In Pakistan, we often discuss “democracy.” We debate why it is important to a nation`s progress and why it didn’t flourish in our country. Nowadays, “elections” are a topic of discussion everywhere in the country. Some believe that it is the solution to all the present-day problems in Pakistan. Others consider it simply a cumbersome cost and not a priority. I believe that the feedback of the people, nevertheless, should always be considered.
We are all aware of the benefits of surveys, interviews, and polls. They are all forms of research. As an MBA, I had to go through both qualitative and quantitative research during my study. The findings of research are often extremely useful. But why should research be confined only to the academic world? I assert that the power of “research” should be harnessed by our government and other institutions in Pakistan. This should be done officially, and online polls and surveys should be conducted throughout the country.
How can this research benefit Pakistan?
Some of the numerous benefits of such research (feedback) conducted by the government include:
- Empowering the citizens of Pakistan
It will enable a common man in Pakistan to have a “say” in the affairs of the country. It implies that everyone`s opinion matters and will be taken into consideration. Unlike a government that acts on its own, one that seeks feedback from its people indirectly conveys an intention to “include” them in governance.
- Better Governance
The results of the feedback can enable policymakers to make better decisions for people. In addition to that, they can be aware of the popularity of their decisions beforehand too. Furthermore, policymakers can also rectify their past errors and make the required amendments.
- Bridging gaps
It is also an excellent way of reducing the communication gaps that exist between the governments of Pakistan and their citizens. The citizens can perceive it as a friendly gesture from the government. In a similar way, the government of Pakistan can understand how and what people think.
How can this research be made effective?
For this research (feedback) to be effective, there are certain important aspects to be considered. If that is ensured, then such an activity will yield highly beneficial returns. The following are the ways in which the credibility and quality of the research can be ensured:
To ensure the credibility and authenticity of the feedback system, it is pivotal that transparency be there. One of the objections about electoral processes in Pakistan is that there is a lack of transparency in them. Examinations in Pakistan are also subject to similar criticism. There are numerous ways in which the feedback system can be made as transparent and credible as possible.
First, the results of the poll or survey should be publicized both on the Official Government of Pakistan website and application and on a dedicated news channel program. Second, a reputable research organization should conduct the feedback itself in coordination with the Pakistani government. Another way to establish the credibility of the research is to publish the interviews and responses to open-ended questions on the Government of Pakistan webpage.
- Objectivity should be ensured.
Another important aspect of this feedback system is the choice of questions. In Pakistan, most of our decisions are based on personal likes and dislikes. We, for example, dislike even a positive thing about a government if our favorite political party is not in power. Hence, it is important to restrict the questions to government policies only.
For example, to the question “Are you satisfied with the performance of the current government?”, most of the respondents who support the political party in power will say “yes”. Likewise, the opposite is true as well. However, to the question “How can the current government improve its performance?”, such biases are removed. The respondent has to offer a suggestion and is likely to respond objectively to such a question.
- Population and Sample
While the types of questions asked in research are important, what is also significant is who is being questioned. In research terminology, “sample” refers to the group of people that are representative of a larger group called the “population”. Successful research requires that the sample be representative of the population. It is very important to choose the appropriate sample to yield useful findings.
For example, to the question “Should the format of CSS examinations be changed?”, appropriate respondents would be the CSS aspirants and current bureaucrats. The business community would be irrelevant, for example, to answer this question. Similarly, questions about healthcare or security should be directed at those relevant to that field. This will ensure the correctness and quality of the research itself.
- Suggestions by the People
Open-ended questions are an important part of qualitative research. The government should conduct research that includes irrational questions and suggestion-taking. Doing so can enable the respondents to share their opinions openly rather than choosing from the given options. Some of those suggestions can be unique and very useful.
For instance, let`s take the question, “Should students be allowed to wear casual clothing in schools in Pakistan?” All the relevant categories of people (students, educators, etc.) should be asked about it. Their opinions should be noted and recorded as data. Before the government finally decides anything concerning school uniforms, it should consider the gathered feedback.
The government of Pakistan should introduce research activities to gather feedback from its citizens. This has more than one benefit, both for the people and for the government itself. As Pakistan successfully surmounts the current challenges, it should prioritize its citizens and their opinions. In the words of Kenneth Kaye,
“Two heads are better than one only if they contain different opinions.”