In September 1991 a workshop on participatory methods for working with farmers was held for one national and eight provincial teams which comprise the Adaptive Research Planning Team (ARPT) in Zambia. Its main purpose was to evaluate the the bean or finger millet varieties that the groups had been working on. Matrices were the prime method of evaluation generated through discussions held with farmers. The paper looks at the setting up of the matrix, the ranking exercise and arguments with respect to the value of the three varieties. The matrices were concluded to be successful in highlighting each of their strengths and weaknesses, as well as indentifying the various characteristics of millet varieties. From the discussion with farmers, researchers were able to ascertain which characteristics of the varieties were most highly prized.