I will first of all introduce myself. I’m Jewel Scholte, 20 years old and a third-year student of HBO Public Administration at Saxion University of Applied Sciences in Deventer. From February to July 2021 I did an internship at EnschedeLAB and Kennispunt Twente. During this period I was involved in demand articulation, focusing on the Enschede situation. In this blog I would like to briefly take you through my internship period and the results.
First of all, I started with desk research. Question articulation was a completely new and unknown concept for me and I wanted to get a grip on the theme in order to be able to set up qualitative research. I gained a lot of new information during the desk research. I received many different documents from my internship supervisors, Wiro Kuiper and Inge Bakker. I also searched for information myself. For example, I searched for different definitions, existing methodologies and facilitating and hindering factors. I have merged this into a problem analysis (report).
After this first phase, I moved on to the next phase and I started talking to people from different organizations to find out how things work in practice. For example, I entered into discussions with organizations such as the Municipality of Enschede, University of Twente, Saxion Business Point, Novel-T and ROC hub. For these interviews I had made a topic list in advance, so I created a common thread for myself during the interviews. Through the interviews I got to know the practical experiences from different perspectives. I worked out all the interviews for myself, so that I could then process them in a research report.
After collecting all the information, I started to filter and merge all that information. I eventually came to a final report containing several chapters with the information collected. I will now briefly describe some conclusions.
For example, several definitions could be found during the desk research. For example, according to Reinder Pieters of the Hogeschool Arnhem and Nijmegen, question articulation is about how a question in a certain (for example professional) context arrives at a relevant research question (HAN, nd). And describes Femke Merkx that in question articulation, researchers, stakeholders and knowledge users work together to determine the right research questions. It is important that these specific questions dovetail well with the needs of the knowledge users and stakeholders. This is so important because then knowledge is developed that actually makes a difference (Merkx, 2016). In addition, Van den Berg and Teurlings have also gained a lot of knowledge about demand articulation in their research. For example, it turned out that a crucial phase of a research project is the beginning. The beginning is a phase that requires specific attention. In this phase, demand articulation is central. During this question articulation, we look at understanding the practical issue and decide whether research is necessary.
However, Van den Berg and Teurlings write that it is often difficult to understand practical issues and formulate a research question. For example, it regularly happens that professionals in the field have difficulty formulating a good knowledge question or formulating researchable question and to make use of insights from research when articulating the question. This can be caused, for example, because researchers have insufficient knowledge of the practical context.
In practice this turned out to be more difficult to define the term ”demand articulation”. Several people from practice indicated that they could not really give a definition, which they found very difficult. The implementation of demand articulation was also found to be difficult. The final report describes that practitioners regularly have difficulty formulating a good knowledge question or researchable question and using insights from research when articulating the question. It also emerged from the interviews that demand articulation is sometimes very difficult. Often no method is used.
I also found this out during desk research. There were almost no (concrete) methods to be found, although methodologies were written several times. During the interviews it was also confirmed that few methods are used. Several discussion partners indicated that they were open to a method. Opinions about the form of the methodology sometimes differed, but a common factor was that the methodology had to be visual and easy to apply.
In addition to conducting research and writing a report on this, I also had the goal of developing a methodology for the Enschede situation. The discussions with the organizations were therefore also very relevant for this. My internship period at EnschedeLAB and Kennispunt Twente is almost over and I am in my last week. At the end of this week (week 25) the methodology will be published in this blog.
Do you have any questions or comments for me or would you like to receive the entire report? Please feel free to contact us by email: firstname.lastname@example.org