Gill, G.

Policy analysis for agricultural resource management in Nepal: a comparison of conventional and participatory approaches

Argues that, given the weaknesses of both published statistics and questionnaire-based socio-economic surveys, some fundamental changes must be made to the way information is collected and analyzed. It looks first at some of the problems of data collection using questionnaire surveys, then suggests how these problems can be overcome by using participatory techniques. A practical example is given from Nepal, where PRA was used to examine the seasonality of fodder supplies.

"But how does it compare with the real data?"

Comparison of seasonality diagrams drawn up by farmers during a RRA/PRA workshop carried out in Western Nepal, with scientifically collected meteorological data from a nearby agricultural research centre. The paper considers a number of methodological issues connected with the linking between "formal" and "informal" methods of research. It then moves on to consider the question of "fit" between the two sets of data. Concludes that if the scientific data is the "real" data, then in fact the PRA data is extremely accurate.

PRA learning methods in agricultural policy analysis: implications for training

Using PRA techniques to collect information for the purposes of policy analysis, raises different issues from using PRA in an NGO project context. Training exercises for policy-oriented PRA need to be "custom-designed" for government staff who tend to have a more "top-down" approach, work in discrete departments and have restricted time for learning PRA. The article suggests how to plan a training programme in view of these points.