Our Principle Research Methods


Moment Media Ethics

We adapt the best in desk and field research practices, applying qualitative and quantitative approaches to complex issues. We corroborate sources of information, triangulate methods, and closely read data in order to capture finer points of meaning and often elusive social and cultural nuance. We ensure the voices of both beneficiaries and key stakeholders inform all our work, using a varied approach that includes interviews, focus groups, direct observation, participatory gatherings and perception surveys.

Perception Surveys

Perception Surveying is most familiar when it is used as opinion polling, for example to predict the outcome of elections. In conflict-affected countries, opinion polling can be used more broadly to identify trends in sectors as diverse as security, government, development and the media. It can be applied to identify differences in perceptions between geographical or demographic subsets of the populace (for example gender, age, ethnicity,
income and occupation). More broadly, it is employed to establish ‘baseline’ data on population perceptions as well as to establish and demonstrate trends as those perceptions change.

We present our clients with statistically valid findings, minimising the impact of challenges associated with representative sampling in conflict-affected areas. We undertake research with trained local field staff to ensure relevant local sensitivities are accounted for, factoring in social affiliations, ethnicity and gender.

Focus Groups

Qualitative research techniques such as focus groups offer greater contextual detail and insights into social dynamics and atmospherics than quantitative studies. Focus groups are informal conversations between individuals who are led through a range of pre-selected themes. Such forums allow participants to speak amongst themselves, allowing concerns to rise to the surface. Focus groups can also be effective in testing products such as media campaigns and new services.

We have successfully used focus groups to gauge public opinion and gather feedback on radio programming produced to inform local people in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo about international and local justice. Our consultants have extensive experience working with focus groups in Africa,and the activities of international military forces.

In-depth Interviews

Interviews are a powerful qualitative research tool, particularly when used in conjunction with focus groups and participant observations as they reveal greater nuances than other research methods. As with focus groups, the content of interviews is adapted to meet the precise requirements of the client. Interviews are typically conducted with individuals of high social standing; leaders such as political, tribal or religious figures; teachers; and journalists but can be used effectively to gain an understanding of the concerns of citizens from all levels of society. Interviews can be structured with closed questions for direct comparison with other responses, or be semi-structured with open-ended questions, allowing for insightful elaborations.

Participant Observation

This is an ethnographic method that provides insight into the behaviours and attitudes of individuals in their natural environment. Participant observations require a significant investment of time to enable people to gain familiarity with the researcher, and are usually offered as a method in longer studies, or as a means through which to verify data generated through opinion polling, interviews and focus groups.

Methods can include a variety of interactive techniques used with local community members, including participatory mapping (the creation of sketches, for instance, to demonstrate land usage or ownership), photography workshops and drawing exercises with children.

Community Radio Outreach

This technique plays a pivotal role in engaging with people in insecure or hard to access areas. Working through the interface of community radio, information communications technologies that allow listeners to communicate their views via mobile phones are deployed to obtain a broader range of opinions than would otherwise be possible through traditional methods.


As a form of community consultation, photovoice can represent the perspectives of those who lead lives that are different from those traditionally in control of the imaging of their communities. Participants are asked to represent their community, point of view or personal experience by taking photographs, discussing them together and developing narratives to go with their photos. These research techniques can also be combined with conducting outreach or other community-based action.
Photovoice can be used in conflict and post-conflict environments to evidence individuals’ reactions to experienced violence and trauma and can be used in conjunction with qualified psychotherapy. Amongst marginalised people it is intended to give insight into how they conceptualise their circumstances and their hopes
for the future. As a form of community consultation, photovoice attempts to bring the perspectives of those “who lead lives that are different from those traditionally in control of the means for imaging the world” into the policy-making process. It is also a response to issues raised over the authorship of representation
of communities.

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