This chapter provides an overview of rapid appraisal methods, focusing on their nature, types, limitations, the rationale for their use, and appropriate roles. Five methods are identified as the core of rapid appraisal methodology: key informant interviews, focus group discussions, community/group interviews, structured direct observation, and informal surveys. Some of the limitations of rapid appraisal methods are discussed, such as reliability and validity, the difficulty of drawing larger-scale conclusions, and general credibility. These should be weighed against the advantages of the methods, such as the rapid generation of relevant information with relatively low investment of resources, and provision of in-depth information. The paper concludes that rapid appraisal methods should be used selectively, and situations are identified in which their application is particularly appropriate.
Rapid appraisal methods