Quantitative methods

Advocacy campaigns often require justification through ‘rigorous’ quantitative information on large numbers of people. Quantitative methods as they are commonly conceived derive from experimental and statistical methods in natural science.

The main concern is with rigorous objective measurement in order to determine the truth or falsehood of particular pre-determined hypotheses.

  • the main focus is on measuring ‘how much is happening to how many people’.
  • the main tools are large scale surveys analysed using statistical techniques. Quantitative measurable indicators relevant to the pre-determined hypotheses are identified and combined into questionnaires.
  • questionnaires are then conducted for a random sample or stratified random sample of individuals, often including a control group.
  • causality is assessed through comparison of the incidence of the variables under consideration between main sample and control group and/or the degree to which they co-occur.
  • in large-scale research projects teams are composed of a number of skilled research designers and analysts assisted by teams of local enumerators.

Use of quantitative methods on their own have a tendency to reduce complex issues, including gender issues, to simplistic indicators chosen for ease of measurement, but which may not be the most important or relevant in planning for change.

Empowering Enquiry in Quantitative Research

All research and impact assessment methodologies, including statistical surveys, informal interviews as well as participatory methods, can be more empowering for those giving their valuable time to answering questions.

Empowering Enquiry provides simple guidelines that can underpin any methodology.

  1. Stakeholder participation
  • ensure inclusion and informed participation of the most vulnerable stakeholders
  • include these stakeholders in those stages in research where participation can be most directly empowering to them. Participation may be more important at the design, analysis and dissemination stages than the actual collection of information itself.

2) Design of questionnaires, interviews and participatory meetings to contribute to increasing people’s understanding of their situation and ways forward as well extracting information without necessarily increasing their length. Questions can be sequenced to:

  • start by clarifying the vision people have
  • celebrate what they have already achieved
  • identify challenges to further progress
  • identify clear concrete strategies for moving further along the road to their vision.

3) The research process itself aims to contribute to an ongoing multi-stakeholder learning process through:

•  building up capacities and structures for ongoing representation of poor women and men and other vulnerable people in the policy making process.

•  facilitating direct interaction between powerful stakeholders and poor people in order to break down the barriers of complacency, misinformation and prejudice which are in themselves key causes of gender inequality and poverty.

For more details see the Empowering Enquiry Toolkit:

What is Empowering Enquiry?

1: What do we want to know? Selecting Indicators
2: Whom do we ask? Sampling
3: How do we find out? Collecting Information
4:What Do We Do with it? Documentation and dissemination

Gender inequalities raise particular challenges for all types of research: participatory, quantitative and qualitative. See:

Intra-household Impact Assessment 2005

For easily accessible overviews of the strengths and pitfalls of different statistical techniques see the website for Statsoft For access to many further resources see the quantitative methods, statistics and quantitative database sections on the MathsZone and LearnStatistics.com websites.

Qualitative Methods

Qualitative methods have their origins in the humanities: sociology, anthropology, geography and history. They aim to obtain a holistic understanding of complex realities and processes where questions and hypotheses emerge cumulatively as the investigation progresses.

Qualitative methods:

  • typically focus on compiling a selection of microlevel Case Studies using a combination of informal interviews, participant observation and more recently visual media like photography.
  • questions are broad and open-ended, changing and developing over time to fill in a ‘jigsaw’ of differing accounts of ‘reality’, identifying which may be said to be generally ‘true’ and which are specific and subjective and why.
  • different sampling methods are combined: different purposive sampling techniques, identification of key informants and also ‘random encounters’.
  • causality and attribution are directly investigated through questionning as well as qualitative analysis of data. Computer programmes are used to deal systematically with large amounts of data.
  • in-depth qualitative research requires a skilled researcher in the field who engages in a reflexive process of data collection and analysis over a period of time.

Good qualitative research can reveal very powerful messages and illustrative cases which can be used in advocacy campaigns.

Gender issues, and particularly concepts like empowerment and sensitive issues like violence are often seen as best researched using qualitative methods. However this has often led to gender issues being marginalised and relegated to superficial anecdotes rather than fully integrated into ‘mainstream’ research.

For more discussion of qualitative methods see:

Qualitative Methods

The Forum for Qualitative Research website brings together resources and debates on qualitative methods in English and other European languages.

 

Participatory Methods

For more discussion of using participatory methods as the basis for advocacy and other research see:

Participatory methods have their origins in development activism: NGOs and social movements. The main aim is not only knowledge per se, but social change and empowerment wherever possible as a direct result of the research process itself. In particular it seeks to investigate and give voice to those groups in society who are most vulnerable and marginalised in development decision-making and implementation.

The participatory process may involve small focus groups, larger participatory workshops or individual diaries and diagrams which are then collated into a plenary discussion. Participatory research typically uses and adapts diagram tools from farmer-led research, systems analysis and also oral and visual tools from anthropology as well as tools developed by NGOs and participants in the field. In some cases (eg GALS) local people themselves conduct research following initial design of specific tools and training. There has recently been an interest in the use of participatory photography, video and theatre as a means of exploring and disseminated advocacy messages.

At the same time participation also has potential costs as well as benefits for all concerned. Participatory methods are often used badly – failing to collect reliable information and dominated by existing vested interests. In relation to gender there are specific challenges in:

  • going beyond stereotypes
  • opening spaces for women and men to discuss sensitive and potentially conflictual gender issues
  • giving spaces for both women and men from different backgrounds to discuss separately and together
  • negotiating conflicts of interest in analysis

 

Empowering Enquiry

Advocacy campaigns often need to base themselves on research in order to convince policy makers as well as raise awareness in the affected populations. The best way of collecting this information is generally through well-designed participatory processes and rigorous use of participatory tools.

At the same time the sheer numbers of people involved in order to give sufficient weight to advocacy campaigns create a range of differing perspectives and potential conflicts of interest. This means that research requires both in depth qualitative understanding of differing perspectives in order to avoid simplistic stereotyping and rigorous quantification and analysis in order to minimise domination by vocal vested interests.

Empowering enquiry uses an integrated methodology that builds on the complementarities between participatory, qualitative and quantitative methods in order to build on strengths, crosscheck and triangulate the information which is most crucial for addressing the particular research questions concerned and also try to disseminate information in different ways for different audiences in order to ensure, as far as possible, benefits for outcomes for participants.

Participatory Framework

Participatory methods  play a central role at all stages from conception, through piloting and refinement to the research proper and then finally dissemination. Using participatory methods as the ‘first port of call’, has many advantages in terms of rapidity and reliability of collecting many types of qualitative as well as quantitative information, manageability in terms of time and resources and also its potential for contributing to the development process. They are also generally an essential component of research dissemination to those participating in the research, a stage which is commonly ignored and omitted, but essential for accountability and implementation of advocacy goals.

Although any one single research process cannot resolve all the tensions and trade-offs inherent in gender transformation, participatory methods can make a contribution as part of an ongoing multi-stakeholder learning process to:

•  building up capacities and structures for ongoing representation of poor women and men and other vulnerable people in the policy making process.

•  facilitating direct interaction between powerful stakeholders and poor people in order to break down the barriers of complacency, misinformation and prejudice which are in themselves key causes of poverty.

For more discussion of using participatory methods as the basis for advocacy and other research see:

Principles of Empowering Enquiry

All research and impact assessment methodologies, including statistical surveys, informal interviews as well as participatory methods, can be more empowering for those giving their valuable time to answering questions.

Empowering Enquiry provides simple guidelines that can underpin any methodology.

  1. Stakeholder participation
  • ensure inclusion and informed participation of the most vulnerable stakeholders
  • include these stakeholders in those stages in research where participation can be most directly empowering to them. Participation may be more important at the design, analysis and dissemination stages than the actual collection of information itself.

2) Design of questionnaires, interviews and participatory meetings to contribute to increasing people’s understanding of their situation and ways forward as well extracting information without necessarily increasing their length. Questions can be sequenced to:

  • start by clarifying the vision people have
  • celebrate what they have already achieved
  • identify challenges to further progress
  • identify clear concrete strategies for moving further along the road to their vision.

3) The research process itself aims to contribute to an ongoing multi-stakeholder learning process through:

•  building up capacities and structures for ongoing representation of poor women and men and other vulnerable people in the policy making process.

•  facilitating direct interaction between powerful stakeholders and poor people in order to break down the barriers of complacency, misinformation and prejudice which are in themselves key causes of gender inequality and poverty.

For more details see the Empowering Enquiry Toolkit:

What is Empowering Enquiry?

1: What do we want to know? Selecting Indicators
2: Whom do we ask? Sampling
3: How do we find out? Collecting Information
4:What Do We Do with it? Documentation and dissemination

Gender inequalities raise particular challenges for all types of research: participatory, quantitative and qualitative. See:

Intra-household Impact Assessment 2005

 

PALS Toolkit: SNV Ethiopia

PALS Toolkit December 2017 produced for SNV Gender and Youth Empowerment in horticulture Markets (GYEM) project 2016-2018 funded by Comic Relief.

Overview Guides

PALS in GYEM Overview
Fun with a Serious Purpose: Facilitation Guide

Catalyst Toolkit

Champions from Timret November 2016 show their favourite catalyst tool.

Tool 1 Soulmate Visioning
Tool 2 Vision Journey
Tool 3 Change Leadership Map
Tool 4 Happy Family Tree

Livelihood Strengthening

Champions from Meki Batu show their Livelihood Management Calendars.

Tool 5 Challenge Action Tree
Tool 6 Livelihood Management Calendar

For reports including details of how facilitation was actually done in practice see: https://palsethiopia.wordpress.com/pals-reports/

For on the GYEM project see: https://palsethiopia.wordpress.com

Happy Family Happy Coffee

This Happy Family Happy Coffee Toolkit presents an integrated curriculum using the GALS (Gender Action Learning for Sustainability) methodology as a participatory framework of proven tools and facilitation techniques through which the technical content of Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) can be delivered. It has so far been used and developed in:

Click here for:

Happy Family Happy Coffee Indonesia Powerpoint

Happy Family Happy Coffee Indonesia pdf from Powerpoint

What is the ‘Happy Family Happy Coffee’ Toolkit?

The Toolkit contains resources to implement a practical training methodology that:

  • Delivers technical training on Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) on coffee production
  • Empowers women, youth and men farmers to implement and fully benefit from GAPs
  • Improves relationships and trust between farmers, companies, traders and service providers

Through:

  • using the diagram tools and participatory facilitation techniques of Gender Action Learning for Sustainability (GALS) methodology

The curriculum can be used and adapted by staff in coffee companies, cooperatives and service organisations and in training of promoter farmers to:

  • improve relationships with farmers through increasing understanding of their needs and trust
  • enable more cost-effective targeting and better focus, understanding and implementation of technical trainings
  • improve planning in farm households to promote self-reliance and increase their benefits from coffee
  • promote inclusion and empowerment of women and youth in quality coffee production ie the key workers in the sector for the future.

Why integrated curriculum of GALS and GAPs?

Coffee companies, cooperatives and service organisations have been delivering technical trainings in Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) now for many years – often to the same farmers – in order to obtain supply of the qualities and quantity of coffee that is appropriate for their particular markets. However experience has shown that on both quality and quantity the impacts of such trainings has often been lower than anticipated or justified by the costs.

The reasons for this are complex but include:

  • market price fluctuation leading to uncertainty of rewards to farmers of the production changes they are required to make and the efforts and costs involved in improving quality compared to existing coffee techniques
  • farmer dependence on/demand for inputs of equipment and eg chemicals and seedlings because they have no savings or financial planning skills
  • farmer short-term needs for cash leading to sideselling on the informal market to pay for eg health treatment and school fees
  • lengthy curricula that contain a lot of standard information that farmers either already know (often better than the trainer) and/or is not applicable to their specific needs. Leading to low attendance in any training that does not deliver immediate material incentives
  • curricula that are too complicated for farmers to understand – even pictures are often unclear – and delivered in a boring lecturing style apart from practicals on demo plots
    competition from other crops that are, or appear to be, more profitable than coffee.

Key in the above are also gender and generational inequalities within farming households that mean that the women and youth who often do the most of the work fail to see any benefits because they do not control the land or income from coffee. In coffee production in Uganda and Tanzania, research has shown that unequal land ownership and division of labour are key causes of poor coffee quality and productivity. Women do at least 70% of the work. However because men own the coffee land and trees, they also control the income. They use much of the income for alcohol and women in town – an estimated 70% men in Western Rwenzoris and Kilimanjaro were doing this according to research with men themselves. Women have to ‘steal’ coffee to pay for school fees and food for their children. The rush for each person to get the coffee before the other leads to selling of unripe and bad quality coffee. Attempts by coffee traders to improve coffee quality have very limited success. Even if men get training, they leave the work to their wives. Women and youth prefer to divert their labour and money to crops where they can control more of the income.

Happy Family Happy Coffee Curriculum: Key Features

The Happy Family Happy Coffee curriculum consists of six 2-3 hour planning sessions ideally delivered before the coffee season starts in order to provide the basis for other practical GAPs sessions as required.

The overarching planning framework is:

Happy Family Happy Coffee Vision Calendar: this framework diagram places the coffee activities calendar that is normally part of GAPs in the context of progress towards a happy family happy coffee vision from the current state of production. It combines activity planning together with incomes and cash flows from coffee and other economic activities so that farmers can plan in advance how they and others in their households can meet the work demands and costs for coffee production. Gender and youth issues are mainstreamed together with discussion of environmental opportunities and challenges. This uses a pre-printed A3 sheet for a wall calendar and is the main training material given to farmers. It is given to farmers after they have completed Tool 4 to and progressively added to as part of the technical GAPs sessions.

The curriculum of five other tools is delivered in the following order to build up this framework:

Tool 1: Happy Coffee Visioning: places coffee in the context of a wider vision for happiness and success in the family and community increases commitment to good quality coffee. It introduces discussion of what is meant by coffee quality, environmental issues and relationships in the household.

Tool 2: Happy Family Vision Journey : teaches basic planning skills and places coffee even more firmly as a significant contribution to family development towards a vision.

Tool 3: Increasing Coffee Incomes Challenge Action Tree: looks at the production (GAPs and environmental), marketing (including relationships with companies) and household (gender, youth, child labour, health and safety) challenges to increasing farmer incomes from coffee. It then asks farmers to identify what they see as solutions that they can implement themselves and make 10 change commitments. This enables companies to assess what farmers already know and can share with each other. This enables service providers to see where they need to add and/or correct information to make trainings much more cost-effective and focussed on what farmers really need to know. The same Challenge Action Tree tool is then used to frame each practical technical GAPs session to look in more detail at eg canopyy management etc.

Tool 4: Gender and Youth Family Balance Tree: looks in more detail at the middle household part of the Challenge Action Tree to analyse how division of labour within the household can be made more equitable and efficient, and how ownership, decision-making and expenditure can better reward those doing the work. This leads to increased cooperation and transparency between women and men and youth and older people in the household and reduction in wasteful expenditures, reducing for example the need for side selling.

Tool 5:_Change Leadership Map : identifies existing social networks through which GALS/GAPs messages can be delivered on a voluntary basis to disseminate both planning skills and technical information. This makes the job of company staff and promoter farmers easier.

These tools are reinforced by songs written by farmers.

Once the basic GALS skills have been established, the same GALS diagram tools can also be integrated in the same or subsequent years with more advanced business, environmental management and governance trainings, mainstreaming gender and youth, to increase their effectiveness and accessibility to different types of farmer.

The Curriculum uses fewer printed materials than most existing trainings the A3 Vision Calendar and a few selected advanced technical note sheets as required following the technical trainings. Each session includes participatory group discussion and individual drawing and writing in farmers’ own notebooks – these can be either subsidised as part of company branding or bought by farmers themselves as is the normal practice in GALS. Farmers continually review and track their own progress as a process of reflexive learning based on their own planning needs to feed into monitoring and evaluation systems for implementation of GAPs and also economic and social impact assessment.

The curriculum can be used and adapted by staff in coffee companies, cooperatives and service organisations and in training of promoter farmers to:

  • improve relationships with farmers through increasing understanding of their needs and trust
  • enable more cost-effective targeting and better focus, understanding and implementation of technical trainings
  • improve planning in farm households to promote self-reliance, reduce distress selling and increase their benefits from coffee
  • promote inclusion and empowerment of women and youth in quality coffee production ie the key workers and potential investors in the sector for the future.

 

Toolkit Contents

Indonesia HFHC overview

Indonesia HFHC Facilitation Guide

Indonesia HFHC Tool 1 Visioning

Indonesia HFHC Tool2 Vision Journey

Indonesia HFHC Tool 3 Increasing Coffee Incomes Challenge Action Tree

Indonesia HFHC Tool 4 Happy Family Tree

Indonesia HFHC Tool 5 Change Leadership Map 

Indonesia HFHC Tool 6 Multilane Vision Plan

Pictures from the ICC staff training

For further photos (high resolution) see:

http://www.zemniimages.com/Gender-Action-Learning/Indonesia

Facilitation Process

In PALS, the best facilitation is ‘from the back’ where the facilitator empowers participants to express themselves. PALS facilitation skills are very different from those taught in many other ‘facilitation’ trainings, but the approach leads to more effective and sustainable change outcomes. Through encouraging participants to speak and asking a few pointed questions, good facilitation manages to arrive at a point where most of the important issues come from participants themselves. Participants are then in turn able to facilitate similar activities without external support when they go back home.

This requires practice and experience – and often a leap of faith to let things take their course – and is hard even for those trained in many other participatory awareness-raising and training techniques. It also requires intense observation of the participatory process, and use of some key techniques to increase participation

    • Pairwise discussion:start each session/day with a participatory pairwise recapitulation of the previous session, or questions on perceptions and expectations of the meeting while others are arriving.
    • Start from the back or with minority participants in all feedback (e.g. men first if they are poor and fewer in number) to show respect for those who are likely to be less confident and to promote inclusion.

Group microphone

     introduce some sort of tool such as a stick or a banana to represent a microphone. It is only the person holding this tool who is allowed to talk.

  • Applause and respect for everyone at all times through a culturally relevant show of appreciation following each presentation.
  • No political correctness No one should feel they cannot ask questions or say things which they feel – provided this is done in a real spirit of wanting to understand and does not undermine the free expression of others.
  • Make sure everyone has contributed: at the end of each stage anyone who has not spoken or drawn on the diagram must be given the ‘microphone’ or pen and encouraged to comment/draw on the diagram.

Songs And Dance

PALS participants develop new participatory songs and dances.Songs and drama are used to subvert existing cultural stereotypes, explore changes and experiment with different, new ways of doing things in future. As well as being enjoyable energisers, songs and dances reinforce gender messages and are a fun way of disseminating the methodology. The aim is that men and women should go away humming a Gender Balance Song, singing it in the shower or while working. In Vuasu they are registering their song themes as mobile phone ring tones.

Most sessions start and/or end with some culturally appropriate event such as a song or a dance which reinforces the basic philosophy and gender justice principles of the particular tool or issue that is the subject of that particular meeting. The aim is not a polished performance to raise awareness, but to directly engage participants in identifying and rehearsing changes. There are no professional actors or singers, no one leads and everyone participates.

Participatory Drama

Community theatre is commonly used as a means of gender awareness-raising. Role plays are also part of most gender capacity building and workshops. However, there are a range of interesting innovations in participatory drama which could be more fully incorporated for:

  • Capacity-building workshops
  • Multistakeholder negotiation
  • Monitoring and Evaluation and Impact Assessment
  • Dissemination

The aim of participatory drama is not polished theatre, but to directly engage participants in identifying and rehearsing changes, and new ways in which women and men can relate to each other, and new ways of addressing inequality.

EVERYONE CAN BE AN ACTOR AND HAVE FUN WITH CHANGE.

Journeys

The underlying framework for all GALS processes is the ‘Road Journey’ or ‘Road Map’ change planning tool. This is of two basic types that can be combined or done separately:

  • Vision Journeys look to the future. This is generally the first Vision Journey to inspire with change to the future.
  • Achievement Journeys assess lessons from the past. This is generally used as part of a later review where it is combined with planning the next vision journey to the future.

The basic Journey framework can be adapted to any issue.

Common steps:
  1. Vision or dream: what is the underlying longer-term purpose of the journey?
  2. Baseline: current and/or past situation and joining the circles with the road.
  3. SWOT: Opportunities (10+ top of the road) and Challenges (full risk analysis bottom of the road). Things more controllable (strengths and weaknesses) go closer to the road. Things that cannot be controlled go further from the road. Finally identification of new opportunities so that opportunities still are more than risks. Or possibly abort plan.
  4. Milestones: Vision Journeys have medium term future target should be motivating, then 2-4 milestones the first of which should be after 1 month so that action starts immediately. Achievement Journey has past milestones.
  5. Actions to go from target to target.
  6. Journeys are tracked over time to assess progress, and also reasons for progress or lack of it.
Key considerations in design/adaptation:

a) whose journey is it? individual? household? collective? organisational?

b) what is the question/purpose/vision? how to be clear so things do not become too broad to be useful as a plan?

c) how many lanes? is it a simple vision journey or a multilane highway?

d) when should the milestones and targets be? Should these be decided by the participant? Or is there a specific organisational/project framework eg loan cycle that has to be accommodated? Is it a calendar with monthly targets?

Types of vision journey 

Vision Journeys

The first Vision Journey (individual) is a simple one-lane plan to achieve one or more elements of a bigger vision.

Livelihood Vision Calendars

A business plan with month by month breakdown of inputs and outputs.
How to Do It : Coffee Vision Calendar

  • Leadership Vision Journey

    A plan to become a leader (tool forthcoming)

  • Organisational Multilane Vision Journey

    This is a core GALS monitoring tool. It combines targets and plans on the core intervention targets (eg livelihoods, coffee production, health), gender balance and leadership on one diagram that is tracked over time.
    How to Do It : Multilane Vision Journey for coffeeRoad Journeys are progressively refined using other types of diagram tools that are adapted and sequenced in specific ways, depending on the nature of the issue and process. Each of these diagram tools can also be used individually and adapted in many different ways for analysis, planning and tracking.

  • For video examples see:

    Songs

 

Dinna’s Story, Tanzania
Dinna’s Story

Dinna’s Journey

Dinna’s Leadership Vision

Masika Elizabeth’s Multilane Highway, Uganda

 

Hawa’s Coffee Calendar

Overall Monitoring Framework

Top Lane: Vision Journey

Middle Lane: Gender Balance Tree

Bottom Lane Empowerment Leadership Map

Organisational Planning

 Organisational Vision Journey, Kabarole Resource Centre, Uganda