Experiencing the realities of research in the field is what Claire Le Barbenchon, a 2015 IDRC Research Award recipient, “looks back upon with fondness. Field research was a brand new experience for me,” she says, and she was doing so “in a yet unexplored country for me — Vietnam.”
Her research on understanding non-farm employment among ethnic minority groups threw Le Barbenchon’s work a few initial curves. First, her permits were delayed, forcing her to consider different work. Then she discovered that national surveys had not properly captured migration of ethnic minorities and to find enough interviewees, she would have to go into remote areas.
“As I got to know different people from Vietnam and learned more about the culture, my research changed and improved, and my questions became more relevant and precise,” she says. “Connecting with people and asking questions was the most enriching part of my experience.”
Of her year at IDRC, Le Barbenchon says that “my appreciation, understanding and insight into the world of development research was formed by IDRC, and has been a springboard for the continuation of my career in this field. It also allowed me to grow as a person, in an intellectually charged environment.”