Mitchell, J.

The bias of interviews

This short article explores the cultural assumptions behind informal interviewing techniques. Westerners assume that "questions always have answers" and that "these answers can be given briefly", thus creating a bias in the interview "as a means of discussion". Rural people tend to regard "knowledge as something very complex... which cannot be glibly articulated in response to quick questions".

Operational Research Project on Community Based Food Security Monitoring and Responses

This reports on ActionAid's project aimed at strengthening emergency preparedness and responses in famine vulnerable areas in a number of African countries. It examines the setting up of Community Based Food Security Monitoring Systems (CBMS) that help field staff make timely predictions about impending food shortages. One of the principles of a CBMS is that it is 'people-centred', and the community should be involved with data collection, interpretation and response.

Listening to Rural People in Africa: the Semi-Structured Interview in Rapid Rural Appraisal

The semi-structured interview is a vital tool in rapid rural appraisal, and one for which a number of guidelines have been drawn up. It is an important way of furthering our understanding of the lives of rural people, but it needs to be understood by its practitioners. It is argued that it can contain an inherent bias which often conflicts with the understanding rural people have of the nature of knowledge and information, and therefore the meaning of questions and answers.

Community Based Food Security Monitoring and Responses

This is a follow-up report on the work done by ActionAid to develop Community Based Food Security Monitoring Systems (CBMS) to assist in the timely predictions of impending food shortages. It is envisaged that CBMS's will not only prevent famine but also help build up livelihoods and strengthen long term development processes. This report looks at attempts in Malawi and Kenya to understand more about ways to use the community in the management of their own relief.