This paper discusses two related questions: Are research results usable? Are the data actually used in decision-making? Both are determined by the researcher's choice of research methodology. The links between choice of research methodology and the application of results is discussed through a simple conceptual model. A satisfactory link requires a decision to allocate part of research capacity to the evaluation of previous research. To demonstrate the difficulties involved in rigorous analysis, a case study of ten years of research for agricultural development in three East African countries (Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania) is reviewed. Deficiencies in agricultural planning and in applied research for agricultural development are discussed in detail. The causes of ineffective applied research are viewed as lying in scientific culture. An example of applied research with implemented solutions is given, emphasising the benefits of participant research and management procedures for planning.
With this pioneering book introducing participatory approaches in rural development, the author challenges preconceptions dominating rural development at the time. The central theme of the book is that rural poverty is often unseen or misperceived by outsiders, those who are not themselves rural and poor. The author contends that researchers, scientists, administrators and fieldworkers rarely appreciate the richness and validity of rural peopleÆs knowledge, or the hidden nature of rural poverty. He argues for a new professionalism, with fundamental reversals in outsidersÆ learning, values and behavior, and proposes more realistic action for tackling rural poverty. The book is divided into eight chapters focusing on rural poverty unperceived (i.e. as perceived by outsiders); two cultures of outsiders, negative academics vs. positive practitioners; how outsiders learn; power structures and knowledge; integrated rural poverty including deprivation, vulnerability and powerlessness; making priorities for action; reversals in professional values and bridging gaps between disciplines, professions and departments; and recommendations and discussion of practical actions.
This paper considers the work of the Adaptive Research Planning Team (ARPT) in Zambia in the light from the conventional "transfer of technology" paradigm to a "farmer first" approach. It deals with the central issues facing ARPT in its move towards increasing levels of farmer participation in the adaptive research work of provincial teams. It aims to establish what participation means to APRT, why APRT should pursue participation and how this can be achieved. The central problem facing APRT is reconciling its push for increased participation in agricultural research with the "top down" approach characterising much of the rest of APRT. The paper indicates that the "farmer first" approach should be more widely adopted throughout development work, not just in agriculture - in other words "farmer first" marks a new paradigm for all development work.
Using questionnaires through an existing administrative system: a new approach to health interview surveys
A review of recent developments in health interview procedures within decentralised health planning emphasising the importance of beneficiaries' perceptions of their health problems in the success or failure of primary health care. The methodology used is that of 'indirect' health interviews channelled through existing administrative systems and self-administered by recipients. The article describes ongoing research designed to test this approach in seven African countries and discusses methodological problems and limitations.
Anthropological methods have been introduced into rapid assessment procedures (RAP) for a number of diseases and related health issues. This article discusses the suitability of the approach for health research in countries where tropical diseases are endemic. Adjustments to conventional methods are necessary, given the limited time in the field and the need to ensure the validity and reliability of data. Although rapid assessment has certain shortcomings and does not obviate the need for long-term studies, a mix of research methods, use of multi-disciplinary teams and attention to contradictions within the study population will produce valid data in a relatively short period.
Verbal autopsies are widely used to describe the causes of death in individuals who die outside of hospital or clinic settings, but are seldom validated. The technique assumes that disease which cause death can be easily distinguished from one another by distinct syndromes and that these are reported accurately by lay respondents. The article describes the potential problems of syndrome definition and the likely biases from poor recognition and recall by bereaved relatives; how these might be tested and what can be done when verbal autopsy cannot identify the cause of death.
Implementing Village Resource Development Programmes Through Participatory Rural Appraisal and Planning
This paper concerns PRA capacity building in the implementation and monitoring of the Village Development Programme of Kalam Integrated Development Project (KIDP) in northern Pakistan. It discusses the adoption and institutionalisation of PRA in village planning activities of the programme, which has involved the training of village extensionists to participate in PRA teams. The selection of these persons is discussed. Among the many comments on this innovative approach, the author notes that the pace of adoption has been appropriately slow given the experimental nature of this approach. Developing an understanding of PRA before any field work begins is important, particularly since it differs from conventional prescriptive interventions. Identification of initial activities, and the involvement of women are discussed. The need for caution in developing village action plans is noted, as is the importance of follow -up to PRA activities, particularly as expectations may have been raised. The need for monitoring structures and the possibility of future training are explored.
The Nhlangwini Integrated Rural Development Project aims to empower local people, in order that they may improve their quality of life, by helping them develop strategies for addressing basic needs. The Nhlangwini Ward is situated in southern KwaZulu, South Africa. Three workshops were held over a period of three months during 1989. The first examined development problems in the area; the second specifically probed those problems associated with family planning; the third was a development planning workshop, employing visual techniques described in some detail by the paper. Participants were asked to draw local resources by imagining they could view the area from a helicopter. The process of adopting visual techniques has resulted in a change in emphasis - as a result of findings, the integrated development programme has switched approaches with regard to issues facing women, and in terms of its goal setting mechanisms.
Listening to Local Voices: Adapting Rapid Appraisal to Assess Health and Social Needs in General Practice
This paper explores the use of rapid appraisal in defining the health and social needs of a community. The aim is to formulate joint action plans between residents and service providers. Data was collected by an extended primary care team from three sources to build a profile of the community: existing documents about the neighbourhood, interviews with a range of informants, and direct observations. Perceived problems of the community and suggestions for change were used as the main outcome measures of the study. Interviews and focus groups identified six priorities for change, many of which were not health related. These changes have been or are being implemented. The paper concludes that an expanded primary care team can use rapid appraisal as a first step in identifying and meeting local health needs. It facilitates a multi-disciplinary approach and complements quantitative methods of assessing need.
Systematic farmer involvement in agricultural research organisations in developing countries has been weak, and the impact of the introduction of farmer responsive research methods has been disappointing. More attention needs to be paid to political and institutional dimensions, in order to permanently alter the balance of power between research and its clients. Opportunities include participatory planning to involve farmers systematically in prioritising the research agenda and incorporating their needs. Strengthening and linking farmersÆ associations with research organisations enable clients to express demand, pressurise and work with research organisations.