Category Archives: Methodology

Socioeconomic inequality in Indonesian children’s cognitive function: From a decomposition analysis to a marginal structural model

Class at Sentarum elementary school

Measuring social inequalities in health is common, however, research examining inequalities in child cognitive function is more limited. Amelia Maika‘s research investigated household expenditure inequality in children’s cognitive function in Indonesia in 2000 and 2007, the contributors to inequality in both time periods, and changes in the contributors to cognitive function inequalities between the periods.

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Filed under Education, Indonesia, Methodology, PPIA academic discussion

2013 Food Security Regional Dialogue-Medan: Inter-economy perspectives of food security scenarios

As part of promotion of evidence-based policy making, decision makers and researchers have applied a wide range of modelling to evaluate the effectiveness of food security programs. One widely applied model is a multi-country computable general equilibrium model or known as the GTAP.  Anna Strutt (University of Waikato) and Signe Nelgen (University of Adelaide) shared their work entitled “Food security scenarios for the Asia Pacific – inter-sectoral and inter-economy perspectives”.

Anna Strutt (University of Waikato)

Anna Strutt (University of Waikato)

Strutt and Nelgen’s study focuses on CIPTTV countries, namely China, Indonesia, Philippines, Chinese Taipei and Viet Nam aiming to capture the impact of potential policy changes and other external shocks. The study uses an economy-wide framework using a computable general equilibrium model, a global trade model GTAP. Some important features of the modelling include: attention is given to the structural detail of the economy and inter-relationships between sectors; Prices and quantities are determined simultaneously with markets usually are assumed to clear; Incomes are endogenously determined; There is optimising behaviour by consumers and producers, with prices inducing adjustment. The CGE model imposes constraints e.g. availability of factors of production.

The GTAP model and the latest available GTAP version 8.1 data base with a base year of 2007 for 134 countries/regions and 57 sectors are used. Aggregation is implemented to derive 25 sectors and 28 regions in the study. The data are first projected to 2015. Agricultural distortions by Anderson and Valenzuela (2008) are updated and mapped to the GTAP sectors. Bilateral preferences from the GTAP database are maintained. To better capture food security aspects, the study augments the GTAP with food nutrition data using kilocalories per day per person.

Signe Nelgen (University of Adelaide) to explain about agricultural distortions dataset

Signe Nelgen (University of Adelaide) to explain about agricultural distortions dataset

Five scenarios are being simulated for the CIPTTV region: 1) improved agricultural productivity (land consolidation may lead to a 5 per cent increase in TFP in land-using sectors; 2) increased rice self-sufficiency through increasing tariffs imposed on imports from all regions thus eliminating 99 per cent of rice imports; 3) Combination of 1) and 2); 4) increased rice self-sufficiency and retaliatory tariffs from a key rice exporter; and 5) natural disaster harming land productivity which is assumed to lead to a 5 per cent reduction in land productivity in the region.

The study concludes that policies to promote self-sufficiency through the use of protectionist trade policies such as tariff may lead to a worsening of key food security indicators such as household food consumption. But if agricultural productivity improvements are part of the policy mix, the impacts will be less severe. However, retaliatory trade policies are likely to worsen conditions.

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Filed under Agriculture, Conference, East Asia, Economic development, Economic Integration, Food and agriculture, Investment, Methodology, Trade

Designing and Implementing a Quantitative Survey: Notes from fieldwork in Indonesia

Wahida during fieldwork in Indonesia

Wahida during fieldwork in Indonesia

Wahida, Global Food Studies, University of Adelaide

Higher education institutions in Australia offer opportunities for their research students to develop their ability and individual set of research skills. This can be done through conducting a research project either full time or part time.  One of the biggest constraints that is often faced by many students is that students entering higher degree research programs are assumed to have a complete set of skills and experience in conducting independent research.

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Filed under Agriculture, Culture, Education, Food and agriculture, Indonesia, Methodology, PPIA academic discussion

Natural Rubber Economic Cooperation in Southeast Asia: Can it be a ‘building block’ for ASEAN?

Tlogo Rubber Plantation - Salatiga (Java - Indonesia)

Kiki Verico, Faculty of Economics University of Indonesia

One of the key products in Southeast Asia’s agriculture sector is rubber. This product is important and strategic for Southeast Asia hence it has been included among the top eleven priority products of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) 2015. It has been expected to be the engine of growth for Southeast Asia’s economy and the powerhouse to transform the ASEAN economic integration paths from free flows of goods to free flows of capital. The latter is identified from its ability to enhance trade and investment integration among the ASEAN members.

Can natural rubber economic cooperation in Southeast Asia be a building block for ASEAN?

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Filed under Agriculture, ASEAN, Economic Integration, Methodology, Trade

Virtual Image Elicitation: An Innovative Method for Exploring Racial/Stereotypical Issues in Research

Ardian Wahyu Setiawan, a PhD Scholar, School of Education at Faculty of Professions University of Adelaide presented his research at our academic discussion series collaborating with PPIA Indonesian Student Association at University of Adelaide on 5 November 2012. He talked about racial/stereotypical issues among non-native English teachers.

Language is not only about the language itself but also about identity and race.

English is used in 75 territories in the world (Crystal 2003). The majority of English teachers are non-native speakers. But they are discriminated against, less treated. An advertisement of job vacancy in Korea even states clearly that a preference will be given to candidates with blonde hair! Unequal views to some extent may be contributed by the history of colonialism.

In Indonesia, similar issues raise. Some advertisements require the candidates to be non-Indonesian citizens.

The above issues are related to the non-native English teachers’ identity. Identity itself is socially constructed. Ardian is looking at this issue from various perspectives including student’s perception.

In social psychology, identity is an image – who are you? and who am I?. The past may influence.

Ardian conducts qualitative critical ethnographic research and visual methods. Previous studies commonly use interviews, questionnaires or combination of these two highlighting the contribution of his research to literature. Visual materials provide benefits in terms of practicality and  polysemic quality. Common visual instruments include FERET, the Yale Face Database B, the Face Recognition Data website, etc.

Considering the drawbacks of several methods, Ardian uses Facegen Modeller v3.4. It is commonly used for biometric security, police applications, 3D games. A pilot study suggested no technical difficulty arose. Time needed to complete the task and the number of pictures generated varied among the participants. In the interview stage, 367 facial images were produced in 9 minutes and 8 seconds.

The research outcomes may be able to advise the Indonesian government in relation to its recent policy to hire non-Indonesian English teachers including those whose English is not their first language from Poland, etc.

His next step is to conduct fieldwork to get a bigger number of respondents located in Malang, East Java Indonesia.

*This summary is prepared by Risti Permani

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Filed under Education, Indonesia, Methodology, PPIA academic discussion

Cross-cultural Leadership in the Implementation of Systems Engineering Processes: A Study of Indonesian Expatriate Engineers

Ika Safitri Windiarti (Defence and Systems Institute (DASI), University of South Australia)

Introduction. Projects are often performed by people from diverse cultural backgrounds. The ability of engineers to manage and work in these cross-cultural teams includes cross-cultural leadership ability. Cross-cultural leadership competence for the engineers supports the quality of the project performance.

In this research we conduct a web survey addressing the perception of cross-cultural issues in the implementation of systems engineering (SE) processes in projects. Several questions investigated the engineers’ knowledge, experience and perception of how they manage their inter-cultural relationship related to cross-cultural leadership.

Elements of Systems Engineering Processes. The international standard describing the SE processes associated with the system lifecycle is ISO/IEC 15288. This standard is used as the basis of the INCOSE (International Council on Systems Engineering) Systems Engineering Handbook, which in turn is the foundation of the INCOSE systems engineering certification programme (Windiarti, Ferris, and Berryman 2011b).

ISO/IEC 15288 divides the processes to support the system lifecycle into four groups: agreement; organizational project-enabling; project; and technical processes.

Indonesian Expatriate Engineers’ Cross-Cultural Leadership Experience. All the participants were in a culturally diverse environment. Those who had familiarity with a multicultural work environment found that cross-cultural adaptation in their workplace was not a major challenge for work performance. They found that the multicultural team helped them to complement each other to improve project achievement and quality. In some cases the limited cross-cultural ability of engineers may reduce project performance rather than lead to improvement. What is leadership? Leadership is a role of influencing group of people or organization in terms of task and objectives, commitment and fulfilment of target achievement, group/organization identification and culture (Yukl 1989). Cross-cultural leadership is basically applying the leadership assignment in the multicultural work environment. The general duty of the leader is to manage the achievements of the project goal and manage job distribution among the team members under the leader’s authority. In cross-cultural leadership, power distance which was one of the Hofstede’s cultural dimension plays an important role (Hofstede 1983). The relationship between leader and follower is influenced by the perception about power distance based on their cultural background.

Conflict Management in the Multicultural Work Team. 45.79% of the respondents answer that the project leader was resolving the conflicts that may occur in the multicultural project team by using existing rules written in the project guidelines. This reveals that most of the project leaders preferred to make a judgment in the multicultural working environment based on existing rules rather than considering the cultural background of the team members. This result reflects a different result than was obtained in the pilot study, where conflict resolution was based on the uniqueness of each individual. The difference would appear to result from the survey requiring selection of a single response in contrast to the free-form response permitted in the interviews.

Decision-Making in a Multicultural Work Team. The research participants were asked about how the team members contribute their ideas to the leader’s decision in risky situations. Based on the accumulated answers, option D that the decisions are always made by collaboration of the leader’s and members’ ideas was the most chosen among the research participants. Given the combined options, we found that the important decisions in the project team were made collaboratively, combining the leader’s ideas and members’ contribution in analysing the supporting ideas.

Completeness and Perfection of the Project vs. Relationships Between the Team Members. The research participants were asked an open-ended question about which is the most important thing for their organization.

Sixty nine answered that the completeness and perfection of the project is the most important thing for the organization. These engineers explained why they chose this option. In this survey a number of engineers explained their reason that the most important thing in the project is to achieve the project goal. The other reason was that the objective of the company or project is to make profit from the production and services. Some of the research participants are expatriate engineers who work based on the contract. Their job is mainly to accomplish the project’s target in a certain country (within the same company) and they will relocate to another country for other different projects. These circumstances caused the engineers to choose the relationship between team members as being less important than completeness and perfection of the project.

In this question, 135 engineers answered that the most important thing in the organizations is the relationship between team members. Some of the research participants explained that good relationships among team members support the productivity of the team project in achieving the project goal. As discussed in the previous section, in this part, cross-cultural leadership skills also become important in a project related with the importance of team relationships. The last reason is because solid teamwork can be formed and with this solid teamwork the project will run well and the objective can be achieved.

From the survey result, 84 engineers answered that a combination of completeness and perfection of the project and relationships between the team members is useful for the project or organization.

Conclusions. This paper reports that as perceived by Indonesian engineers, conflicts within the project team were mostly resolved based on existing rules rather than considering the cultural background and the important decision in the project team was made by collaboration of the leader’s ideas and members’ contribution in analysing the supporting ideas. The other result from this study is that the relationships between team members were more importance to the organization than the project completeness and perfection.

Engineers suggested that a combination of completeness and perfection of the project and relationships between the team members is valuable for the project or organization in implementing SE processes and their implication on the improvement of cross-cultural leadership capability.

Finally, for future work, the diversity in a project team allowed an appropriate cross-correlation analysis between background (experience, demographic and type of industry) and the findings from this research may be used to look at cross-cultural leadership or other topics.

This article is prepared by Ika Safitri Windiarti, M.Eng.Adv. She is a PhD candidate from Defence and Systems Institute (DASI), University of South Australia


Filed under Culture, Employment, Engineering, Methodology, PPIA academic discussion, Project, Survey

Methodological Considerations: Transcription as the Act of Representing, Analyzing, and Interpreting ‘Talking Data’

Voice Recorder

Handoyo Puji Widodo (Discipline of Linguistics, University of Adelaide)


Interview data transcription is part of the qualitative research activities designed to capture and unpack the complicatedness and meaning of naturally occurring phenomena (e.g., values, beliefs, feelings, thoughts, experiences) in social encounters. It becomes the norm in most qualitative research studies. Literally, transcription is a useful means for turning digitally recorded interview data (findings) into transcripts, but methodologically speaking, transcription is the act of representing original spoken text (recorded talking data) in written discourse as well as analyzing and interpreting instances of these data (Bird, 2005). These data in the form of transcripts are viewed as text, jointly created by research participants and a researcher through dialogic conversation and negotiated engagement. In other words, transcription is seen as the act of data representation, analysis, and interpretation, and indeed it is an activity that requires sound methodological orientation. In response to this, I would like to briefly discuss some methodological considerations in data transcription to help emerging or beginning researchers prepare transcripts on the right track.

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Filed under Academic writing, Methodology, Survey