Shristi Tamrakar is a Master student, who is pursuing a Master of Development Studies (MDevS) at Kathmandu University School of Education. She is an active member of society, who focuses on doing research in social, economic and political sector. Therefore, she frequently needs to search for data as part of her research in order to better understand the economic, social, political context of Nepal.
What is the importance of data in your Master in Development Studies degree?
As a student of development studies, data is of extreme importance for conducting surveys and research. National census statistics and other secondary data sources are vital to evaluate development progress and making comparisons over time. These secondary data sources are useful to Development Studies students like me, who are always seeking to conduct in-depth research. I also use data to make wider generalizations from the results of small-scale questionnaire surveys and focused interview research.
What kind of methodology do you use to collect data?
While I am conducting a survey, I generally use primary methods i.e. Key Informant Interviews (KIIs), Focus Group Discussion (FGDs) with respondents. Whereas when I am writing a report, a term paper or a thesis based on secondary methods as part of my academic requirements then I use a national data sources like Central Bureau of Statistics, Department of Health and Population, Ministry of Education and so on. Or in the case of international development relates issues, I use sources like UN Women, UNICEF, UNDP etc.
What are the problems while using existing tools for analysis?
It takes a lot of time when we are collecting data on a topic with different subtopics, time frames and locations. We need to go through many websites and also verify the data consistency. There are many websites, which contain necessary data but are not structured. This makes them difficult to navigate. Sometimes, we are unsure if a website is certified and also if the data it provides is accurate or not. There are also difficulties in citing many websites.
How does the Nepal in Data portal help you to analyze related issue of your field in better way?
Developing countries like Nepal have weak statistical systems and mechanisms for exhibiting data required for people. For me, the Nepal in Data portal provides good, reliable statistics and constitutes a time saving tool essential for acquiring information in my field of Development Studies. Furthermore, Nepal in Data’s infographics have helped me a lot by giving me ideas to develop similar types in my academic work too. The key information the infographics provide it is of great use and definitely an attraction for users like me.
What message would you like to give to young people, especially to MDevS students about data and the Nepal in Data portal?
First of all, Nepal in Data is a very user-friendly portal providing easy access to a wide range of census and demographic data and other key information, which is of vital use for MDevs students because we need data in every step of our academic work. Be it writing a term paper or thesis, we need access to data. Nepal in Data has made writing academic work easy, as it provides data across a wide range of fields and the data is official government data. I can find accurate data as it’s possible to input the required field as well as year (time frame), which has obviously saved a lot of time. I would recommend students as well as researchers to use the Nepal in Data portal as it is a great initiative taken by the Bikas Udhyami team for easing the workload of researchers like us
However, youths like us should support such an innovative portal and share this with others so that everyone can benefit from the usefulness of the Nepal in Data portal. After I attended the seminar of Nepal in Data, in my university, I have used the website several times to conduct my academic work. I shared it with my sister the same day I came back from the seminar and she has also been using it for her works!