Networking Survey Analytical Grid

 

1.0 PERSONAL PROFILE

Responses

Percentage

1.1 Research / Work projects

Others

21

32.3%

Communication and international development

16

24.6%

Media development and management

13

20.0%

Access, transfer and use of ICT

12

18.5%

Journalism, professional and ethical training

9

13.8%

National information policies – Communications law

9

13.8%

Did not answer question

7

10.8%

Strategic development

5

7.7%

Public relations, public affairs and publicity

4

6.2%

Total

96

For this question, the choice "Others" dominated with a 32.8% response rate. The research topics given by the Members are sometimes far removed from the seven themes adopted by ORBICOM (ex: women's rights, biotechnology, administration, satellites, and politics.)

In addition, the Members surveyed concentrated their research/projects on only one, occasionally two, ORBICOM themes.

1.2 Your contemporaries and partners?

International organizations

17

26.2%

Universities

14

21.5%

Individual contacts

13

20.0%

Did not answer question

11

16.9%

Public sector

9

13.8%

Non-governmental organizations

9

13.8%

Governments

7

10.8%

Private sector

6

9.2%

Associations

6

9.2%

None

4

6.2%

Foundations

3

4.6%

Did not understand the question

2

3.1%

Total

101

Responses to this question fell somewhere between two extremes, ranging from very precise (i.e., the names of the individuals with whom the Members are working) to highly vague (i.e., contacts in Europe.) This variety made it difficult to process the results without extrapolating on the nature of the relationship between the Members and their partners.

Furthermore, 16.9% of respondents elected not to answer the question. This percentage increases to 20% if those who indicated that they did not understand the question are added to this number.

Based on the participants’ responses, it appears that only 9.4% of Members collaborate with the private sector. However, the response "Individual contacts" does not make it possible to indicate whether the collaborators belong to any of the identified categories.

1.3 Your experience as part of a research network?

Responses

Percentage

National level

41

63.1%

Regional level

35

53.8%

International level

33

50.8%

Did not answer question

12

18.5%

No experience

2

3.1%

Did not understand the question

2

3.1%

Total

125

The formulation of this question revealed a certain level of ambiguity with regards to the responses received: on one hand, some Members used this opportunity to describe their working experiences at the national, regional and international levels; others, on the other hand, responded either positively or negatively about their level of intervention.

We opted for the second interpretation because we wish to identify the level of intervention and not the manner in which these experiences take place. The variety of responses obtained shows that Members prefer the local and/or national level, however.

2 THE ORBICOM NETWORK

2.1 The advantages of belonging to the ORBICOM Network?

Knowledge sharing

20

30.8%

Interaction between professionals and academics

16

24.6%

Access to new knowledge

12

18.5%

Access to analyses and studies from the field of communications

8

12.3%

New types of partnerships

7

10.8%

None or rather limited

7

10.8%

Information and international contacts

8

12.3%

Did not answer question

8

12.3%

Other

2

3.1%

Total

68

The main feature of the Network is without a doubt the sharing of knowledge because more than one third of the Members identified sharing knowledge and experience as the main advantage of the ORBICOM Network. If the response rate for the category "Access to new knowledge" is added to this response, more than half the survey’s respondents believe that belonging to the Network is a prime method of discovery.

Furthermore, certain respondents stated that access to communications specialists on different continents also represents a major strong point of the Network.

However, several respondents feel that the Network is only virtual and real contact is relatively rare. These respondents emphasized that its advantages are not easily pinpointed. In addition, these observations reflect the comments received for the questions on networking. This is why 12.3% of the respondents answered that there is no advantage to belonging to ORBICOM or that the advantages are very limited because they are poorly defined.

2.2 How to strengthen the Network?

Responses

Percentage

Participate in projects, research, discussions, seminars

26

40.0%

Share experiences

19

29.2%

Did not answer question

13

20.0%

Provide publications

7

10.8%

Represent ORBICOM in one's milieu

7

10.8%

Write texts for the newsletter or Website

3

4.6%

The governing council

3

4.6%

Organize concrete projects

2

3.1%

No contribution

2

3.1%

Others (moral support, creation of a new Chair)

3

4.6%

Total

85

When analyzing the respondents’ questionnaires, what emerged most convincingly was the Members’ enthusiasm. Over half wish to publicize their research projects or publications and, in particular, share their experiences working with professionals and academics from the field of communications. This feedback confirms the opinions received for the previous question.

Consequently, several participants suggested various ways to contribute and strengthen the Network. One frequently-mentioned idea is the organization of local events (assemblies, regional tables, etc.) with a specific topic of discussion. Such comments are supported by the fact that several members pointed out that a lack of financial resources prevents them from participating in meetings or conferences, hence the need for local gatherings.

Certain members went even further to suggest that local events could be used as a bridge between the realities of the North and those of the South. These same suggestions were also made in response to Questions (2.4) and (3.8).

2.3 Responsabilities

Responses

Percentage

2.3a Chair holders' main responsibilities?

Did not answer question

27

41.5%

Coordination

21

32.3%

Respecting the seven themes of ORBICOM

7

10.8%

Promotion

6

9.2%

Sharing knowledge / experiences

5

7.7%

Mobilizing resources at the local level

5

7.7%

Research

3

4.6%

Organizing conferences and seminars

3

4.6%

Bringing dynamism and vigor to the Network

2

3.1%

Organizing activities with an international flavour

2

3.1%

Did not understand the question

1

1.5%

Total

82

2.3b Associate members

Did not answer question

23

35.4%

Providing information on professional and scientific analyses

17

26.2%

Supporting the Chairs

13

20.0%

Involvement

12

18.5%

Sharing knowledge / experience

11

16.9%

Promotion

5

7.7%

Did not understand the question

1

1.5%

Total

82

Based on Questions (2.3a) and (2.3b), it has clearly come out that the responsibilities of the Chair holders and Associate members remain unknown for the majority of respondents. More than one third replied that they did not know and could not answer the question in either case.

Other than the role of coordination that clearly falls under the responsibility of Chair holders (32.3%), the responsibilities of Associate members and Chairs must be more plainly defined. Among the Members who contended that the roles of each group be clarified, some also added that the responsibilities of ORBICOM must be better defined.

Although coordination is the main responsibility of the Chair holders, 26.2% of the participants feel that Associate members should also provide information on professional and scientific analyses. However, as was the case for the Chairs, Associate members’ responsibilities remain generally unknown, because 35.4% of those surveyed responded that they did not know what they were.

2.4/2.5 Chair/Associate joint actions?

Responses

Percentage

Development of tangible joint projects

20

30.8%

Meetings uniting Chair holders and Associate members

15

23.1%

Conferences (virtual and real)

14

21.5%

Did not answer question

14

21.5%

Committee work on targeted subjects

11

16.9%

Publications (both paper and electronic)

7

10.8%

Preparation of sector and regional tables

5

7.7%

More precise definition of the functions of ORBICOM

5

7.7%

Interactive forums

4

6.2%

Others:

4

6.2%

Provide funding

2

3.1%

Spread awareness of the research interests of the two groups

1

1.5%

Create a specific place for the Chairs' work

1

1.5%

Lead research-actions

1

1.5%

Total

104

More than one third of respondents believe that closer ties between Chair holders and Associate members are possible through concrete, joint-effort initiatives.

For example, participants identified first and foremost locally-held sector meetings on specific themes (23.1%) as a concrete project to foster dialogue between these two categories. Next came conferences (virtual and real), committee work, then publications.

Given the responses above, it would seem that Members are interested in local events being organized by the Chairs in each region, and even in different countries.

Lastly, to promote forming relations between Chair holders and Associate members, the respondents recommend, for example, that the research and work interests of each Member category be posted on the ORBICOM Website. This feedback supports the respondents' comments for Question (3.7) regarding the information missing from the site.

2.6 The ORBICOM secretariat's main responsibilities?

Responses

Percentage

Exchanging information and contacts

21

32.3%

Did not answer question

18

27.7%

Ensuring UNESCO's support of ORBICOM

15

23.1%

Bilateral and multilateral contacts

14

21.5%

Project coordination

13

20.0%

Keeping Members informed and up to date

13

20.0%

Promoting interaction by means of the Website and the quarterly Newsletter

11

16.9%

Updating information

10

15.4%

ORBICOM's visibility

10

15.4%

Providing skills and supporting UNESCO

6

9.2%

Project financing

4

6.2%

Participating in UNESCO activities

4

6.2%

Supporting the Chairs' work

3

4.6%

Bringing dynamism and vigor to the Network

2

3.1%

Total

144

Responses to this question were also as diversified as they were numerous, which made it difficult to process the information collected because most of the respondents either gave the same answer for all three categories (Network members, other international NGOs and UNESCO, and international organizations); or they identified specific tasks as shown in the list above.

Generally speaking, however, for one third of participants, the chief responsibility of ORBICOM is to ensure the free flow of information between the various groups mentioned.

According to the responses received, it appears that ORBICOM has the mandate to establish direct and indirect (through Network members) contacts with NGOs, UNESCO and other international agencies. In this way, members become key intermediaries for lobbying international organizations.

2.7 Does the structure of the committees allow ORBICOM to develop a research program?

Responses

Percentage

No

25

38.5%

Yes

6

9.2%

Total

31

Suggestions:

Did not answer question

29

44.6%

The structure of the committees must be revamped

9

13.8%

Committees must be theme-oriented

8

12.3%

Committees must be operational

6

9.2%

Committees must be representative (geographic regions, different fields of expertise)

6

9.2%

Committees must have financial resources to assist research projects

4

6.2%

Members do not know how the committees can help them

2

3.1%

The committees must gather information for the research agenda

1

1.5%

Total

65

Based on the responses received, it appears that the structure of the committees does not allow ORBICOM to develop a research program. Approximately 40% of Members answered that they did not know the purpose of the committees or what their main functions were.

For the respondents, the suggestions to develop a veritable research program allude to rethinking the structure of the committees in order to make them operational. To do so, the committees must be theme-oriented and representative.

2.8 How to develop partnerships and alliances with other groups:

Does not know/ Did not answer question

24

36.9%

Adopt a proactive approach

15

23.1%

Exchange information

13

20.0%

Conventions, agreements

9

13.8%

Financial resources

5

7.7%

Through multi-disciplinary projects

5

7.7%

Informal networks

4

6.2%

Maintain contact

4

6.2%

Cannot answer because the Members do not know the Network well enough

2

3.1%

Become involved in medium-term projects

2

3.1%

Heightened awareness of their priorities

2

3.1%

Others (technical assistance, Chair research)

3

4.6%

Total

49

As with Question (2.6), participants responded that exchanges and contacts are the foundation of the alliances and partnerships that ORBICOM must form with the different public and private sector groups, international NGOs and multilateral organizations. According to the responses received, it appears that exchanges and contacts can take various forms, including conventions, agreements, multi-disciplinary projects and research-action programs. However, it was the choice "Did not answer question" which here again received the highest response rate (30.4%), showing that Network members do not know in which ways the ORBICOM Network should establish alliances and partnerships with national and international agencies.

3.0 NETWORKING

Responses

Percentage

3.1 Methods used?

a) Discussion groups (via e-mail)

40

61.5%

b) Electronic forums (via Websites)

26

40.0%

e) Collective publications

26

40.0%

d) Virtual conferences

17

26.2%

c) Teleconferences

15

23.1%

f) Others ("real" conferences)

4

6.2%

Did not answer question

8

12.3%

Total

136

In a networking environment, the methods preferred by Members are: e-mail discussion groups (61.5%), followed by electronic forums and collective publications (each 40%).

Although the vast majority of respondents indicate that they are favorable to using electronic tools, some respondents also admitted to feelings of isolation because of the technology and the topics of discussion. In other words, simply because 60% of Members state that they prefer e-mail, it does not mean that they use it regularly.

In a similar vein, although the majority of respondents report that they make use of electronic tools, some maintain that they still prefer to have direct, real contact with humans.

3.2 How to participate in discussion groups?

Discussion groups (via e-mail)

38

58.5%

Did not answer question

20

30.8%

Electronic forums (via Websites)

17

26.2%

Teleconferences

6

9.2%

Virtual conferences

6

9.2%

Collective publications

6

9.2%

Others (do not use them; all choices are good)

6

9.2%

Total

99

When Members have the opportunity and are able to participate in discussion groups, e-mail is the means preferred by the vast majority of respondents (58.5%). However, 30.8% of Members did not answer this question.

3.3 Have you previously participated in virtual conferences through Websites?

No

36

55.4%

Yes

19

29.2%

Total

55

3.4 In light of your experience in a networking environment,

Responses

Percentage

a) What advantages have you identified?

Did not answer question

21

32.3%

Savings in time and money

19

29.2%

Sharing knowledge and opinions

12

18.5%

Easy access

12

18.5%

Promotes discussion, synergies

4

6.2%

Rapidity

4

6.2%

Diversity among the participants

5

7.7%

Avoiding travel

3

4.6%

Very few or none at all

2

3.1%

Other (wealth of information)

1

1.5%

Total

62

The responses received for this question reveal a high level of ambiguity because the Members did not identify the advantages of networking, and chose instead to emphasize the advantages of electronic tools, especially e-mail.

This is why the selected categories reflect the main traits of the technology used as part of their work environment.

This shift in meaning might indicate that for most of the Members surveyed, networking is or was facilitated by the use of electronic tools. Once again, it must be considered that the response "Did not answer question" attained the highest rate of response (32.3%).

b) What limits have you encountered?

Did not answer question

20

30.8%

Synchronization difficulties

7

10.8%

Lack of direct human contact

6

9.2%

Many regions of the world do not have access to e-mail or the Internet

5

7.7%

Slow connection speed

4

6.2%

Not interested

4

6.2%

Little or no interaction

4

6.2%

Others (download time; effectiveness of search engines; "people create projects, not tools"; generation gap)

4

6.2%

Language/culture

3

4.6%

Sporadic access

3

4.6%

Information overload

3

4.6%

No limitations

3

4.6%

Requires a substantial financial outlay

2

3.1%

Total

68

The same comments for the question above can be applied here, adding however that certain targeted categories are considered as either an advantage or an inconvenience, depending on where the participants are situated. For representatives in Africa, for example, time constraints and financial limitations are obstacles to using electronic tools; whereas for other geographic areas, electronic tools are synonymous with gains in time and money.

3.5 How often do you visit the ORBICOM Website?

Responses

Percentage

Did not answer question

13

20.0%

Every month

12

18.5%

When necessary (rarely)

11

16.9%

Frequently (at least once a week)

9

13.8%

Every two weeks

4

6.2%

Never

4

6.2%

Not very often

4

6.2%

Every two months

2

3.1%

Two or three times a year

2

3.1%

Total

61

Among those who visit the ORBICOM Website, some stated that they did not have the time to navigate the thousands of sites in existence and therefore did not have the time to consult the ORBICOM Website on a regular basis. For this reason, some respondents would like to be kept up to date through a distribution list of the Network’s main news items.

3.6 Pertinent information on the Website?

Did not answer question

24

36.9%

News items

24

36.9%

Texts and publications

9

13.8%

Associate members

8

12.3%

UNESCO Chairs

3

4.6%

Newsletter

3

4.6%

Feature articles

3

4.6%

Websites

2

3.1%

New addresses

2

3.1%

Everything is pertinent

2

3.1%

The governing council

1

1.5%

Mission

1

1.5%

Secretariat

1

1.5%

Total

59

The respondents' feedback on this question confirms the previous affirmations because approximately 40% of the Members who consult ORBICOM's Website are chiefly interested by the news item section. Far behind in priority are the texts and abstracts and information on the Associate members.

3.7 Missing information on the Website?

Responses

Percentage

Did not answer question

30

46.2%

Others:

Information on the research and activities of fellow Members

12

18.5%

Project development

10

15.4%

Conferences and seminars in related disciplines

7

10.8%

Listing of Member expertise and availability

2

3.1%

Information related to UNESCO

1

1.5%

Notes on tests and analyses throughout the world

1

1.5%

Texts and publications

4

6.2%

Current news items

2

3.1%

Mission

1

1.5%

UNESCO Chairs

1

1.5%

No missing information

1

1.5%

Total

3

If we disregard the first response on the list, we see that Members wish for information on fellow Members' research and activities (18.5 %).

Some respondents would like to know about the needs and partnership opportunities between Chair holders and Associate members.

Lastly, information on conferences and seminars world-wide have their place on the ORBICOM Website.

3.8 Areas of interest

Did not answer question

22

33.8%

Texts and publications

15

23.1%

Current news items

12

18.5%

Feature articles

3

4.6%

Newsletter

2

3.1%

Forums with specific topics

2

3.1%

Websites

1

1.5%

None

1

1.5%

Total

36

The main comment that emerged from the responses received was that Members wish to make a contribution to one of the areas of the Website, and in particular, share their research and work interests with others. Many respondents are interested in discussing issues of local interest with people who do not necessarily share the same reality, yet have the same concerns. These opinions confirm the feedback received for Questions (2.1) and (2.2).

Comments and suggestions:

Feelings of exclusion because of technical difficulties or the topics of discussion

2

3.1%

Request to call upon Members on a more frequent basis

2

3.1%

Request to define membership areas, roles, responsibilities

2

3.1%

Total

2

Gender

Male

48

73.8%

Female

17

26.2%

Total

65

Europe

23

35.4%

North America

15

23.1%

Pacific Asia

14

21.5%

Africa

7

10.8%

Latin America and the Caribbean

6

9.2%

Total

65

TOTAL NUMBER OF RESPONDENTS

65