This second edition of the The SAGE Handbook of Action Research has been updated to bring chapters in line with the latest qualitative and quantitative approaches in this field of social inquiry. Peter Reason and Hilary Bradbury have introduced new commentaries that draw links between different contributions and show their interrelations. Contributing authors engage with the pragmatics of doing action research and demonstrate how this can be a rich and rewarding reflective practice. They tackle questions of how to integrate knowledge with action, how to collaborate with co-researchers in the field, and how to present the necessarily 'messy' components in a coherent fashion. The organization of the volume reflects the many different issues and levels of analysis represented.
Participatory approaches and methods can generate quantitative as well as qualitative data. Mainly since the early 1990s, a quiet tide of innovation has developed a rich range of participatory ways, many of them visual and tangible, by which local people themselves produce numbers. The approaches and methods have variously entailed counting, mapping, measuring, estimating, valuing and scoring, and scaling, together with comparing and combinations of these, and have had many applications.
The methodological pioneers in going to scale in the 1990s rarely recognised the significance of what they had been doing. The pioneers of the 2000s have shown ingenuity, skill, patience and courage, sometimes in the face of opposition driven by conventional reflexes. Participatory numbers have been taken to scale most notably through participatory surveys with visuals and tangibles, through aggregation from focus groups and through wealth and wellbeing ranking. There have been breakthroughs in producing national statistics, and also on subjects and with insights inaccessible through questionnaires.
Statistical principles can be applied to participatory numbers. Ways have been found of overcoming the vexing problem of commensurability between communities. As with all ways of finding out, there are trade-offs, in this context notably between participatory open-endedness and standardisation for comparability.
The question 'who counts' - raises issues of ownership and power. Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation (PM and E) has taken many forms, with varied degrees of ownership and empowerment. Whether participatory statistics empower local people is sensitive to official attitudes and acceptance and whether these lead to changes in policy and practice that make a real difference. Questions are raised of the mix and balance of extraction and empowerment, and whether and how the quiet revolution of participatory approaches and methods can get the best of both qualitative and quantitative worlds.
Wealth-ranking is a participatory tool enabling people to group others in their community into wealth bands, and thus identify the very poor. The method has been developed to include the broader aspects of well-being – such as social standing and health – that people value as much as material wealth. It tells the story of the development of these assessment methods since the rise of wealth ranking in the 1980s and looks at the results of well-being ranking exercises and how they help identify important differences within communities and monitor changes in well-being over time. Exploring strengths and weaknesses of methods it suggests that understanding differences within communities is essential for good development aid work. The book goes on to describe the successful use of ranking tools over large populations and the value of using multi-dimensional models of well-being, and briefly explores the ideas used to make assessments of well-being at national levels.
This third edition of the The Sage Handbook of Action Research presents an updated version with new chapters covering emerging areas in healthcare, social work, education and international development, as well as an expanded ‘Skills’ section which includes new consultant-relevant materials. Building on the previous editions, Hilary Bradbury has carefully developed this edition to ensure it follows in their footsteps by mapping the current state of the discipline, as well as looking to the future of the field and exploring the issues at the cutting edge of the action research paradigm today.
This Reality Check was undertaken by a team of Nepali researchers, and carried out as a contribution to the mixed methods approach to monitoring, evaluation and learning commissioned by DFID Nepal to complement and assist the routine monitoring and evaluation of the Rural Access Programme 3 in Mid and Far West Nepal. It complements a ‘baseline’ RCA that was undertaken for RAP in May 2014.
This Introduction is taken from a more extensive resource pack (now unavailable). After a brief introduction to PRA, it looks at methods associated with:
- Space - mapping, transect walks, modelling
- Time - seasonal calendars, daily activity routines, lifelines, timelines and historical maps
- Networks and Linkages - diagramming, flow analysis, spider diagrams, problem walls and solution trees
- Prioritisation and Rapid Quantification – matrix ranking and scoring, treatment sequence matrices and wealth and wellbeing ranking.
Despite great strides in improving sanitation in developing countries, some 2.4 billion people worldwide lack access to adequate sanitation facilities and the poorest and most vulnerable members of society are often not reached. Sustainability is one of the key challenges in CLTS and the wider WASH sector. Whether sanitation improvements endure depend on issues of equity and inclusion, social norms, physical infrastructure, sanitation marketing, monitoring and verification, post-ODF follow-up and the roles and responsibilities of governments, NGOs and donors. The achievement of “open defecation-free” status is now recognised as only the first stage in a long process of change and sanitation improvement.
This book examines these challenges, asking questions such as how we ensure that people access sanitation and sustain related behaviours, and how we reach the poorest with toilets that are suitable for their needs. It develops key themes by exploring current experience, innovations and insights, as well as identifying a future research agenda and gaps in current knowledge, and making recommendations and practical suggestions.
Participatory geographic information systems (PGIS) combine a range of feo-spatial information management tools and methods such as sketch maps, participatory 3D models (P3DM) aerial photographs, satellite images, global positioning systems (GPS) and geographic information systems (GIS). CTA has been in the forefront of activities to promote PGIS across African, Caribbean and Pacific countries.
Impact assessments undertaken in six ACP regions have documented how empowering PGIS can be for rural and at times marginalised communities. This publication documents some of the success stories that have emerged as a result of CTA’s initiatives in PGIS in recent years.
In this chapter, Robert Chambers and Nicholas Loubere have a conversation in which they discuss: the nature of Robert's research; his contribution to development; shifts in the methodological mainstream; inherent tensions in development research; the limits of freedom and participation; power verses democracy; ignorance, biases and misconceptions in research; local knowledge and multiple realities; how to move from extraction to co-production; positionality, engagement and dissemination; and pluralism and emergence. The text is based on an audio recording of an interview that took place at IDS in June 2014.
Assessing Civil Society Participation as Supported In-Country by Cordaid, Hivos, Novib and Plan Netherlands, 1999-2004. Synthesis Report
This report presents the findings of the programme evaluation on ‘civil society participation’ commissioned by the Dutch co-financing agencies Cordaid, Hivos, Novib/ Oxfam Netherlands and Plan Netherlands. It is the fourth study in a series of programme evaluations organised during the period 2003-2006 by the MBN, the Network of Co- Financing Agencies in the Netherlands.
In 2006 oil was discovered in Uganda. With the country’s economy highly dependent on fuel imports, national oil production could make a long-term contribution to poverty alleviation. But for sustainable development to occur, participatory governance must ensure that people are involved in the decision-making processes affecting their lives. This paper, therefore, first analyses the adequacy of the existing legal framework on access to information and participation. Its findings show that although law and policy in Uganda indicate certain efforts to open up environmental decision-making processes to public influence, this is not the case in the oil production sector. On the basis of interviews and focus group studies it further examines the main practical barriers to better public participation. The author finds that in practice, public participation is subject to several financial, technical and political constraints. The culture of secrecy within government bodies, weak civil society structures as well as the politics of patronage remain substantive challenges for the fair and equitable management of natural resources in Uganda.
Community report: a participatory approach to assessing the impact of ICT access on quality of life in KwaZulu-Natal
This report is based on the experience and findings of a group of 113 people who took part in a two-year participatory research project. This was known as the Community-Based Learning, Information & Communication Technologies (ICTs) and Quality of Life (CLIQ) project. The aim of the project was to find out if ICTs can have an impact on people’s quality of life.
Participants came from four poorer communities in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Through their local telecentres, CLIQ provided free computer training and use and alongside this, participants discussed their quality of life and their life goals at different stages of the fieldwork. Some telecentres were not operating as well as others and some people were not able to participate as fully as others. The CLIQ research showed that when people use computers, they can improve their lives.
Training is important and should be linked to the needs of people who should be supported in their use of computers to help them reach their goals. For this to succeed it is essential that they have good access to computers that work.
The report is in memory of Nonhlanhla Gema.
This article describes the exploratory and preparatory phase of a research project designed to use co-operative enquiry as a method for transformative and participatory action research into relations between donors and recipients in two developing countries, Bolivia and Bangladesh. It describes the origins of the idea, the conceptual challenges that the authors faced in seeking funding, and what they learned from this first phase. The authors analyse why the researchers, as well as the potential subjects of the research, were uncomfortable with the proposed methodology, including the challenges arising from their own positions and the highly sensitive nature of the topic. They explain why they decided to abandon the project, and they reach some tentative conclusions concerning the options for participatory action learning and research in development practice.
This paper provides conceptual and methodological guidelines for researchers seeking to undertake an urban participatory climate change adaptation appraisal (PCCAA), illustrated with examples from appraisals in Mombasa (Kenya) and Estelí (Nicaragua). It highlights the importance of hearing local people’s voices regarding incrementally worsening and often unrecorded severe weather. The conceptual framework distinguishes between the analysis of asset vulnerability and the identification of asset-based operational strategies, and sets out a number of methodological principles and practices for undertaking a PCCAA. This PCCAA addressed five main themes: community characteristics; severe weather; vulnerability to severe weather; asset adaptation; and institutions supporting local adaptation. For each of these, it identified potential tools for eliciting information, illustrated by examples from Mombasa and Estelí.