RESEARCH EXPERIENCE IN THE PHILIPPINES: CHALLENGES CONDUCTING ORAL HISTORY RESEARCH IN A DEVELOPING NATION
California State University at Sacramento (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN13 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Conference name: 5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2013
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:This paper presentation presents the challenges of conducting oral history interviews and research in the Philippines, a developing nation with a booming economy in the metropolitan Manila area and positive GDP projections for 2013 and 2014, but nonetheless the country remains poor overall and unable to provide decent paying jobs for a large number of its population. Each year, thousands of Filipinos graduate from colleges and universities, but there are not enough jobs for the majority of the college graduates. Thus, each year there remains an excess labor supply of college graduates and still not enough jobs for Filipinos. The most financially viable option is to emigrate out of the Philippines and take contract jobs “abroad” where the pay is comparatively high.
My 2013 sabbatical (January-April) included conducting lectures on Filipino global migrations to destinations such as Asia (Hong Kong, Japan & Singapore), the Middle East (UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia), Australia and Europe (Spain and Italy). The lectures were at the University of the Philippines (the premier public university in the nation) and at Bulacan State University. The pubic lectures were very successful, well attended and were mostly standing room only. The research part was challenging.
In the Philippines, Filipinos who work outside the country are called OFWs, which stands for “overseas Filipino workers”. All prospective migrants (OFWs) who plan to work “abroad” (overseas) must go through the Philippine Office of Employment Administration (POEA) in Manila, and OFWs cannot leave the country without proper authorization from POEA.
This paper will explain the challenges in conducting research in the Philippines especially at POEA. Among the challenges in conducting research were:
(1) The language being used in conducting the interview. Often people are more comfortable speaking in their regional languages than in either Tagalog or English.
(2) Educational levels. Migrants who had college experience were more willing to be interviewed; thus, the data collected for the oral history interviews were skewed towards college-educated migrants.
(3) Transportation. Getting to POEA in Manila is a major challenge. POEA is on the same heavily congested and polluted pubic transportation systems that prospective OFWs traveled.
(4) Limited computer resources.
Presentation of Preliminary Research Data:
The preliminary data being collected through the oral history interviews suggest that a lot of college educated Filipinos look to acquiring jobs overseas (“work abroad”) as a means of improving their economic status, which is consistent with the research data on Filipino migration. My PowerPoint presentation will be a multimedia presentation that includes photographs of the socio-economic conditions in the provinces, short film clips and samples of my audio recordings of the oral histories I conducted. The research data, audio recordings on professional digital audio equipment and the photographs will be used primarily in my university teaching about globalization and the global migration of Filipino overseas workers.
Keywords: Research Experience, oral history interviews, globalization, global migration, audio recording, photography.