Research Methods Summer School 2018

“ICT and Development Research: New Opportunities and Research Methods”


The annual DSAI Summer School took place in the Jonathan Swift Theatre, Arts Building, Trinity College Dublin on 27th-28th June 2018.


The aim of this Summer School was to explore research methods for development.  There will be a particular focus on how technology is changing research methods in the field, and the potential of ICT for advancing global development and justice (ICT4D).  The summer school was designed to follow the DSAI Research Methods Summer Schools held in 2016 and 2017. It considered methodology and methods in both quantitative and qualitative projects, and monitoring and evaluation.  There were practical sessions on improving our use of data for decision making and the challenges and opportunities that arise when technology and gender issues combine were explored.

The objective was to provide an overall sense of both academic and practical research methods which are applicable to development and humanitarian research and reporting efforts, as well as a platform for input and discussion among both academics and practitioners.


Dr Brendan Ciarán Browne is a tenure track Professor of Conflict Resolution, Trinity College Dublin where he co-ordinates the MPhil in Conflict Resolution in the Belfast campus. He holds an LL.B and LL.M in Law, and Law and Human Rights and was awarded his PhD in 2012. His most recent appointment before Trinity College Dublin was as Assistant Professor in Human Rights and International Law at Al Quds (Bard) University, Palestine. Dr Browne's research interests are situated around political conflict, the impact of post-conflict reconstruction on children and young people, the impact of displacement on transitional societies, commemorating conflict and conducting research in conflict zones. Dr. Browne's research has all been funded both internally and externally and is heavily focused on both Northern Ireland and Palestine where he spends time travelling regularly to conduct fieldwork and develop links between Trinity College Dublin and Palestinian Universities. His most recent publications include a number of books; 'Experiences in Researching Conflict and Violence: Fieldwork Interrupted' (2018), and ‘Young People, Risk and Social Justice in a Transitional Society: The Case of Northern Ireland’ (2019).

PJ Wall is with the School of Computer Science in Trinity College Dublin.  His primary research objective is to explore the wider implications of digital innovation and the implementation and use of information systems in the Global South (ICT4D).  His focus is on understanding the cultural, social and political implications associated with the adoption and use of technology, and how such technology reconfigures practice.  His current research looks at an mHealth initiative in Sierra Leone and involves an exploration of how mobile devices are implemented, adopted, scaled and sustained. PJ is convenor of the Information, Technology and Development (ICT4D) study group.  Over the past 20 years PJ has worked with a variety of national and international organisations, governmental bodies and NGO’s where he has gained extensive in-country development experience in many countries including Sierra Leone, India, Nepal, Kenya, Tanzania and Guyana.  He also lectures a variety of courses including ICT4D on the MSc in Global Health in TCD, Social Computing on the BSc in Information Systems in TCD, and Issues in the Management of Information Systems on the University of Manchester MSc in ICTs for Development.

Dr. Caitriona Dowd is Humanitarian Policy Officer for Concern Worldwide, based in Dublin. In her role, Caitriona supports peacebuilding programming and mainstreaming conflict sensitivity in Concern programmes, and leads on conflict research within the organisation. Prior to joining Concern, Caitriona worked in academia, where her research focused on the politics and geography of violent conflict in sub-Saharan Africa, and the measurement and tracking of violence. Caitriona’s work has been published in African Affairs; Terrorism and Political Violence; The Journal of Modern African Studies and Political Geography. Caitriona has previously worked in the humanitarian and development sectors in Kenya, Nigeria, and Uganda.

Mary Van Lieshout, Head of Ethics and Compliance, GOAL Global. Mary has been Chairperson of DSAI since October 2016.  Mary has over twenty years experience in the humanitarian sector working in the fields of humanitarian public health, research and advocacy. Mary joined GOAL as Head of Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning in 2013 following fifteen years as a senior manager in Ireland’s public service. Mary has an MSc in Community Health and General Practice from Trinity College Dublin and an MA in International Relations from Dublin City University.

Enida Friel A native of Albania, Enida trained as a medical doctor there and followed on with two diplomas from the School of Tropical Medicine in Liverpool, UK. She worked with international NGOs such as International Rescue Committee and American Refugee Committee for about 7 years mostly in Sub-Saharan African before moving to Ireland and joining Oxfam in 2005. When in Ireland she also completed a Master's in Public Health with University College Cork. Enida has worked on different managerial and advisory position in development and humanitarian contexts. Enida's earlier areas of interest were reproductive health, HIV and tropical diseases. Her current areas of interest are results based management, disability inclusiveness, gender equality. In addition to working with Oxfam, she is an Adjunct Assistant Professor with the School of Medicine in Trinity College where she teaches and supervises students of Masters in Global Health and Masters in Development Practice.

Prof. Jan Rigby is a health geographer with particular interests in spatial epidemiology, inequality, poverty and women's health. She has a background in Geographical Information Systems,and have a strong commitment to capacity building in the use of GIS for health research in poor countries. 

Dr. Vanessa Liston is CEO of CiviQ, a tech company focusing on innovations in public consultation and deliberation. Her background is in community development in Kenya where she also researched on the political impact of democratic organisational structures in NGOs. Vanessa's current research interests are in civil society, political innovation, new data and digital technologies. Vanessa’s recent publications focus on representation, deliberation and public opinion. She has published in, among others, the Journal of Civil Society, Internet and Policy, Irish Political Studies, Representation.

Ellen Ward is the IT Solutions Coordinator at Concern Worldwide  where she manages a portfolio of IT projects and provides technology advice and support to staff in 26 countries. She has 23 years of experience working in IT including more than a decade working in the non-profit sector.  Ellen is also the co-founder of Tech for Good Dublin, a community of approx. 1,000 people interested in how technology can enable positive social impact

Andy O'Sullivan works with the Incubator innovation team in Liberty IT, a technology company based in Belfast and Dublin, which is part of the global insurance group Liberty Mutual. Andy's job is to research and prototype emerging and future technology - including Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Wearable Technologies and more. He is a member of Tech for Good Dublin and is passionate about encouraging kids, especially young women, to consider STEM as a career.

Clare Bader. Since April 2017, Claire has been the Head of Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning for GOAL Ireland. Over the 20 years she has spent working in the field with a range of NGOs and the UN she has experienced first-hand ICT4D’s growing impact in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of programmes for vulnerable communities. She has an Masters in Medical Science and is a registered Nurse.