Picture of Dr. Rajesh Tandon
by Dr. Rajesh Tandon - Tuesday, 26 August 2014, 5:08 PM
Dear Learners I am happy to join you all in this forum. I recall fondly the enthusiasm for participatory research in Bangladesh when we started networking in 1978; particular interest was amongst those working in issues of land rights and primary health care. I am wondering if the themes of participatory research are seen to be relevant to the context of Bangladesh today? How do you assess the relevance of this methodology in the contemporary Bangladesh? Are many scholars and practitioners using it today? In what settings and on what issues you think this methodology may be particularly appropriate? I look forward to a conversation with you all. Welcome! Rajesh
Picture of Md. Nazmul Haque Sardar
Re: Relevance?
by Md. Nazmul Haque Sardar - Wednesday, 27 August 2014, 3:33 PM

Dear Sir,


We are really happy to have you in the forum.

I am not sure whether you will be pleased or not going through my response regarding your mentioned questions/issues. Just I am sharing my experience [for giving the response] that I have gained for last 8 years in the development sector.

Now a day, Participatory research is very much relevant to the context of Bangladesh. The problem is that most of the organizations have been implementing different projects/program according to the guideline of donor. Mostly these includes, baseline, midterm and end line evaluation/study. Now a days, operational research incorporates in various projects/program. All these evaluation/study are not always participatory but participatory methodologies are carried out in some cases. Many scholars both from Bangladesh and abroad are collecting money to conduct evaluation/study through/following participatory methodologies but most of the cases these are their personal benefits namely: their study purpose, as part of their courses etc. As I am working on Health & Nutrition sector and we are conducting participatory research here, therefore, I could say this is appropriate for Health rights. Save the Children has Monitoring Evaluation Accountability and Learning [MEAL] department, they are also using participatory methodologies.

All the issues are my personal opinion. I will welcome any comments on the issues.

Thanking you


Picture of Masudur Rahman
Re: Relevance?
by Masudur Rahman - Wednesday, 27 August 2014, 6:44 PM

Dear Rajesh Da

Greetings! Proud to directly connect one of learned PR expert in world! I have some curiosity (may be silly questions to you) and will be very happy to learn from you -

• How I can better realize the capacities of ordinary people (who will be researched) and ensure their active engagement in different step of PR (problem identification, research design, data collection etc)? Could you please share some research paper that were fully realized and reflected the ordinary people’s capacity & views in South Asian Context?

• As team member of a particular research (oriented by the chief researcher), my research question knocking me continuously to stand for one/some hypothesis (as well as biasness I think); how can I be more pluralist?

• Is PAR is useful enough to research on an issue like ‘Governance’; as governance in general discussing the decision holders working process & accountability? Is there any good PAR example for better study on Governance, please provide some reference.

Anyway, did you visit Bangladesh earlier? Inviting you in advance and will be happy to host you.

Kindest regards


Taniya Laizu Sumy, Manager- Curriculum and Material Development, SHIKHON Program, Save the Children
Re: Relevance?
by Taniya Laizu Sumy - Thursday, 28 August 2014, 9:43 AM

Dear Sir,

Greetings from Bangladesh forum. It is really our pleasure by getting your intellectual presence with us. 

As you already be known that we are from Save the Children, one of the leading Non Government Organization in the world. I work at the Bangladesh chapter of Save the Children. Among six major sectors education is one where I work. I work at SHIKHON program of Education sector which works for the hardest to reach children of Bangladesh. It focuses on the 100% access of children to basic education and the quality achievement by them align with the MDG goals and EFA.

SHIKHON program has to conduct quantitative and qualitative research to ensure the development, review, progress assessment and quality of the program. As children are the prime beneficiaries of the program we need to make sure of the participation of the children. From the perspective of PR we now are thinking about to conduct research by the children. Now it is thought that children will participate in research from design level to report preparation. I have some concern about this. I think your knowledge and know-how can put significant role in our research. It will be my pleasure if you address some of questions:

1. In the case of research conducted by children, what do you think, can the quality be ensured? From methodological aspect how the children can be participated? What methodologies should be planned? How the findings could be accepted internationally?

2. How the qualitative research be designed that will be conducted by children? How community people can be involved in the research?

3. Now researchers are thinking about randomize trial method. From practical aspect how it could be used and applied?

4. How the design should be in instant action or in case of longitudinal study?

Hope to hear from you.

Thank you very much for your participation in our course.

With sincere regards,

Taniya Laizu Sumy

Manager- Curriculum and Material Development

SHIKHON Program, Save the Children International in Bangladesh 

Picture of Rahul Kanti Barua
Re: Relevance?
by Rahul Kanti Barua - Thursday, 28 August 2014, 10:13 AM
First of all I would like to give thanks to PRIA for give us this opportunity to discuss with our query to Dr. Rajesh. I like to discuss about how we can develop hypothesis in participatory research and how we can combined quantitative data with the qualitative data from PR to proof the hypothesis that we draw. With thanks Rahul
Picture of Rahul Kanti Barua
Re: Relevance?
by Rahul Kanti Barua - Thursday, 28 August 2014, 10:46 AM
Dear Sir, Can you share some of the resources base on my query. Thanks Rahul
Picture of Dr. Rajesh Tandon
Re: Relevance?
by Dr. Rajesh Tandon - Thursday, 28 August 2014, 10:52 AM
Dear Colleagues I am so happy to hear your comments; several of them are perennial dilemmas. Nazurul raised the issue of externally determined research and evaluation methodology being pushed by external donors. This is not new, but has perhaps become more wide-spread as donors are being asked to show results from their own funders. In this context, as practitioners of PR, we can be somewhat creative. First, we have to acknowledge the legitimate concerns of donors for generating evidence for results. The critical question is what results? In complex issues like malnutrition, what kinds of results can be achieved in a 3 year project time-frame? Have we promised more than possible in our log-frame? Second, we can try to combine the interests of various stake-holders--donors, beneficiaries and project staff; in this approach, we can ask the beneficiaries (a terrible term by the way) what are their interests in respect of malnutrition? What would they like to see happen after 3 years of the project? The involvement of beneficiaries in defining project outcomes could also help in gathering more authentic and nuanced data during PR. Both Rahul and Masudur have asked questions about the design of research; as you are aware, we will be focusing on this in detail when you are with us in PRIA next month. Pls do think about the research that you want to undertake from now on. I will send you all some papers that relate to your specific queries. Yes, governance can be studied through PR; you may have heard about methodologies like citizen monitoring of services, social audits of local governments?? These are examples of application of PR in governance. Rahul's interest in using quantitative methods in PR is very appropriate; many people think that PR is only about qualitative data; nature of data doesn't make it PR; who uses it, with what purpose, does the community participate in it?? Those are key questions. We have a very interesting PR effort going on in urban poor settlements; youth from poor households are using GPS technology to map their settlements and households; this is 'hard' data, which they then use, with our support, to engage municipalities to demand services. Taniya, thank you for focusing on children; in fact, SCF has itself pioneered methods of PR where children are researchers. The key is to identify which part of your larger research agenda is relevant from children's point-of-view; then engage them with methods that they use in everyday life to generate research questions, data and analysis. Is this your research project? Finally, we need to look at PR as a part of the process of building and sustaining relationships with certain communities and organisations; within that relationship, research happens sometimes; life goes on with other activities anyways. Therefore, research questions arise because we do not understand certain phenomena well; it doesn't mean we do not have an inkling? Hypotheses are informed guesses of explanations; how do we develop them is a skill, which we can sharpen in this course. Thanks you all; very stimulating indeed. I hope to continue this conversation over the next couple of days too; so, if you all have further comments or queries, please post them by Saturday Aug 30; I will respond quickly. I look forward to working with you all in Delhi. Best Rajesh
Picture of Khaleda Akhter
Re: Relevance?
by Khaleda Akhter - Thursday, 28 August 2014, 4:13 PM

Dear Rajesh Da,

Greetings from Save the Children!

It is my great pleasure to work with you.

I am working both rural and urban community focusing children (0 – 18) to address sexual and gender based violence and it is very sensitive and taboo issues to aware and sensitize the community people. We are trying to change knowledge, attitude and behavior of the people at family, community and institution and for this purpose, we always use different participatory tools.  Our working approach is to ensure participation of the beneficiaries by information sharing, accountability, meaningful choice, comprehensiveness and non-alienation and in this way; we are trying to mobilize children and the adult at the working area. Therefore, there is no doubt that methodology of the participatory research is very useful. Every year we conduct research baseline, situation analysis and programme evaluation for implementing new programme and scale up existing programme and we are always trying to follow participatory method.

As you know that like other developing countries Bangladesh also depend on foreign donors and always donors ask for actual evidence come from community level. That’s why we try to give them actual information by involving community children and people.

Could you please inform me which participatory method are using to deal with community people specially children to aggress sexual and gender-based violence in India?

I am looking forward to hear from you.

Sincerely yours,

Khaleda Akhter

Picture of Kazi Eliza Islam
Re: Relevance?
by Kazi Eliza Islam - Friday, 29 August 2014, 1:00 AM

Dear Dr. Rajesh,

It is really a great pleasure for us to have you in this forum. To answer your questions above regarding relevance and use of participatory research in Bangladesh, I will say, "yes" it is very much relevant in Bangladesh context now, particularly when the country is transitioning through a very complex political, economic and environmental paradox. 

Over the last few decades Bangladesh has achieved remarkable success in reducing national poverty, but at the same time the poverty gap has also increased significantly. While people in general have become more aware of their social,political economic rights, the governance situation across the whole country has deteriorated enormously. Women involvement in economic sector has been increased at the same time the violence against women has also increased. So, with this very complex and fast changing environment, there is an increased demand among social scientist for research methods that are capable to capture and investigate complex social issues. 

Whether are many people using it?, yes there are attempts though not all of those can be claimed as true participatory research. 

Anyway, now since I am very new to the PR, I have two very specific questions that I think the participatory research can answer but do not really know how?

Now a days some development jargon have become very popular, such as empowerment, sustainability, accountability, improved governance etc. We often use these as the ultimate outcomes of our project/program but most of the we don't do a good job in measuring those or demonstrating project attribution to those outcomes. 

So, my question is related to use of PR to measure "empowerment". As we all know that empowerment is a very complex concept, it is even more difficult because it is a process as well as an outcome. There are lots of different schools of thought about how to define and measure empowerment. There are also some tools, frameworks available to understand what it means, particularly in terms of measuring women empowerment, but almost none of them is simple and easy to apply. Moreover question often remains who defines what an empowered woman look like? or how will you measure the degree of empowerment? how do you know what has contributed to that change? If there are multiple factors that (and that is usually the case) that contribute to empowerment, how do you measure that without creating a composite indicator (which is often very lengthy and complex process)? 

So, basically my question is: how effective is PR to (a) Define women empowerment (b) to measure empowerment and demonstrate project/program attribution to empowerment.

Thanks and regards



Picture of Nazmul Alam
Re: Relevance?
by Nazmul Alam - Friday, 29 August 2014, 10:20 AM

Dear Dr  Rajesh, 

It's a pleasure to have you among us. 

As the knowledge branch is unlocking new dimensions we are approaching towards process how to acquire intensive and authentic knowledge. As we are planning to utilize local knowledge to move forward in many areas such as health, agriculture, natural resource management etc.

In recent times, qualitative  research is emerging as a strong process of knowledge generation beside the dominant quantitative approach.

My question is more related with data validity and triangulation. If we choose to work with marginalized population with limited education, social background and benefits is there any special areas we need to consider while designing tools and methodology?







Picture of Dr. Rajesh Tandon
Re: Relevance?
by Dr. Rajesh Tandon - Sunday, 31 August 2014, 1:32 PM



I  am delighted to get so many of you engaged in these discussions. Purvi is a great facilitator.

One ste of questions relate to teh appropriate methods (for children and marginalised groups). The question of methods is directly related to the roles that such respondents play in PR; since they are themselves subjects of research, it means that they should be involved, to some meaningful extent, in the data collection and analysis aspects of research. Methods thus have to be responsive to their contexts, comprehensions and preferred styles. Many methods which use action and emotion, not just cognition, are appropriate; with children, drawing is a very commonly used method; with adults, songs, dance, drama have also been used effectively.


We have to remember that not all data and all analysis comes form children or community; some parts of the research questions may be handled by teh research facilitator herself. We will get a chance to discuss this more in F2F next month in Delhi.


The second set of issues relates to elaborations of meanings of concepts like empowerment. researchers and practitioners have their own definitions; we may want to ask women themselves what do they understand by empowerment; when do they feel empowered? What situations generate in them a sense of empowerment?

These meanings can then be juxtaposed on other definitions of empowerment.


Great conversations! Continue with your readings and refllections; we w ill catch up in Delhi in two weeks.


all the best