Angela Okune PhD Dissertation project

Start and End Date

03/27/2018

Description

This project examines how qualitative research data is produced, shared, and contested by diverse research groups in Nairobi, Kenya. Despite decades of research aiming to solve Africa’s problems and billions of dollars in funding, many of those who are studied see little change in their everyday lives. Particular communities such as groups in Kibera, an infamous informal settlement in Kenya’s capital city of Nairobi, demonstrate survey fatigue, falsified responses, and even feelings of being exploited by global processes of scientific knowledge production. “Open Data” – datasets made available for public use and reuse -- has gained increasing support from governments and international policy makers and proponents argue that Open Data could enable greater development outcomes from scientific research. Through a comparative study of three Nairobi-based research organizations working in and on technology and development, I am examining negotiations over privacy, quality, ownership, and ethical responsibility enacted by the processes of opening up qualitative research data. This research will analyze changing ideas about data sharing amongst social scientists in Africa, responding both to increasing concern that scientific knowledge is not benefiting the communities studied and to growing, global interest in the possible benefits of “open data.”