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Consolidation of Unit 4 DF
by Purvi Dass - Friday, 10 October 2014, 6:12 PM

Dear friends,

 Before you left for Delhi for two questions were uploaded for reflection in unit-4  DF.

We also thought these questions we would continue till 22nd September forenoon. All of you have shared many points in written, oral, through PPT and using various aids. It was a wonderful learning experience for me.

 I am making an  attempt to consolidate these thoughts in brief.

 How does the context help in determining which techniques to use?

 The underlying principle of PR is community participation to understand and assess the issues and needs of the community. The process of research is initiated in the context of the actual reality. No research process can be the same because context of social reality varies. So there is no blueprint for the researchers.   The methods are selected and flexibly adapted to suit each new condition, needs and actors. The research practitioners selectively mix-and-match methods to explore creatively the alternatives and possibilities articulated by local people. For instance, participatory theatre as a complement to the visualization techniques of PRA can enable people to express issues of difference, conflict and participation.

Tuhin writes that the techniques to be used in the research are determined based on several issue. In many case, researchers while designing the research select the research methodology and methods. The primary consideration for choosing techniques will depends;

- Topic of the research: 

- Level of community engagement requires by research

- Research objective

- Thematic analysis of data

What factors would you consider when deciding which techniques to use?

 In deciding which methods/ techniques to employ, following factors need to be considered:

 Objectives: Reasons for involvement in research and expected outcomes.  For example the objectives of PR would be to enable participants to employ their own knowledge to create options for tackling issues that directly concern them. The outcomes would be to generate a spectrum of options and information and enable a group to reach a single informed decision on an issue.

 Topic: The nature and scope of the issue (subject matter).  Such as, to what extent does the society already possess a general knowledge of the subject? (e.g., meetings,  group discussions) To what extent has the society already developed opinions on the subject? (e.g., focus group discussions) Is the subject highly complex, such that a great deal of (technical) information is required? (e.g., participatory workshops) Is the issue highly controversial and has the debate become polarised, such that consensus is difficult to reach? (e.g., multi stakeholder dialogues)

 Participants: Who is affected, interested or can contribute to solutions. The relevant participants will vary with the issue. The interest and capability of various groups to contribute to a participatory process will depend upon the topic at hand. The (geographic) scope, budget and timing of the project help to determine the number and geographic distribution of participants. For example, main actors in the research process, may include:

  • Citizens on an individual basis, community
  • Stakeholders, whereby citizens are represented by organisations, such as:

- non-governmental organisations (NGOs)

- private industry

- interest groups (advocacy groups, clubs, etc.)

  • Experts on a particular issue
  • Policy makers who will take up the outcome of the process.


Time: Amount of time available. The timeframe includes not only the research process itself, but also pre-planning and post-research follow-up.

 Budget: Availability of resource. This is crucial factor.

 Difference between Methods and Technique

 Method and technique have nearly same meaning and are used almost interchangeably.
If we go by dictionary meanings, technique means a systematic procedure, formula, or a routine by which a task is accomplished. On the other hand, method is defined as a habitual, logical, or prescribed practice or systematic process of achieving certain end results with accuracy and efficiency, usually in a preordained sequence of steps. However, when the method is systematic and based upon logic, it is sometimes referred to as a scientific method which comes even closer to technique.

 It is thus clear that the words methods and techniques are very close in meaning but it is better to use technique when we are talking about scientific procedures and methods when we are using about abstract and everyday life situations.

 Feel free to send your comments,

 All the best,