Ask students to narrow down a research question or topic only using information on the GRG website. Research questions can either be given by the professor or chosen by students in class.
In this assignment professors should ask students to critique the GRG site in the report of their findings.
· What was missing in their navigation of the information on the GRG site?
· What information should be added or edited to be more useful for defining a research question?
· What information was helpful?
Students should write up their responses and suggestions in a 1-2 page paper, which can be discussed in smaller groups in class. A completion of the assignment could be a presentation of each groups’ suggestions to the class as a whole.
This assignment can be used by professors to criticize dominant themes of development. Students should be asked to look into one of the key areas of development such as gender or human rights and investigate the information that is presented on the GRG site. The topic can be chosen by the professor or by the students themselves.
· Is there a bias in the information provided on the GRG website? If so, what type of bias (geographic, linguistic, etc.)?
· What information/perspective is missing?
· Is one “voice” more dominant than another? If so, why?
Students should write up their answers to the above questions in a 1-2 page paper along with at least five suggestions of information that should be added in critique of the existing information. Student responses can be discussed in smaller groups or all together as a whole class.
This assignment can be used by professors to problematize issues of development such as climate change, hunger, democracy building, etc. Professors may choose the topics or topics to be debated in class. Students should then be divided into two groups (either as a class if they are dealing with one topic, or in smaller groups if they are dealing with several different topics). One half of the group will take the “pro” stance and the other the “con” stance. Research one of the chosen topic should be done using the GRG site and by asking the following questions:
“Pro” Issue Questions
· What are the main reasons given for why this issue is so important to the international development agenda?
· Who are the largest global actors working on this issue? In what way do they influence how this issue is addressed? What are their ultimate interests?
“Pro” student then should write a two page paper arguing why this issue is so important and should be given global funding and attention.
“Con” Issue Questions
· What is missing in the presentation of the chosen issue by the key global actors?
· Who is this issue important to? The people on the ground? International organizations? Why?
· What could be a more pressing issue or element that is left out of the dominant discourse on this theme?
“Con” students then should write up a two page paper arguing the faults of the issue at hand illustrated by answering the questions above. Suggestions should be given for alternative perspectives to either change the focus of the issue or decrease its importance in the international development agenda and instead promote another issue they find to be more important.
In class, students should be asked to present their arguments for and against the issue so that they may be debated and evaluated by everyone.
The GRG website and all its information is accessible for free anywhere in the world. The compilation of such information could be a great resource for many who do not have the time or the means to gather such data on their own. This assignment, therefore, can be used by professors to brainstorm how the GRG site could be used abroad by researchers, activists and NGO workers.
Professors should ask students to take one of two perspectives, either that of an external development agent (researcher, UN worker, etc) or that of an in-country activist or NGO worker. The following questions should be asked of each perspective and written up into a two-page assignment.
External Development Agent: Ask the students to imagine that they are sent by organization or institution X to implement project Y in country Z (variables x, y, z are to be determined by the professor). One of the tools that this agent can use while they are there is the GRG. Using the following questions, students should develop a methodology for how they will convince the local population of the need for their project. Students should put together an initial presentation to the leader of the local community.
· Why is project Y so important on a local level? Globally? To organization or institution X?
· What is the reputation of organization or institution X?
· Why should the local population think that project Y will be successful or sustainable? Give examples of other successful projects by X.
In-Country Activist: Ask the students to imagine that they are living in country Z working on issue Y and seek to form a partnership with institution X. Using the GRG site in conjunction with the questions below, have the students develop an initial presentation to the representative of organization or institution X.
· Why should organization or institution X be interested in issue Y? Are they already involved in similar projects elsewhere?
· How can the needs and successes of issue Y be presented to organization or institution X? What “language” or terminology should they used based on the rhetoric of X for its other projects?
· What information should be provided to convince agent X (testimonials, videos, important or famous local individuals, key partnerships)?