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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Process, Perception and Power: Notes From 'Participatory' Research in a Zimbabwean Resettlement Area
Author:Goebel, Allison
Periodical:Development and Change
Geographic term:Zimbabwe
Subjects:research methods
social sciences
Development and Technology
Abstract:The popularity of 'participatory' methods of research has increased greatly in research, development projects, and rural extension in developing countries. However, the author argues it has not always been accompanied by a critical evaluation of the quality and reliability of the knowledge created and extracted by this process. With her own experience of using the Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) method in her fieldwork in a resettlement area in Zimbabwe, the author attempts to discover how power relations among the participants are revealed and concealed in PRA, concentrating specifically on gendered perspectives. The paper also highlights the dynamic, contested, and often contradictory nature of 'local knowledge' itself. What appear to be transparent chunks of local reality turn out to be parts of complex webs of multiple ideologies and practices. The author feels that the participatory method may be a good way of beginning a project, but the organization of short PRA workshops in academic or project-related research could lead to quite faulty representations of complex social worlds. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum.