Combining Disciplines in Rapid Appraisal : the Sondeo approach

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This article discusses the sondeo method and presents an example of its use in agricultural technology research in Guatemala. It argues that multidisciplinary agricultural research teams can augment information on agricultural technology needs. A reconnaissance survey team of ten, equally split between socio-economists and technologists, was used to assess farmer constraints and technology needs in advance of agricultural research. Quantified information and questionnaires were not required and the survey lasted only one week. The team investigated farmer conditions in pairs made up of a social and a natural scientist. On each of four days, the pairings changed. Daily post-survey team discussions were essential. Each member of the team prepared a report and these were finally amalgamated. Experience suggests that combined disciplines can, if well managed, produce incisive and efficient diagnoses of rural conditions and needs, and educate the participants in multidisciplinary thinking.

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Journal Title: 
Agricultural Administration
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A : Participatory Approaches : RRA and early days of PRA 50