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Field Research methodologies_ Dr. M Shah Alam Khan

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  • 1. Water Security in Peri-urban South Asia Adapting to Climate Change and Urbanization Inception Workshop Field Research Methodologies M. Shah Alam Khan Hotel Radisson, Kathmandu, Nepal 16 - 20 August 2010
  • 2. Field Research Field research is not simply gathering ‘facts’ from the field. It is accompanied by a priori understanding of the processes to be studied. Social methods - Quantitative (Sampling & Questionnaire survey) - Qualitative (PRA, Stakeholder analysis) Bio-physical/Hydro-ecological methods Need to select (a range of) tools to answer the research question(s).
  • 3. Field Research Analysis of natural and social (and political and other) processes in an integrated way. Example: How the hydrologic cycle affects and is affected by social processes. Need to Organize: - What are the ‘research questions’? - Which ‘tools’ are appropriate in the investigation? - How are we going use the ‘tools’?
  • 4. Participatory Approach in Field Research Basic Questions: - What is ‘participation’? - What is people’s knowledge? - Whose research?
  • 5. Participatory Approach in Field Research People’s Knowledge and Participatory Research Learning what the local people think and know is the foundation for collaborating with them as colleagues. Local knowledge should neither be romanticized nor be looked down upon. Learning the local knowledge of any topic takes some time, but is important.
  • 6. Participatory Approach in Field Research People’s Indigenous Knowledge Indigenous knowledge systems are concrete, practical, utilitarian, broad, detailed, comprehensive, and usually sustainable. They are based on empirical observation, trial and error, and controlled experimentation over centuries.
  • 7. Participatory Approach in Field Research Indigenous Knowledge and Scientific Knowledge Indigenous knowledge has been regarded as “backward and irrational” by researchers who rely only on ‘science’- based knowledge. However, the fact that ‘scientists’ are unaware of the scientific value, principle, or explanation for a practice does not mean that the said practices or knowledge do not work well for farmers nor that they lack a scientific basis.
  • 8. Participatory Approach in Field Research Principles of Participatory Research Defined methodology and systematic learning process. Multiple perspectives. Group learning process. Context specific. Facilitating experts and stakeholders. Leading to change.
  • 9. Participatory Approach in Field Research Features of Participatory Research Community participates actively in the entire participatory research process. Research is conducted in and with the community. The ‘researcher’ is an investigator, colleague, adviser, and a facilitator. Research is based on a systems perspective. Promotes innovative methodologies and flexibility. Develops appropriate technology to meet the needs of the community. Requires interdisciplinary collaboration among ‘researchers’ and community.
  • 10. Participatory Approach in Field Research Gender and Participation Gender is a culturally specific set of characteristics that identifies the social behavior of women and men and the relationship among them. Gender refers to social differences, as opposed to biological ones, between women and men that have been learned, are changeable over time, and vary widely both within and between cultures.
  • 11. Participatory Approach in Field Research Gender Analysis Gender analysis is the systematic examination of the roles, relationships and processes between women and men in all societies, focusing on imbalances in (decision-making) power, wealth and workload. Gender analysis can also include the examination of the multiple ways in which women and men, as social actors, engage in strategies to transform existing roles, relationships and processes in their own interest and in the interest of others. Gender analysis is cross-cut by other axes of social differentiation including class, caste, ethnicity and age.
  • 12. Participatory Approach in Field Research Gender Equality and Participation in Research Gender Equality: Equal valuing by society of the situation and differences of women and men and the roles they play. Gender Mainstreaming: Assessing the implication of any planned action for women and men (Gender perspective), Formulating legislation, policies or programs. Equal Involvement of women and men, boys and girls, is essential in participatory research to understand the local context since they have different perceptions of reality due to differentiated tasks, roles and constraints.
  • 13. Points to Ponder Value of indigenous knowledge Participatory approach Interdisciplinarity
  • 14. Disciplinarities Multi-disciplinarity Cross-disciplinarity Interdisciplinarity Transdisciplinarity … … …
  • 15. Meshing of disciplinarities Disciplinarity “with its own theories, methods and content …with its distinctiveness being recognized institutionally largely discrete and autonomous, although not homogeneous fails to reflect the changing context Multi-disciplinarity Co-existence of multiple, discrete disciplines individual discipline-based researchers (or teams) do their best, within their disciplinary confines, to examine an issue and subsequently collaborate to develop together an overall analytical synthesis and conclusions.
  • 16. Meshing of disciplinarities Cross-disciplinarity One discipline ‘peering’ into another a topic normally outside a field of study is investigated with no cooperation from others in the area of study concerned (e.g. physics of music or the politics of literature) Musicians don’t necessarily learn any physics and physicists do not necessarily learn much about music. Interdisciplinarity “integration” of knowledge and methods from different disciplines rather than co-existence Jointly/ in integrated manner address things attempts a deep integration of two or more disciplinary approaches from the beginning and throughout an entire research exercise.
  • 17. Meshing of disciplinarities Transdisciplinarity one extreme view of interdisciplinarity Dissolving academic borders, and complete integration of two or more disciplines with the possibility of forming a new discipline unclear to what extent traditional disciplines would survive; against gains won in terms of the basic research productivity of individual disciplines. Based on - "knowledge cannot be singularly claimed as belonging to or originating in any one discipline".
  • 18. Socio-technical vs. Sociotechnical “Interdisciplinarity in an Individual”
  • 19. Quantitative Methods/Tools
  • 20. Sampling • Non-probability sampling • Probability sampling • Sample size
  • 21. Key Sampling Concepts (element, sampling unit, sampling frame)
  • 22. Questionnaire Survey Measurement of variables - Structured vs. non-structured questionnaire - Open-ended and closed-ended questions - Measurement scales Construction of questionnaire Length Content Wording Ordering Pre-testing Administration of questionnaire Self administration Interview Telephone
  • 23. PRA Participatory Rapid Appraisal Participatory Rural Appraisal
  • 24. A family of approaches and methods to enable rural people to share, enhance, and analyze their knowledge of life and conditions, to plan and to act. (Robert Chambers, 2002).
  • 25. PRA is used for: • Needs assessment • Feasibility studies • Identification of priorities for dev. activities • Monitoring and evaluation
  • 26. PRA Tools Timeline • This tool is used to trace history of the village area. • It is usually an oral exercise, recalling important events/incidents, time gaps. Purpose • To get an overview of the history of the village. • To initiate thinking process in the villagers. • It can act as a guide to identify and analyse social and natural changes in the village.
  • 27. Social mapping mapping of social situation of a village – habitation pattern, institutions, socio-economic characteristics, e.g., literacy, land-holding, livestock-holding, occupation, health status of the families. Purpose: - help the villagers understand social (geographically) arrangement in the village. - it serves as baseline data on socio-economic conditions
  • 28. Resource mapping A map to depict resources of the entire village area; mostly natural resources Purpose • To show different resources in the village related to livelihoods. • To list all the resources and visualize them. • To understand the uses and importance. • To serve as a basis for the transect walk.
  • 29. Transect walk • A walk by the facilitators along with few villagers around the area on a predetermined path that representatively covers all types of resources of the village. • This walk is to look at and physically judge the state of resources. • The team focuses on soil, water, forest, and agriculture.
  • 30. Purpose: to increase understanding of the community about various natural resources available in and around the village. • To create awareness about local resources and their use in livelihoods. • To initiate discussion about resources.
  • 31. Event analysis Event analysis is one of the important tools of participatory research. It is often called ‘significant event analysis (SEA)’. SEA is a way of sharing stories in a systematic way for service improvement.
  • 32. Principles: • Inclusive/involving the whole team • Holding regular meetings to discuss events • Focus on system improvement rather than the individual.
  • 33. Approaches: • Using stories • Using comments, compliments and feedback • Qualitative in-depth interviews
  • 34. FGD • Focus Group Discussion (FGD) is a social research method to gather qualitative information from a homogenous group to address particular issues.
  • 35. FGD is used to extract people’s sensitivities/feelings, attitudes, perceptions, reactions and emotions about issues, which are untouched in survey method.
  • 36. Characteristics of FGD • No specific questionnaire but a guideline is used in FGD; • No quantitative but qualitative data can be collected through FGD; • Homogenous group of people are the participants in FGD; • Not large but a small number (10-12) participants; • Identified group of people;
  • 37. • Participants having same characteristics; • Facilitation for interaction and discussion among the participants; • FGD is a semi-structured group discussion; • FGD is for collecting data related to specific objectives; • It is a method for discussion not interview.
  • 38. Interviewing Interviewing is an art, although there are guidelines.
  • 39. • Interview is both a research method and technique. • Ranging from sociologists and psychologists to educational research workers, and from political scientists and economists to oral historians, students of oral literature use ‘interview’ as a method.
  • 40. • Interviewing is a highly skilled practice. Some people make better interviewers than others by virtue of greater natural sensitivity, tact, patience, or other personal qualities.
  • 41. Other participatory tools • Matrix ranking • Pair-wise ranking • Institutional mapping • Mobility mapping • Cause-and-effect diagram • … …

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