Background: In recent years, there has been significant research related to governance structures and processes in Solomon Islands but no comprehensive assessment of Solomon Islanders’ civic knowledge and citizenship engagement. Sustineo was engaged by Cardno on behalf of Australia’s Solomon Islands Resource Facility to design and implement a baseline survey with the aim of gauging peoples’ perceptions towards, and experiences with, a range of key civic knowledge areas.
Approach: We designed the project around three phases: an extensive literature review complemented by scoping consultations with key stakeholders in Solomon Islands; data collection featuring a national survey; and data analysis and reporting. This approach ensured that findings complemented and extended past research, while aligning to client priorities.
The national survey was a significant undertaking. We developed a comprehensive sampling approach designed to establish a representative picture of the perceptions and experiences of Solomon Islanders in target provinces, sensitive to a range of variables including gender, age and location. To ensure reliability and representativeness, the survey employed a randomised approach to sampling, designed to produce findings with a 95% confidence level and 3% overall margin of error.
We worked with Solomon Islands based organisations to ensure that our approach supported social and disability inclusion, and ethics approval was gained through the Solomon Islands Health Research and Ethics Review Board.
The survey was implemented by local researchers from our partner organisation, Dignity Pasifik. We conducted training for all researchers, and quality checks on data were implemented and issues resolved in real time using our clearly defined research management strategy. A total of 1,228 Solomon Islanders were interviewed in Solomon Islands Pijin using tablet technology to capture the data.
As part of data analysis and reporting, we identified overall trends and examined differences in responses across various key analytic variables which were tested for statistical significance. The research team’s subject matter expertise ensured that our data analysis was informed by the Solomon Islands’ context.
Outcome: Our contextually appropriate research design and close collaborative working relationship with Cardno (built from the design phase) ensured that the deliverables provided critical insights aligned with the client’s research objectives. Our final report presented key findings across three priority areas of interest, and insights from the report have been used to inform the broader work of the Solomon Islands Governance Program. Senior representatives from both the Solomon Islands and Australian governments have commended our research for its excellent quality and practical utility. We were subsequently engaged by Cardno to extend our work in this space at the request of Solomon Islands Government stakeholders.