PURC Training Course on Assessing Social Impacts in a Comprehensive Regulatory Impact Analysis
March 2 - 4, 2016
How can qualitative analyses be performed for a regulatory impact analysis (RIA)? This was the topic for a three-day course for the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) of Thailand. The course examined four ways of ensuring that RIA captures impacts that are hard to quantify. One tool is to conduct surveys of stakeholders. This starts with brainstorming on who are the important stakeholders, moves onto developing and testing specific questions that address the critical information, and concludes with a survey launch, results monitoring, and evaluation. Another instrument is behavior observation. Critical questions include who to observe, where to observe, what to observe, and how to conduct in-depth interviews. The third instrument is focus groups. This is more than just having a public meeting to learn what people think. It involves carefully designing discussion questions, taking polls during the group meeting, and designating and training staff to be observers as well as discussion leaders. The final method is using social media to see what people are talking about, their opinions, and who they listen to. The course was taught by PURC director Mark Jamison and Professor Jasmine McNealy of UF's College of Journalism and Mass Communications. The course, which was held in Bangkok in March 2-4, 2016, was attended by 30 staff from the NBTC.