Slim, H.

Listening for a change: oral testimony and development

The focus throughout is on "listening" to people, in order to learn from experiences. Oral testimony is considered in terms of oral history and oral artistry. The importance of listening is illustrated by a large number of entertaining case studies, drawn from both developed and developing countries, from a broad range of disciplines. The methodology is discussed, detailing the way in which development workers should be trained to listen.

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".

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.