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  • TIDI Research Methodologies Module

    Rural Research Exploring whose reality?

    Dr Fiona Meehan, 11 Nov 2009

  • Drawing on research conducted in Tigray, northern Ethiopia

  • Focus this session..Brief introduction to research conducted, incl. purpose, approach and methodology

    Lessons learnt/issues arising from the research process

    Participatory identification/discussion of challenges in planning and conducting field research

  • Research origins and purposeResearch issueGaps in information and understanding about Impact of development interventions, whats changing at household level

    In aiming to reduce poverty, what works, what doesnt work and why

  • Dual purpose research:

    To assess the existing level of food security in REST operational areas (baseline study)

    To develop a greater understanding of what was happening at household level by exploring inter households differentials, with a particular focus on female headed households. (PhD)

  • Thesis objectivesDevelop representative profiles of rural household livelihoods in Tigray, differentiating female headed from other households and identifying locality related differentials. Identify and analyse significant factors in household livelihood outcomes and outcome differentials.Assess livelihood outcomes in relation to household poverty levels and livelihood vulnerability.Examine the local level institutional arrangements that influence rural livelihoods in the study area. Develop a set of proposals for promoting sustainable growth in smallholder livelihoods, which can reach and include the poorest rural households.

  • Research methodologyHousehold survey, questionnaire survey - 90 hhs x 20 administrative districts, 1,800 hhs in total - analysed using SPSS Focus group discussions, male and female farmersInterviews - local administration, womens associations, bureausCase study one administrative district

  • Issues arising from the research processHow genuinely objective can any socio-economic research be? Every researcher has conscious and unconscious world views, values and assumptions which shape their study and influence the data collection and analysis process

  • Particular challenges in exploring other peoples realities might incl.

    Our own conscious and unconscious assumptionsAssumptions, skills and interests of others involved in the research process, including field research assistants, interviewersLack of a common language, including differences in understanding of concepts and terminology as well as dependence on language interpretation Diversity within as well as between cultures in the research area

  • Whose is the real reality? Whose answer counts?Different and even conflicting perceptions of what appear to be the same situation or issue reflect equally valid realities, some of the most interesting insights and realisations emerge from recognising and exploring these differences

  • Issues around methodologyWhich comes first, the research question/s or the methodology?Should the research issues and questions determine the methodology or does the methodology shape the study?

  • Either/or? Continuum? QuantitativeQualitative Top down Participatory Blueprint Process

  • Rationale for mixed method..Range and depth of informationQuantitative without qualitative can tell you what people do, what they think, but rarely will it tell you whyTriangulation of results qualitative exploration can be crucial in minimising mistakes in interpretation of resultsQualitative can be informed and complemented by quantitative