Noting the origins of RRA and PRA outside China, the authors propose æPRRAÆ as a Chinese adaptation. Its characteristics are participation in data collection and analysis, rapidity of the process, use of many methods to collect accurate information, and its use of a systems perspective of rural environmental and socio-economic phenomena. The stages of a æPRRAÆ process in a soil conservation and mountain development project in three villages in Zhejiang province, China, are described in the bulk of the article. The research team included natural and social scientists, local government forestry staff, and villagersÆ representatives. The conclusion notes that æPRRAÆ in the Chinese context must promote villagersÆ participation while not ignoring the important role of government. Both villagers and local government must participate in the whole æPRRAÆ process. Insiders and outsiders have equal roles in the process based on the advantages each can bring to it.