Share resources and tools that you have found helpful

11 posts / 0 new
Last post
Share resources and tools that you have found helpful

If you’re not sure where to add something, this is a place to share resources, guides, websites, videos, etc that you have found useful in your participatory research work.Share resources and tools that you have found helpful.

  • If you’re not sure where to add something, this is a place to share resources, guides, websites, videos, etc that you have found useful in your participatory research work.

Share your thoughts, ideas, questions, stories, resources and tools below by adding a new comment to this thread or replying to existing comments.

"Research for Action"

New Tactics actually has a wonderful tactical notebook on participatory research called "Research for Action".  It details how the organization SEACON (Southeast Asian Council for Food Security and Fair Trade) used participatory research to find how trade liberalization was affecting local, small scale food producers in Southeast Asia.  They found that trade liberalization, while often positive on a macro-economic level, was actually destroying the business of many small-time producers and creating many difficulties at the local production level.  Using participatory research, SEACON was able to document evidence of this change and present it at the 2005 World Trade Organization conference in Hong Kong, as well as create a new ASEAN Food and Water Charter.  This project also had a very empowering effect on the communities that SEACON worked with.

In addition, the project made some really interesting findings, including how important the role women hold in agriculture is, when they are often overlooked in this area. 

Here is an excerpt from the tactical notebook:

"... the tactic of participatory research could be used by any human rights organizaton engaged in advocacy work.  It has important benefits for advocacy, bringing persuasive, credible information to bear on human rights issues.  It also empowers local communities, connecting victims of human rights violations to the information they need to become active defenders of their rights and to develop creative solutions to human rights challenges."

I strongly recommend taking a look at this tactical notebook (it's available here on the New Tactics website), as it describes the participatory research process that SEACON used in detail as well as the outcomes of the process.  It's a great way to learn from the experience of others.  I wish I had known about this project earlier, as it could have really helped me with my research on other projects!

A paper on participatory action research

I found this helpful 18-page paper on "Participatory Action Research: An outline of a concept" © Copyright Suzi Quixley 1999 & 2008 (revised). In the paper there are lots of good diagrams and definitions. The paper also includes references to many other great resources, such as the book Do It Yourself Social Research by Yoland Wadsworth. Enjoy!

Participatory Learning and Action Series

Participatory Learning and Action (PLA) is an informal journal dedicated entirely to PAR. The PLA archive already holds over 60 issues on methods, tools, case studies, issues surrounding PAR etc.

Other Alternative Evaluation Methodologies

Participatory action research tools are important foundational techniques that can be easily used in other evaluation methodologies as well. These are Most Significant Change (, Outcome Mapping (, and The Good Enough Guide (

You can read's latest blog post questioning the use of quantitative statistical information as the sole, authoritative source of knowledge in the international development sector at: (

Outcome Mapping & the Good Enough Guide for evaluation

Thank you HowMatters for sharing these great resources and Nancy for going more in-depth on the Most Significant Change technique. I wanted to mention the two other methods for monitoring and evaluating impact that were mentioned in the HowMatters blog post referrered to above - Outcome Mapping and the Good Enough Guide.

Outcome Mapping (conceived by Canada International Development Research Centre) - after a little bit of digging, I found a brochure on outcome mapping that explains what it is.

Outcome mapping is a new approach to planning international development work and measuring its results.

Evaluating the effects of a development project, program, or organization is seldom easy. The effort involves many actors, and gauging the influence of any one participant can be complicated. Furthermore, while everybody wants to see lasting improvements in a society’s well-being -- cleaner water, less poverty, a stronger economy, reduced conflict, and so on – an assessment of such changes in state is only one of several kinds of feedback that development professionals can use in order to learn about and improve their work.

Outcome mapping offers another option. The method focuses on measuring changes in the behaviour of the people with whom a development initiative works most closely. Outcome mapping limits its concern to those results – or “outcomes” – that fall strictly within the program’s sphere of influence. It considers only those activities where the program can claim it contributed to a direct effect.

For example, the evaluation of a water purification project will want to know whether the quality of the water has improved. The outcome mapping approach, however, will go a step further, and will also investigate whether the people maintaining that water system now possess and employ the skills, knowledge, tools, and other resources needed to keep the system running in the long term.

Outcome mapping works on the principle that development is essentially about people. It looks at how human beings relate to one another and to their environment. Most importantly, outcome mapping recognizes that development efforts will more likely be successful when they devolve continuing responsibility

This technique reminds me a lot of the New Tactics tactical mapping technique which helps in the planning and evalution of human rights actions/tactics/campaigns.  Both techniques focus on people, as opposed to ideas or issues.  As the brochure states - development, and human rights, is essentially about people.

The Good Enough Guide (published by Oxfam GB) - you can download all 120 pages of this guide in a PDF here. Here's a short description taken from the website:

What difference are we making? How do we know? The Good Enough Guide helps busy field workers to address these questions. It offers a set of basic guidelines on how to be accountable to local people and measure programme impact in emergency situations and contains a variety of tools on needs assessment and profiling. Its 'good enough' approach emphasises simple and practical solutions and encourages the user to choose tools that are safe, quick, and easy to implement.

This pocket guide presents some tried and tested methods for putting impact measurement and accountability into practice throughout the life of a project. It is aimed at humanitarian practitioners, project officers and managers with some experience in the field, and draws on the work of field staff, NGOs, and inter-agency initiatives, including Sphere, ALNAP, HAP International, and People In Aid.

And here's some of what is included in the guide:

Why and how to use the Good Enough Guide

  • Section 1 Involve people at every stage
  • Section 2 Profile the people affected by the emergency
  • Section 3 Identify the changes people want to see
  • Section 4 Track changes and make feedback a two-way process
  • Section 5 Use feedback to improve project impact
  • Section 6 Tools

Using the good enough tools
List of tools

  • Tool 1 How to introduce your agency: a need-to-know checklist
  • Tool 2 How accountable are you? Checking public information
  • Tool 3 How to involve people throughout the project
  • Tool 4 How to profile the affected community and assess initial needs
  • Tool 5 How to conduct an individual interview
  • Tool 6 How to conduct a focus group
  • Tool 7 How to decide whether to do a survey
  • Tool 8 How to assess child protection needs
  • Tool 9 How to observe
  • Tool 10 How to start using indicators
  • Tool 11 How to hold a lessons-learned meeting
  • Tool 12 How to set up a complaints and response mechanism
  • Tool 13 How to give a verbal report
  • Tool 14 How to say goodbye

If you're still trying to come up with a good way to measure the impact of participatory action research project (or other kinds of projects) these resources would be good places to start! Thanks again, HowMatters for sharing this in your blog post 161 Indicators. And then what?

Importance of cross-cultural understandings

I first learned of this resource for stewards of traditional ecological knowledge during my time with the American Association for the Advancement of Science. This might be more appropriate for New Tactic's upcoming dialogue on intellectual property rights, but I mention it here because although it is a good resource for local peoples and practitioners, it highlights the question of how to ensure that such resources are made more widely available for those whose native language is not English (or Spanish). Equally important, any such resource that is translated from its original language to another must be checked at least twice, to ensure that meaning has been preserved. Typically, that requires a translation and then back-translation, in addition to interviews with individuals who might be bilingual, but whose native language is the one into which the resource will be translated.

~Michael Kisielewski, StatAid

Guidelines on Ethical Participatory Research

The International Community of Women living with HIV/AIDS has created a very useful resource helping organizations assess and be aware of ethical issues in participatory research. They have developed a guide titled Guidelines on Ethical Participatory Research with HIV Positive Women. The questions and rubrics used in the guide can be easily applied/adapted for other types of groups.

This resource includes:

  • a checklist to measure the effectiveness of a particular PAR

  • rubrics to measure the inclusiveness of various research methods

  • accountability and transparency of research findings
Ethical Approaches to Gathering Information from Children

You may also find useful this Ethical Approaches to Gathering Information from Children and Adolescents in International Settings: Guidelines & Resources.

Gender-sensitive PAR

Dear all,

I came across the Program on Participatory Research and Gender Analysis - and their resource section contains a whole range of publications and guidelines on PAR. One publication, that I found particularly useful and thought could be applied to a number of PAR projects was the following report - "Demand Analysis - Gender-Responsive Participatory Research." The report contains reflections on the research by different stakeholders, recommendations on how to conduct gender-sensitive research, as well as surveys that the group distributed. 

I'm excited about the

I'm excited about the potential of the new crisis mapping platforms to go beyond crises.  I just hosted an Ushahidi training session for my (very international) undergraduate class at Bard, and the students were immediately bubbling with ideas about how it could be applied to chronic problems ranging from public health issues to environmental concerns.  With the SMS component, it conceivably becomes accessible for vast populations in the south, provided that it can find the right hybrid technologies and institutional support.

Topic locked