Following an action research approach, four research questions guide the scientific component of the project:
- What are the conditions under which information rich consumer facing traceability can be implemented in information-poor small-scale fisheries in Indonesia and the Philippines?
- What kinds of incentives can information rich consumer facing traceability create for on-going (sustainable) data collection in these fisheries?
- Does the introduction of consumer facing traceability generate information flows that are of a high enough quality, timely, accessible and understandable?
- How can these Open Access information flows contribute to a better understanding of the status and importance of tuna fisheries in Indonesia and the Philippines?
The action research cycle provides the methodological structure for the study. One adaptive cycle is divided into seven steps, starting with the now completed scoping study, through to identification of the value chains and actors to be involved, participatory identification, design and implementation of the information infrastructure to be implemented, and finally, monitoring and evaluation. Following such an approach allows for:
- On-going appraisal of the changes being introduced to existing data collection and traceability practices
- Adjustments to be made that reflect the needs of all parties involved, without losing sight of the overall objective for an improved information system
- Time specific moments for monitoring and evaluation that facilitates high quality research output.
It is also important to note that the adaptive research framework provides an overall structure within which activities can be defined. However, these activities remain flexible and partially open to change given the demands of participants and the key research findings at the end of each cycle.