Lead Researcher Consultant of ASEAN Digital Literacy Programme

TERMS OF REFERENCE



BACKGROUND

Three decades after ASEAN was established, ASEAN leaders recognised that: there remained inadequate shared prosperity, ASEAN awareness and contact among the people of ASEAN. It was of this concern that ASEAN leaders established ASEAN Foundation in Jakarta, Indonesia, at ASEAN's 30th Anniversary Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on 15 December 1997.

The ASEAN Foundation is an organisation from and for the people of ASEAN. The Foundation exists because of one vision: to build a cohesive and prosperous ASEAN Community. As an ASEAN body, the Foundation is tasked to support ASEAN mainly in promoting awareness, identity, interaction, and development of the people of ASEAN. For more information, visit: https://aseanfoundation.org


RESEARCH OVERVIEW

Amid the COVID-19 crisis, viral online misinformation and disinformation are spreading unchecked, to the point that the World Economic Forum identified it as one of the biggest threats to society. ASEAN is also not immune to this threat. Young people are among the most vulnerable groups prone to radicalisation, hate speech, false news and intolerance.

Based on a UNESCO study, 54% of youth respondents didn't know how to respond to hate and extremist material they encounter online. However, on a more encouraging note, 92% of youth respondents embraced the idea that media and information literacy competencies can help to empower young people to protect themselves from radical and extremist groups and counter hate speech online.

ASEAN is taking a concrete step to prevent misinformation and disinformation. In 2018, the ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Information adopted the Framework and Joint Statement to Minimise the Harmful Effects of Fake News. ASEAN has also launched its ASEAN Digital Literacy Programme, which aims to promote greater cybersecurity as part of the fight against online disinformation. In addition, 2021 saw ASEAN develop a guideline of Training of Trainers programme that targets secondary school teachers, university tutors and lecturers to improve the digital information literacy of young people.

To contribute to the effort, the ASEAN Foundation, with the support of Google.org, implements ASEAN Digital Literacy Programme (ADLP) from 2022 to 2024. The regional programme aims to combat misinformation and disinformation by developing a comprehensive study on the level of digital literacy in the 10 ASEAN Member States, covering the understanding, attitudes and behaviour of the community in ASEAN (including youth, teachers, parents, elderlies, government officials and community leaders) and ASEAN officials on misinformation and disinformation and the digital divide between the communities.

To achieve this, the ASEAN Foundation will work with interested individual or institutions such as researcher, research enterprises, institutes or professionals and other relevant bodies across 10 ASEAN Members States to assist us with conducting research, survey and dissemination of the research findings to create a baseline of understanding on disinformation, fake news, and digital divide amongst the underserved community in ASEAN.


GENERAL OBJECTIVE AND USE OF RESEARCH

The Research aims to assess the existing level of understanding, attitudes and behaviour towards media and information literacy across 10 ASEAN Member States and to understand the digital divide between the underserved groups, including youth, parents, teachers, elderly, community leaders and government officials.

Therefore, this research will create a baseline where we will be able to have a benchmark of understanding of disinformation, fake news, and digital divide amongst the community and underserved community in ASEAN.

Thus, the ASEAN Foundation seeks for interested Lead Researcher Consultant based in one of the 10 ASEAN Member States to conduct the research, survey and dissemination of research findings as part of ASEAN Digital Literacy Programme.


RESEARCH QUESTIONS

The Consultant will conduct deep analysis and case studies to assess the level of media and information literacy and the digital divide particularly for and among the underserved groups including youth, parents, teachers, elderly, community leaders and government officials.

The assessment should include level of understanding, attitude and behaviour that reflects people’s level of media and information literacy. The findings should then be analysed (desk-based review) to understand the digital divide between the suveryed community groups.

Illustrative research questions revolve around three (3) focuses: level of understanding, attitude and behaviour that reflects level of digital literacy.

  • What is the trend (ing issues) on disinformation and misinformation in ASEAN according to target community groups?
  • How the target community groups identify disinfirmation and misinformation?
  • How do target community groups respond to disinformation and misinformation?

The ASEAN Foundation expects this research to mainstream the Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) in the research questions for the following

  • used as the basic analysis for the overall research,
  • meaning the research methods,
  • instruments, and
  • analyses that will reflect the digital divide (literacy mapping) between different community groups from both sides: direct users (youth, parents, teachers, elderly) and the regulators/influencers (community leaders and government officials)


RESEARCH METHODOLOGY AND LIMITATIONS

The ASEAN Foundation expects the utilisation of mixed methods design in 10 ASEAN Member States. In general, data collection methods for the research include:

  • Quantitative Survey to targeted community groups including undeserved communities
  • Key Informant Interviews with community leaders and government officials in 10 ASEAN countries.
  • Focus group discussion with undeserved groups in 10 countries. Youth, parents, teachers and elderly will be convened in separate focus group discussions. The criteria to select participants of FG are segregated in the FGD category as follow:
    • Community representative from different economic groups (low, middle and upper-income household with different educational background (from high-school to university graduates).
    • Persons with disabilities (most likely those with the difficulty to mobilise physically and the difficulty to see even if using glasses in order to reduce the complexity of data collection process).
  • Desk-based review to map the findings and create an analysis of digital divide between community groups and make recommendations on how to bridge the gaps. Review will cross-examine reports and analyses on these topics from other relevant research institutions.


SCOPE OF WORK (OUTPUTS, TASKS AND RESPONSIBILITIES)

The Lead Researcher Consultant is expected to work in consultation with the ASEAN Foundation team in designing, developing and implementing this research project. The following key components are envisioned:

  1. Inception report – the initial plan by consultant consisting of action plan and timeline for conducting the research and survey and mapping of target respondents by countries and community groups.
  2. Implementation of the research project: The Lead Researcher consultant is expected to manage and oversee the process of data collection by the field researchers with the view to building national capacity in data collection methods, providing technical oversight and ensuring quality control. In carrying out the data collection process, the Lead Researcher Consultant will be responsible to manage and oversee the process of data collection by the field researcher with the view to regional data collection methods, providing technical oversight and ensuring quality control. However, prior to the deployment of field researchers, the ASEAN Foundation expects the Lead Researcher Consultant to train and standardise the quality of the field researchers to best support the work of the Lead Researcher.
  3. Data Analysis and Reporting: The Lead Researcher Consultant will produce research report – covering the initial research result and final result. Initial findings should capture the findings in the 10 ASEAN Member states covering how the respondents attitudes and behaviour during the survey, interview and group discussion. The final result should already combine their level of understanding based on the initial research reports.
  4. Data Validation: The ASEAN Foundation will organise a half-day validation workshop/discussion to obtain feedback from relevant stakeholders. We will require the Lead Researcher Consultant to draft the agenda, develop the presentation and present the findings. The Lead Researcher consultants also will support the report compilation on the feedback obtained, which will be used as key inputs for the Lead Researcher consultant when writing the final report.
  5. Main Research Report – the main report should include, but not limited to: A) Executive Summary (8 to 12 pages) where it would need to be extractable and be read as a standalone report. It will serve as an effective means of communication and will clearly answer the research questions. B) Introduction (1 to 2 pages) providing details on background, purpose of the research, methodology and limitations. C) Specific Findings and Recommendations (analysis) on level of media and information literacy and how to bridge the digital divide between community groups (10 to 20 pages). In addition, this section will provide in-depth analysis on the research result. D) Key Success Factors (5 to 10 pages) detailing key factors that will help or hinder the project in the near future. 5) Annex. 10% of pages discretion to be noted.
  6. Dissemination Workshop: Lead Researcher Consultant will draft the agenda and facilitate the workshop with the support of the ASEAN Foundation team who will assist in capturing feedback of the workshop.

The ASEAN Foundation expects the Lead Researcher Consultant to provide an analysis plan and a research outline for the initial findings and main report. The Consultant will report to the ASEAN Foundation. However, the Consultant also will attend to comments and inputs from its partner, Google.org. The ASEAN Foundation and its partner will provide samples of analysis plan and outlines for the Lead Researcher Consultant to refer to and be informed of what is expected from both parties. The weekly or biweekly meeting between the ASEAN Foundation and the Lead Researcher Consultant may be held to report progress, obstacles, challenges and find particular solutions.

The followings are the specific roles and responsibilities the Lead Researcher Consultant must undertake:

  • Conducting evidence-based research and survey on the importance of media and information literacy, including to contact, recruit and lead the field researchers for the required evidence-based research and surveys.
  • Identifying the necessary means to conduct the research and surveys and lead the implementation of Research Grant.
  • Presenting the research findings in 1 initial report, 1 research report (initial and final), and 1 main report.
  • Disseminating the findings from the said research to key stakeholders of ASEAN Foundation, such as the relevant ASEAN Sectoral bodies and senior officials, and ASEAN Secretariat, The ASEAN Foundation’s Board of Trustees, and other Think Tank/Policy Institutions across the ASEAN Member States. The research finding will also be disseminated to the local implementing partners to help them use the research finding to tailor the training content to their target beneficiaries.


REQUIREMENTS OF THE LEAD RESEARCHER

The Lead Researcher Consultant must meet the following requirements:

  • An advance university degree in social sciences from a recognised university
  • At least 7 years of relevant professional work experience conducting Research/impact assessment/evaluation
  • Experience of multi-stakeholder processes
  • Experience in conducting qualitative and quantitative research
  • Exception presentation and writing skills
  • Having access to underserved communities, youths, teachers, elderly, community leaders and government officials from 10 ASEAN Member States
  • Are not-for-profit organisations
  • Having experience in conducting research and survey with the reach to underserved communities.
  • Are based in the ASEAN region
  • Are not affiliated with any political parties

 
RESEARCH DELIVERABLES AND WORKPLAN

The deliverables of the research are as follow:

 

Deliverables

Estimated Deadline

1.    Initial Report that identifies action plan and timeline for conducting the research and survey and mapping of target respondents by countries and community groups submitted.

15 June 2022

2.    Survey questions, baseline for scoring and field researchers as means to later on develop quantitative and qualitative analysis of the research findings identified.

27 June 2022

3.    Briefing and trainings for the field researchers completed.

11 July 2022

4.    Field-research conducted and initial research report submitted.

16 September 2022

5.    Final research findings and Main Report (with executive summary) submitted.

14 October 2022

6.    Research findings disseminated to ASEAN key stakeholders.

4 November 2022



The above time frame is subject to adjustments and shall be discussed between the ASEAN Foundation and working partners.


GRANT

The ASEAN Foundation will award the grant to the selected Lead Researcher to implement the evidence-based research and survey for media and information literacy and the dissemination of the research findings based on the Proposal from Lead Research Consultant.


APPLICATION PROCEDURE

Any eligible organisation and/or professional keen to apply for this opportunity is required to send the following documents:

  1. Organisation/institution profile and/or Individual Curriculum Vitae (if organisation, please share the team description, composition, leadership and curriculum vitae of all members)
  2. A brief proposal which outlines the organisation's experience in doing research across regions to multiple community groups and proposed work plan to achieve all the set deliverables,
  3. Detailed budget and concept based on TOR proposed study
  4. Initial framework and planning: suggested method and relevant tool
  5. Sample of successful works in conducting similar research
  6. Copy of the organisation's legal entity
  7. Any proposal that do not include budget detail with not be considered. The budget details including other related cost of activities and income tax that will be deducted.

The above documents are sent to [email protected]  and CC [email protected]foundation.org and [email protected]


DEADLINE

25 May 2022


QUERIES

Send any inquiries to [email protected] and [email protected]

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