultural Practice at Kantar Added Value

New Generation Data Solutions to Understand True Attitudes toward Global LGBTI Human Rights

Imagine if you could ask people across the whole world what they really think, and imagine that they were to answer with brutal honesty and complete anonymity, about an issue that is a criminal offense in huge swaths of the world and is highly divisive and politically charged.

In 2016, RIWI, a global survey technology and data firm, partnered with ILGA (International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association) to conduct the largest global study on attitudes towards LGBTI people. Over 96,000 respondents provided their real opinions on LGBTI people, marriage equality, gender and sexuality expression, and human rights.

This breakthrough collaborative study was particularly special since by using RIWI’s Random Domain Internet Technology (RDIT™) the project team was able to conduct the survey in 65 countries, including in many which criminalize same-sex activity with imprisonment, stoning or even death. Critically, citizens were able to provide their responses voluntarily, anonymously and securely. A study of this magnitude, on this topic or on other sensitive social and related policy issues, would not be possible using traditional research methods where in-person participants are usually very unwilling to come forward due to fear of persecution and ostracism.

Initial findings from the Global Attitudes Survey show that sentiment toward the LGBTI community has emerged as more favourable over the past five years across the world, but the findings reinforce that acceptance is far from a reality in dozens of countries around the world. Some interesting findings include:

  • 34% of respondents say that their opinion on LGBTI people has become more favourable in the last 5 years. 67% of respondents think that human rights should be applied to everyone, regardless of sexual orientation. 43% of respondents from the African continent believe that being a sexual minority, transgender or intersex person should be illegal.
  • 68% of respondents answered that they would be very or somewhat upset if their child said they were in love with someone of same gender (when gender is defined in the legacy binary sense of only ‘man’ and ‘woman’).
  • 36% of respondents in Asia, 34% in Latin America, and 21% in the Middle East, North Africa and Eastern Europe support marriage equality.
  • 41% of respondents from the Middle East and North Africa agree that companies should be allowed to fire LGBTI employees on the grounds of their sexuality or gender expression.

While the findings demonstrate that attitudes toward the LGBTI community are slowly becoming more favourable, the study also reveals that acceptance and equal rights are far from a reality in numerous countries around the world.

The data collected by RIWI and ILGA are proving to be vital in developing tools for advocacy, planning and funding of sexual orientation and gender identity movements, and are helping move LGBTI discussions away from the ‘anecdotal’ to the ‘actual’, through facilitating actions based on credible global evidence.

Attitudes toward the LGBTI community is just one of many issues where the global NGO and development communities are increasingly looking toward tapping into innovations in global citizen data and new insight generation in order to support data-driven and evidence-based policy making, measurement and evaluation, and citizen engagement initiatives.

Global social research is clearly one area where the global market research and Big Data industries are situated to not only ‘do well’, but also ‘do good’.

By Eric Meerkamper, Global Head, Citizen Engagement, RIWI Corp.

RIWI ( is a global survey technology and sentiment measurement firm that captures opinion in any country and region in the world using its patented Random Domain Intercept Technology™ (RDIT).

Telling: helping charities to improve their fundraising

“Our goal was to help charities to act better by listening in a different, radically open way (‘anders luisteren – beter doen’)”







Telling was started bij Ineke van de Ouderaa and Ferro Explore to help charities to improve their fundraising in a fundamental way by shifting the focus from ‘raising funds’ to ‘creating, cultivating and nurturing a meaningful story that people want to connect with’. So the primary goal is ‘connecting’ to enable a more sustainable ‘asking’.

Our goal was to help charities to act better by listening in a different, radically open way (‘anders luisteren – beter doen’). Our hope is that if the charity sector does this, they will collect more overall. They will raise more funds and be able to make more of an impact on society.

The method is open to all charities but tested with two: ‘Kinderfonds MAMAS’ (helping South African ‘Mamas’ to take care of children) and ‘De Nierstichting’ (‘Kidney foundation’).


In essence our method can be described as ‘story listening’. Each participating charity send out a mail to a part of their contributors to invite them to share a story about their experiences with charities, using one question only:

Suppose you are at a birthday party and for some reason the conversation turns to the subject of charities. The guests exchange their stories about experiences they had and what those meant to them. What stories, experiences or anecdotes would you share in this situation?

After the story was told, we asked the contributors to answer a few questions about the story they shared. One of these questions was ‘if your story is about a charity, which particular one is it about?’ But other questions were also asked, such as ‘What is the emotional tone in your story?’ (very negative, negative, neutral, positive, very positive), or ‘To what extent does your story show trust in the charity?’ (A lot of trust, trust, neutral, not so much trust, hardly any trust or even distrust). In this way we build a narrative database, containing not only the stories, but also the meaning of the story from the perspective of the teller. We used Sensmaker for this.

We hosted workshops with a multidisciplinary team of each charity, using cognitive edges ‘archetype extraction method’. The aim of this workshop was to submerge in the stories, and to discard the conscious and unconscious biases. The stories were plastered on a wall. We used creative methods to be able to make the solutions more out-of-the-box. The outcome of the workshops was threefold:

  • a list of ‘archetypes’, representing unconscious frames of interpretation;
  • embedded out-of-the-box solutions for the specified problem, allowing opportunity for action to be taken;
  • an experience; embodied, emotional knowledge that is able to cut through the natural defence system we have as humans.

The combination of subjecting the group to the story without any interpretive frame, followed by a combination of processing tasks that speak to both our ‘conscious’ and ‘subconscious’ faculties, was a guarantee for embodied learning, based upon openness and connection.

In a final workshop we worked together with the charities in connecting their internal passion and idealism with the view of their contributors in a meaningful way. This helped them to become more fundamental in their approach to cultivate an understanding, but extremely pragmatic in how to use this understanding and convert it into action.


The process described above creates more than just ‘findings’. It energizes. It also lead to significant actions, and therefor improved their existing practice:

  • In this case the findings motivated MAMAS to create a concept for a new TV show — a show that again proved to be extremely successful. Over 5.000 new donors voluntary signed up by going to the internet or calling the call centre; all attracted by the message of ‘MAMA POWER’, the lean and mean organisation, the leading role of African women etc. In short, MAMAS got the message from it’s donors and then repeated it in the larger world of the tv audience.
  • For the Nierstichting the profound learning –the gold– was that they need to stick even more to the core of their message. This was an important finding for them, and it would not have come across so easily in a regular research. Because of being exposed to the raw stories, it became clear that the ‘basic story’ is simple. The Nierstichting also understood that it had to invest more in the core activity of encouraging people to become a donor after death, or to facilitate being a living donor, since this is such a powerful story to be associated with.

We feel that our approach is highly valuable to society and NGO’s in special. The main reason for this is that in combines openness, connection and action in a very natural way. It is a profound way of discarding unknown biases and really connect with society.

By Jochum Stienstra, Director & Owner, Ferro Explore!

It’s all in a name: The power of case studies in inspiring action

Note: An abridged version of the ESOMAR study “Leveraging and Empowering Cambodia’s Other Half” is available here

When initially conceptualizing our study, Leveraging and Empowering Cambodia’s Other Half, the need for the research was clear. What we didn’t realize at the time, however, that our selection of the research methods would be the most critical piece regarding the study’s actionability. I’d like to walk you through my experience, which demonstrates how the inclusion of a compelling narrative aided the study’s resonance among both NGOs and the research community.

Let’s start at the beginning.

Need for the research

Gender inequality is a pervasive issue in Cambodia, manifesting itself in daily life in the form of domestic violence, a culture of male impunity, higher suicide rates among women, limited involvement in politics and public leadership among women, and lastly, the education of Chbab Srey (“code of moral conduct for women”) in the public school system.

Chbab Srey is a traditional poem written prior to the 1860s in Cambodia’s pre-colonial era. Certain lines in Chbab Srey (translated) include:

“Remember that you are female so don’t say anything that implies that you are equal to your husband.”

“You must serve and trust your husband, don’t make him feel unsatisfied.”

Additionally, there is an insufficient amount of publically accessible data on Khmer gender issues, and none specifically exploring gender across generations.

Further, from a global perspective, studying gender is relevant as women comprise half the population and even the most developed markets still have work to do (e.g., pay equity issues in the U.S., U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015).

Given the scale of the issue, my colleagues and I were particularly drawn to exploring Cambodian gender dynamics. The aim of the study was to understand the current state of gender (in)equality in Cambodia, particularly analyzing differences across gender and generations.

Let’s talk about methodologies

We chose to conduct a survey and in-home interviews. A nationally representative survey was necessary as it was important for the findings to be projectable to the larger population. We included a qualitative component (in-home interviews) in order to unearth applications of the trends we learned from the survey research and to gain richer insight into Cambodian women’s lived experience at a personal level.

Study takeaways

At a macro level, the survey research revealed:

  • Education: There’s a staggering disparity in the education gap between men and women, however, younger cohorts are quickly closing the gap (distinct divide between Cambodians under and over 30)
  • Media: There’s lower internet penetration and digital device ownership among women than men, however, a sizeable and growing number of women (more than half) have access to a smart phone and/or computer
  • Chbab Srey: Cambodians still support Chbab Srey, however, most acknowledge that it’s being practiced less now than in the past
  • Traditional gender roles: Traditional gender roles are still the norm, however, views are slowly becoming more progressive, driven by younger women

The study made a broad array of recommendations, both relevant to Cambodia (e.g., encourage a ban on teaching women to adhere to Chbab Srey in the public school system, promote diverse role models, encourage civil participation and activism, etc.) and applications to other markets (e.g., speak out against traditional codes of conduct that persecute certain groups, encourage women to become financially independent from men, invite men into the conversation, advocate for Internet access and digital literacy, and encourage women to support each other, etc.).

While these findings isolate key gender gaps and provide suggestions for a way forward, they don’t evoke a particularly strong emotional response.

And that’s where the case study came in.

Toward the end of the study we included a case study, the story of Channa*. This allowed us to provide a real, compelling narrative about the personal journey of a rural, uneducated Cambodian woman’s rise to becoming a community thought leader and a financially independent entrepreneur through technology and non-institutionalized education. In particular, the case study demonstrated the power that digital literacy can have, especially for empowering rural, uneducated women.

The Story of Channa
How technology and informal education is changing the lives of rural, uneducated women







The Impact

Dissemination of the study came in two forms:

  1. My colleague, Sao Layhour, and I presented the study at the 2016 ESOMAR Congress
  2. A team of researchers at Kantar TNS presented the study to various Cambodian and international NGOs (e.g., Palladium, BBC Media Action, ActionAid, and RoCK Cambodia) who have a vested interest in understanding and helping women thrive

In both cases, the case study – the story of Channa – was the component that spoke to listeners/readers.

In addition to positive feedback from ESOMAR Congress attendees, the case study enabled the study’s larger survey findings to be heard among the NGO audience. We’re proud of the following outcomes of this research effort:

  • One of BBC Media Action’s focuses this year is advocacy work promoting internet usage and digital literacy to galvanize employment among Cambodian women and promote economic independence. They especially found the case study inspiring for conveying the aforementioned mission and agreed with the study’s recommendation about promoting diverse role models, another of their initiatives. BBC Media Action publishes noteworthy case studies on their website and is hoping to feature “the story of Channa” from the research. In addition, they are hoping that Channa will be interested in appearing on a BBC Media Action program that showcases role models who overcame obstacles, in this case oppressive traditional values and lack of education
  • ActionAid intends to use the study’s findings related to Chbab Srey, traditional values and gender-based division of labor to develop an awareness-building campaign to promote gender equality
  • Palladium plans to lean on the research’s learnings surrounding female vs male decision-making in order to inform their program planning for electricity and water supply

Using cases studies to humanize quantitative findings

While the survey was more time intensive, the case study brought the study’s findings to life and inspired others into action. My best advice to organizations embarking on a research effort is to incorporate a qualitative research component (e.g., in-depth interviews, observations, in-home visits, focus groups, etc.) into quantitative studies. Doing so translates findings into something human and relatable to your audience, which in turn motivates people to act.

Because, after all, what’s the point in conducting research if it doesn’t inspire action?

  • *The name of this participant has been changed to respect her privacy

By Rebecca Norris, former Research Director at Kantar TNS Cambodia

Kantar TNS Cambodia is the fastest-growing customized market and social research agency in Cambodia. Based in Phnom Penh, we lead the industry with our high standards of data collection and innovative tools that enable us to get to the heart of our client’s issues.