Picture of Purvi Dass
Repeating question posed for unit 6
by Purvi Dass - Monday, 10 November 2014, 6:50 PM

Dear Friends

By now you must have read the last unit of this course focuses on popular participatory tools used in development practice. For better understanding four  different  case examples viz., Participatory Enumeration, Participatory Town Planning,  Popular Theatre, and Participatory Video,  illustrate  the  variety of  contexts,  subject  matter,  techniques,  research  and   organizing methods in participatory research.

You have felt that these tools offer novel ways of generating data and constructing and contrasting alternative perspectives through self-aware reflection and promote action for change. Read, reflect and share your views on the case studies.

You have responded to a question in unit 5 keeping in mind participatory approaches in your work (Why are participatory approaches to analysis, dissemination and utilization to research so critical to your work in the community?). That means we were analysing at our own level i.e. at micro level. Now think at macro level and reflect:

Why are participatory research tools critical in development practices?

If you have used similar tools elsewhere do share. 

This question was also uploaded on 13th Oct 2014 in welcome note. For your convenience, I have posed the question again.

Looking forward to your analysis and reflections for the last time in discussion forum,

All the best,



Picture of Nazmul Alam
Re: Repeating question posed for unit 6
by Nazmul Alam - Monday, 10 November 2014, 8:50 PM

The reason Participatory tools are critical for the development practice;

1. It provides the authentic insiders thoughts and ideas regarding the context

2. It creates mass involvement regarding solving/analyzing of a situation/issue

3. Participatory tools create empowerment and sustainability of a resolved matter

4. As it is used through the insiders who are directly associated with the issue, the overall resolve issue and other aspects are very much easy for others to contextualize. Also, the local knowledge are used through these tools that create more context specific findings and solution of a certain problem.


My experience in using participatory tools came from my research affiliation with vulnerable populations. As the marginalized and stigmatized population are very much ignored by the mainstream population, very little access can be gathered from their community. But with the participatory process and tools we have managed to gather most intimate information of their life. Also, my current project is working for the care and protection of children affected by AIDS and children of sex workers, these two children groups are very much shy about their needs and providing information on various issues, but with the help of participatory tools i can easily overcome the barriers.      

Picture of Md. Nazmul Haque Sardar
Re: Repeating question posed for unit 6
by Md. Nazmul Haque Sardar - Wednesday, 12 November 2014, 11:31 AM

In my opinion, participatory research tools are critical in development practices. The following are the reason:

  • Participatory Research tools emphasized that community researchers interviewing or conducting focus groups in their own communities, or social welfare or health practitioners adopting a research role, need high degrees of self-awareness to ensure that privacy and confidentiality are not breached and professional and personal issues do not become damagingly blurred.
  • Participatory Research tools may not be universal and those involved may experience moments of exclusion and inclusion
  • These promise a move away from the outside expert and tokenistic involvement, placing emphasis on negotiating and developing relationships in specific cultural/ spatial/ political/ historical contexts
  •  Participatory Research tools encourage a political stance derived from conditions of inequality and oppression
  • Participatory Research tools most are concerned with the individual rights of human subjects
  • These create problems, including defining what counts as a community, the potential for conflict between individual and group interests
  • Further complexity is added if the topic is controversial and opinions are divided within a community/group.
  • Group and/or community involvement as research partners adds complexity when considering ownership of data and results
  • These issues are common in all social research, but distinctive questions in blurring the boundaries between researcher and researched, academic and activist
Picture of Rahul Kanti Barua
Re: Repeating question posed for unit 6
by Rahul Kanti Barua - Saturday, 15 November 2014, 1:57 PM

Why are participatory research tools critical in development practices?

We know that the participatory research tools is very useful, realistic and novel way of generating data, knowledge, self-reflection, promote changes and democratic decision making. In this total course we have learnt a lots of methodologies and PR tools to get the authentic data, problem analysis by involving the poor, marginalized people and also come up with solution of the problems and decision. These PR tools are namely FGD, Interview, Transect walk, Social Mapping, Community Meeting, Drawing, Observation, case study, Participatory Enumeration, Participatory Town Planning, Popular Theater, and Participatory Video etc.        

These PR tools are critical applying in the development practices as because

-       If the community people may not be sanitizes about the issues or tools that are using in the study. Thus it may definitely create difficulties to use tools and manage community.

-       Secondly for any large or small scale of survey, or research study, community people must be aware or informed, otherwise people may not support to participate in the study.

-       Thirdly some of the people may not participate and create obstacle to apply these PR tools

-       In some cases, we have observed that especially government authority may not accept findings or agree as because the results is not in favor of them.

-       Another important things is that different tool can give different information or view, for example transact walk can give different view in a community by observing different time i.e. morning, Evening or night etc. So researcher must be aware about the tools and how s/he use the tools for getting the authentic data.

-       By using the different tools there may have huge data in different angle, in that case if research didn’t properly handle the data it may not view the proper information.

Picture of Purvi Dass
Re: Repeating question posed for unit 6
by Purvi Dass - Sunday, 16 November 2014, 7:19 AM

Dear  Tuhin, Nazmul and Rahul,

Great!! Very responsible about your learning!!!!!

It seems you are now in process of consolidating your own learning.

What about my other friends? Today is Sunday so many of you may snatch some family time and come to this forum. Looking forward to other responses too as this is the last forum of the course.

Just remember, 21/11 is last day for QUIZ 2 since it is technologically controlled date, you have to be within the  time frame.

All the best


Taniya Laizu Sumy, Manager- Curriculum and Material Development, SHIKHON Program, Save the Children
Re: Repeating question posed for unit 6
by Taniya Laizu Sumy - Sunday, 16 November 2014, 10:56 AM

Why are participatory research tools critical in development practices?

The main characteristic of Participatory Research is to ensure the participation of all stakeholders and beneficiaries in the process. The tools of PR are created based on the participation of different stakes. The thinking, culture and way of interpretation of them are reflected in the process as well as product. In development sector community is the center of everything. The participation of mass people are critical in development activities. For successful product in development area PR tools are very much important. The PR tools are critical in developing practices because:

  • Strengthened voice: It can be played as an active role to strengthen the voice of hardest to reach and most marginalized community which can really accelerate the development practices.
  • Better informed plans: By consulting those whose needs the plans are meant to fulfil, the resultant development interventions are more likely to be relevant and appropriate to those needs.
  • Strengthened capacity of citizens: Through the involvement of different stakeholders in participatory tools development and other process, local people and CSOs can learn more about the decision- making processes of government bodies and can acquire valuable skills for identifying, analyzing and prioritizing development issues, and for articulating their needs and concerns to the relevant authorities; 
  • Strengthened capacity of governments: Government staff involved in participatory development planning not only can learn the use of participatory methods and approaches, but can also benefit from a “reality-check” by seeing for themselves the condition of the local people and the relevance of existing or planned development interventions.
  • Better understanding: By working together, different stakeholder groups develop mutual understanding and trust among themselves and can learn how to collaborate on any follow-up activities and any future joint initiatives.
  • Enhanced transparency and accountability: Participatory planning processes open up the operations of the government and development agencies to public scrutiny and help set up mechanisms whereby these agencies are held accountable for the implementation of the plans.
  • Strengthened democracy: Participatory town planning can create processes that are more democratic and equitable, enabling citizens to share decision making powers with their locally elected representatives and other external agencies. (Rietbergen-McCracken, 2005)   

As PR is led by the concepts of deal with contextualized problems to empower the community people it is necessary to use the methods and tools in a participatory way. Development process is impossible without proper participation of community. Each and every instrument used in developing processes needs to be known and owned by the community people. And it is possible by using participatory research tools. To give a sustainable form of development participatory research tools are mandatory with no doubt.

Picture of Khaleda Akhter
Re: Repeating question posed for unit 6
by Khaleda Akhter - Sunday, 23 November 2014, 5:21 PM

Why are participatory research tools critical in development practices?


As we know that


  1. PR is the action for local people and local people knowledge and expertise are consider while doing the PR. The basis of PR depends on local priorities and PR methodologies always depends on empowerment of local people. Mutual learning is one of the main approach for doing PR.


  1. Local people takes part on problem identification, data collection, interpretation, analysis presentation on finding, action with or without external people.


  1. In PR local people own the result and the focus always give on the process.


But sometimes PR tools are critical in applying in the development practices because

  • If the community people do not sanitize about the issues or tools then it may create difficulties to use PR tools and involve and manage local people.
  • Local people must be aware or informed, otherwise people may not support to participate in the research.      
  • Sometime local people do not want to participate and can create obstacle to apply PR tools in the community.
  • After Appling the PR tools if researcher findings any authentic data which is not in favor of donor and government people’s priority then it create a trouble for taking action.
  • Sometime it’s very difficult to manage different PR tools and involve local people in the process. More time is needed for making a trust worthy relation with local people. If the researcher do not comply with local people views and don’t want to give space for sharing their views then it is critical to apply.
  • After collecting the data, if the researcher do not give the chance to local people to analysis and present the findings properly then, they never own the research findings and never involve into the intervention/action.