CENTRE FOR ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

PARTICIPATORY RURAL APPRAISAL TOOLS AND TECHNIQUES. A GUIDE TO PRA.

PRA Tools are of three types-
1. Space-related tools
2. Time-related tools and
3. Rational tools.

Space-related Tools:
Space-related PRA techniques are useful tools to explore the spatial dimensions of people's realities. The primary objective is to understand how people perceive and relate to space in their communities. Various types of visual maps are utilized in the application of space-related methods.

The following space-related tools are described in this CD-ROM:

Mapping - a technique used to get people's visual representation

of an area or an issue
Social Map - an image of the habitation pattern of an area, according to people's perceptions
Mobility Map - a visual analysis of the mobility patterns of the local people

Resource Map - a visual representation done by locals to illustrate the natural resources of a community

Participatory Modeling - a three-dimensional depiction of an area

Transect - a cross-sectional view of an area used to explore the spatial dimensions of people's realities. Particularly useful in natural resources management.
Mapping:
Mapping is a spatial representation, used as a descriptive and analytical tool for a wide range of subject matters.
Why should we use mapping?
Different types of maps can be used to analyse various aspects of a community and can also be utilised as a tool for comparative analysis between communities. There are a number of reasons to use maps as a tool to aid communication, some of which include:
• Providing a framework for discussion over the relative location of resources
• Highlighting resources of importance
• Stimulating debate over the importance of specific resources
• Enabling facilitators to locate or identify problem areas / important issues
There are a great number of other practical reasons for using maps, which include:
• Breaking the ice and initiating discussion
• Identifying which elements are important to different groups
• Developing a basis for comparison which can be understood by all stakeholders, i.e. both villagers and foresters/agricultural extension workers/other local agency workers
• Discovering issues and locations that could be prioritized in a long term planning process
• Establishing a baseline for impact analysis and for monitoring and evaluation
How does it work?
There are a number of distinctive "types" of maps:
• Social Map
• Resource Map
• Dream Map
• Body Mapping
With whom can we use mapping?
Maps have been constructed with a range in group sizes, from on individual to around 50 men, women and children (examples exist of up to 300 people!). Although some facilitators prefer to work with smaller groups of around 8-10, others have had experiences with larger groups where a high degree of participation still occurred. In some cases, changes in the process had to take place in order to include the wider group, such as asking each individual present to mark their own houses (e.g. with stones) onto a social map. Large groups may be dealt with sequentially, for example as the main analysts move on, others may come in to add or comment on both the process and the "product". It is felt that maps made outside on the ground, and models, can cope with larger numbers.
In many cases, large groups have been split along gender lines, with comparative maps made by men, women, and youth. Children have a great potential to act as analysts as well.
Equally, there can be benefits in working with mixed groups to ensure debate and discussion, since the process of the mapping is as significant as the product. Having a range of participants may benefit social maps, particularly for ensuring that all different households are represented, and the different aspects of their knowledge are pooled together. It is important to always gauge where individuals feel more comfortable about participating whether it be in mixed groups or small homogenous groups.
When should we use mapping?
Maps have frequently been used early on, if not at the very start of participatory exercises. In addition, they are generally easy to construct, and participants feel comfortable starting with mapping before proceeding onto more complex diagrams.
Social mapping, as mentioned, leads easily into well-being assessments, or more detailed social analysis of a location, which in turn has been used to feed into institutional analysis and a discussion of power structures within an area. It also leads to livelihood analysis, for example identifying the major occupations or livelihoods of people in an area.
Resource maps have in many cases led on to ranking. This includes analysing preferences for different items that have been identified on the map, such as crops or cropping patterns/treatments, or assessing the perceived potential of different proposals. In addition, resource maps have led directly to discussing flows of identified resources and movements in relation to both formal/informal markets; seasonal calendars of resource availability, labour, inputs, outputs and so on. For visual/description, click here
Ground or Paper?
Much has been written on the "ground vs. paper" debate, and a wide range of materials have been suggested for mapping. Advantages of the ground primarily include the lack of boundary limitations, and therefore larger size and increased potential for participation, as well as greater ability to make alterations.
Where paper is used, both flipchart and large rolls of paper such as wallpaper or newsprint have been useful with a variety of colored pens and crayons. Additions to maps include the use of stickers of different shapes and colors, small labels, and so on. Beans and other counters can be laid onto maps to illustrate the relative importance of different elements.
Where the ground is used, the list of materials is endless, including the use of sticks to scratch marks in the soil, dust or mud, the use of twigs/sticks/branches, and the use of coloured chalks or powders such as rangoli, flour, ash or sawdust. Symbols can then be placed onto the map, or objects used such as stones, cans, pots, leaves, clods of earth, bits of wool, mealie cobs, etc.
Praxis advocates for the use of local materials as often as possible. Since some community members may have never seen fancy stationary products, using those materials in PRA exercises may hinder the involvement of some community members.
Strengths and Weaknesses

Dangers:
• Facilitators and/or participants overly concerned with accuracy, neatness and presentation of the final product at the expense of process and discussion
• Many facilitators express a difficulty in "getting started", particularly as this is often the first visual tool used, and participants (and facilitators) may lack confidence.
• In developed countries, participants sometimes believe that they should reproduce a professional map of the area because it is more accurate.
• In areas where land tenure, rights or boundaries are uncertain, the process of mapping may raise underlying conflicts.
• In areas where land use patterns are traditionally a sensitive subject, an exploration into this subject matter may provoke initial suspicion over motives. It is important for the facilitators to be explicit about their goals.
• In areas where security risks are high, people may feel threatened to open up in a mapping exercise. For instance, people may be concerned with revealing household assets to potential thieves.
• As with any PRA exercise, the process cannot be rushed. There is a need for rapport and trust to be built up before starting the mapping exercise.
Strengths:
• Maps can provide a clear spatial introduction to a discussion. This ensures that issues are not overlooked or ignored, while also establishing an outline for the discussion.
• This exercise ensures that the discussion is channeled through the map, and is therefore depersonalized to some extent.
• A participatory map can create a common orientation or understanding and provide a structure for ongoing analysis. They can become a basis for ongoing monitoring and evaluation. Specific issues or problems being discussed at a later stage in the process can be referred back to the initial maps, for example to see if there is a relationship between a certain problem and social or resource aspects identified earlier.
• Maps can reflect strengths and potentials as well as weaknesses and problems, important for community reflection and confidence.
Complementary Tools for Triangulation
As with any PRA method, it is important to "interview the map", because the discussion begun around this map will be as fruitful as the finished product. When working in a large group, the process of interviewing the map may allow new ideas and participants to enter the debate. If participants present the map back to other community members then this can be another forum for sharing and triangulating.

In other cases, different groups may have constructed similar maps, and the findings can be shared and the content compared. Semi-structured interviews, observations, and a range of other methods can also be used to cross-check the analysis on the map.
Social Mapping:
Social mapping seeks to explore the spatial dimension of people’s realities, and is one of the most commonly conducted mapping exercises. It is an ideal way to understand habitation patterns and the nature of infrastructure (such as drinking water facilities, drainage systems, etc.) within a community. Social mapping exercises have a few key distinguishing features: 1) they are made by local people and 2) they are not drawn to scale. Therefore, these exercises capture how community members perceive social dynamics within their locality.


Applications
The diverse applications of social mapping include:
• Creating a base understanding of the social and physical characteristics of a village.
• Collecting demographic data, such as detailed household specific information.
• Establishing a comfortable forum for discussion, where people are able to open up about the intricacies of social relations within their community.
In short, social mapping provides the researcher with a visual picture of the area, and identifies the incidence and prevalence of different poverty-related indicators. A social map is an interactive tool to gain insight on how different well-being groups live, and provides a means of comparison for factors such as proximity of different castes to water sources, government service-providers, etc.
Social mapping should include the following steps:
• Consult with community members, and determine a convenient time and location to conduct the exercise.
• Once convened, explain the purpose of the social map to the participants. Allow participants to choose the materials they would prefer to use. Requesting participants to draw the prominent physical features of a locality can be a fitting way to begin such an exercise.
• As the process unfolds, listen to the discussions carefully and take detailed notes of the proceedings.
• Create an environment where participants are able to take initiative, and become deeply involved in the process. Be cognizant of who is actively involved, and which sections of society they belong to. Proactively involve those who are left out of the process.
• If you require clarification, wait for the appropriate moment, and be careful not to interrupt the process. Ask the community members, “What about . . . ?” or ‘What does this symbol represent?”.
• Once the mapping is complete, make sure you number the households, and ask people to identify their home.
• If you require specific information, according to the purpose of the study, ask participants to depict the information that you are interested in. For instance, you may be interested in household-specific details, such as caste composition, number of school-age children, etc.
• Meticulously copy the map onto a large sheet of paper, making sure to include all details that the community has noted down. Be sure to include
- Title of the exercise
- Names of the participants
- Characteristics of participants (socio-economic background, gender, occupation, etc.)
- Location (i.e. locality name)
- Names of the facilitators
- Legends and symbols necessary to interpret the output
• Triangulate the information generated from the exercise with others in the locality.

Topical Social Maps - Practitioners also utilise social maps to investigate specific social issues. The following are some examples of how topical social maps can be utilised: :
• Kinship - Social maps can also be used as a basis for examining the genealogy of a location. Kinship ties can be constructed, and comparisons made between, for example, area of origin, length of residence in the area, and household ties.
• Skills - a topical skills analysis can also be created on a social map, identifying those who have skills that would be of importance in particular initiatives, i.e. a forestry programme or a business initiative.
• Education - in the same way that well-being and assets can be examined, literacy levels and education levels can also be specifically discussed.
• Health - Health maps have been constructed which examine the incidence of a wide range of conditions, including asthma, chronic illnesses, alcoholism, disabilities, malnourishment, family planning, etc. The map can also be used to discuss which members of individual households attend clinics or receive assistance from programmes.
• Political - maps can show concentrations of political affiliations, areas of conflict and other political aspects.
Advantages and Limitations
Social maps have been known to provide a good base for discussion, as they provide a common orientation of the locality. Since social maps have such a diverse application, it is a tool that has been utilised for problem identification within a community and in the planning of development interventions. This particular method provides great insight into the socio-economic stratification of a community by analysing the distribution and control of critical resources. Often, a social map is looked upon as a good exercise to break the ice with participants, because it involves a great number of people, and gets the community members conversing about common landmarks in a locality. Even the shyest person is eager to confirm whether his/her house is properly represented on the social map. Therefore, social mapping proves to be a non-threatening exercise that has the potential to build rapport with a community rather quickly.
It is quite common to face some reluctance from the community members as you begin a mapping exercise. Lack of confidence, fear of being ridiculed by others, and the belief that maps are only made by experts are the origins of such hesitations. The use of fancy pens and paper during the exercise could be intimidating for some of the participants, who may be illiterate or generally self-conscious of the contributions they have to make. This is one of the critical reasons why Praxis advocates for using local materials during mapping exercises, and using the ground as the canvas. It can be challenging to ensure that hesitant community members proactively contribute to the mapping process. Generally though, with a bit of encouragement, and in the worst cases, some prompting questions, the mapping process will unfold smoothly.
Mobility Map:
Mobility maps illustrate the main places where community members travel and the significance of those places. This type of mapping exercise generally analyses where community members need to travel to reach public institutions and attain certain services. Different symbols can be utilized to represent factors in such movement, such as distances, time involved and means of transport. Other aspects of movement, including which social groups are traveling and the importance of the places visited, should also be investigated and depicted in the map.



Applications
Mobility maps can be utilised for a number of purposes including:
• Gaining an understanding of the movement patterns of community members, specifically where they travel and for what reasons.
• Establishing gender awareness among community members, since the map depicts the differences in mobility patterns between men and women of a community.
• Measuring the impact of certain development interventions, in an evaluative manner, by examining the impact that programs have had on mobility patterns.

• Process
The suggested steps for mobility maps are:
• Choose a person or group whose mobility pattern you would like to explore.
• Explain to the participants the purpose of such an exercise, and inquire about places they visit regularly. Ask the participants to depict these places visually using symbols.
• Draw a circle on the ground or on a piece of paper which represents the locality. Ask the participants to identify the places where they visit, using the circle as a base.
• Request the participants to link the locations visited with lines. The formation of the lines (i.e. thickness, dashed, etc.) can represent a specific factor in the movement, such as the frequency of visits. Continue this process for each of the places indicated on the map.
• Encourage the participants to depict relevant details, in the form of visuals or writing, such as: Purpose of visit, mode of transport, frequency of visit, time to reach location/inconveniences involved, etc.
• Throughout the process, encourage participants to make modifications as they see fit.
• Request the participants to explain the map in detail, and at the same time clarify any doubts that have arisen.
• Throughout the mapping process, pay close attention to the discussions and take notes.
• Once the exercise is complete, replicate the diagram in detail on paper.
• Triangulate and thank the participants for their active involvement.
Advantages and Limitations
A mobility map is an effective manner to initiate a discussion, and constructs a holistic picture of the movement patterns of different community members. Throughout the mapping exercise, it is important to avoid being focused on the output. If that occurs, the facilitators can miss out on critical information, particularly information that speaks to the factors determining such mobility patterns.
One major advantage of a mobility map is that it complements other PRA methods very well, and therefore the facilitators are able to attain greater levels of insight into the dynamics of a community. For instance, the seasonality of a mobility pattern can be critical in areas where seasonal changes have a great impact on livelihood options and mobility patterns.


Resource Mapping:
Resource maps are one of the most commonly used PRA tools. The purpose of a resource map is to understand the natural resources of an area, such as the rivers, fields, vegetation, etc. At times, it can be difficult to distinguish between a natural resource map and a social map. Generally though, social maps illustrate habitations, community facilities, roads, while resource maps focus upon the natural resources of the community.


Resource Maps are quite powerful tools, as they take advantage of the community’s unparalleled knowledge of their surroundings. Detailed visual representations of the position of resources reflect candid perceptions of local people, and are therefore not drawn to scale. By avoiding precise measurement to scale, new insights into the realities of access to services and resources for different sectors of the community are illuminated.
Applications
Resource maps visually depict the location and condition of the natural resources of a community, such as:
• Bodies of water, irrigation sources, drainage systems, etc.
• Crop development, cropping patterns, levels of productivity, etc.
• Topography, terrain, and slopes
• Forest, vegetation, and species
• Land and land use, tenure, boundaries, and ownership

Process
• Consult with the community members, and determine a convenient time and location to conduct the exercise.
• Once convened, explain the purpose of the resource map to the participants. Allow participants to choose what materials they would prefer to use. Ask the participants to depict the major resources of the village.
• As the process unfolds, listen to the discussions carefully and take detailed notes of the proceedings.
• Create an environment where the participants are able to take initiative, and become deeply involved in the process. Be cognizant of who is actively involved, and which sections of society they belong to. Proactively involve those who are left out of the process.
• If you require clarification, wait for the appropriate moment, and be careful not to interrupt the process. Ask the community members, “What about . . . ?” or ‘What does this symbol represent?”.
• If you require specific information, according to the purpose of the study, ask participants to depict the information that you are interested in. For instance, you may be interested in cropping patterns, access to water, etc.
• Meticulously copy the map onto a large sheet of paper, making sure to include all details that the community has noted down.
• Triangulate the information generated from the exercise with others in the locality.


Topical Resource Maps
In the same way that specific aspects could be examined on the social map, resource maps may concentrate on a specific issue.
• Agriculture - this may include cropping patterns, both current and historical, and even an analysis of soil type and fertility.
• Water - location of water resources is often crucial, such as rivers, canals, ponds or wells. This can also lead to an analysis of broader water resources, for example, drainage systems or irrigation patterns.
• Livestock - a discussion of grazing areas may lead to the mapping of the quality and quantity of fodder available, as well as the movements of livestock.
• Forestry - not only can areas of forest be demarcated, but the species and history of the forest can also be shown. Further, access routes, paths, collection areas for different products can be illustrated.
• Farm Sketches/ Profiles - these involve mapping at the scale of a farm unit. In addition to simply creating a farm profile of existing conditions, the profiles can illustrate seasonal changes that occur or variations in cropping patterns that have taken place over a number of years.
Limitations
In communities where issues such as land holding and land tenure are sensitive as points of discussion, resource mapping is a difficult exercise. It is critical to be sensitive to these sentiments, and create a comfortable environment where community members are able to share their honest opinions. Many facilitators, particularly those who are not very experienced find resource maps difficult to initiate. Although, once they start taking shape, the mapping proceeds rather smoothly. There can be a tendency to over-emphasize the final product, so it is important to be cognizant of the discussions during the mapping process.

Participatory Modeling:

Participatory models are common tools utilised in PRA to create a three-dimensional representation of a community. Two defining characteristics of participatory models are: 1) they are not made to scale and 2) they are constructed by community members. A number of materials can be used in modeling, including: sand, soil, twigs, leaves, water, and coloured powder.





Applications
Models are particularly effective for purposes of natural resource planning and management. To have a three-dimensional representation depicting the communities’ perspectives on the condition of natural resources can be quite useful when approaching land-use planning and watershed planning projects.


Process
The steps in the process of participatory modeling are:
• Consult with the community members, and determine a convenient time and a location with a flat terrain.
• Once convened, explain the purpose of the model to the participants.
• Request participants to portray their locality in as much detail as possible. Encourage the use of locally available material in an imaginative way.
• As the process unfolds, listen to the discussions carefully and take detailed notes of the proceedings
• Create an environment where the participants are able to take initiative, and become deeply involved in the process. Be cognizant of who is actively involved, and which sections of society they belong to. Proactively involve those who are left out of the process.
• Meticulously copy the map onto a large sheet of paper, making sure to include all details that the community has noted down. Also, take a photograph of the model, because a drawing will not sufficiently capture a model’s complexity.
• Triangulate the information generated from the exercise with others in the locality.
Advantages and limitations
Participatory Models are a wonderful outlet for creativity, and allow community members to get very involved in the PRA process. The process creates a realistic representation of a locality with extensive details, which are impossible to capture in a two-dimensional map.
The involved nature of the process, results in quite a time-consuming process, as compared to some other PRA tools. Therefore, it often becomes difficult for women in the community to participate because of their time constraints and responsibilities.










Transect :
A transect is a cross-sectional representation of the different agro-ecological zones and their comparison against certain parameters including topography, land type, land usage, ownership, access, soil-type, soil fertility, vegetation, and crops. Although it is popularly used for natural resource management, social dimensions are not completely excluded from a transect.

Despite areas of overlap, transects are different from resource mapping. The resource map provides a bird's-eye view of the locality with a focus on natural resources. A transect however, depicts a cross-sectional view of the different agro-ecological zones and provides a comparative assessment of the zones on different parameters. It is generally done after a resource map and therefore helps in triangulation. It also helps in moving forward from problem identification to natural resources management and planning.
Applications
Transect has been used for various purposes including:
• Appraisal of natural resources in terms of status, problems, and potential
• Verification of issues raised during other PRA exercises particularly during social mapping, natural resource mapping, etc.
• Formulation of various interventions
• Monitoring and evaluation of interventions and projects


• Process
The proposed steps of a transect are:
• Identify a group of local people having some knowledge of the area and who are willing to walk with you for the exercise.
• Explain the purpose of a transect to the people. In consultation with the community members, define the list of indicators that will be analysed during the walk. Involve them in the decision-making process regarding the transect path you should take.
• Let the people show you their village by following the transect path that was agreed upon. Do not hesitate to make modifications if it is required. Also carry the list of parameters and preferably the resource map for the walk. It is a useful reference during observation and discussions en route.
• Observe the surroundings. Encourage people to explain things as you move. Take detailed notes.
• If necessary, stop at certain locations for detailed discussions on emerging issues. Use this opportunity to clarify issues emerging from the social map, resource map and other methods.
• Collect and bring some leaves, grass, etc. which you find interesting but are not familiar with. It helps to refer to them in discussions that will follow and also in documentation.
• After returning, draw the transect on a large sheet of paper. Let the local people take the lead in drawing the transect diagram. Use your notes and the notes of other members of the transect team while making the diagram.
• Show the transect to others in the locality and ask them to give their opinion.
• Triangulate the findings and thank the participants for their active involvement.


Q&A

Q) How should we choose the transect path?
The main ones are:
• Social/ Resource maps of the area - You can use available social or resource maps to select the transect path. Other regular maps of the village can also be used if necessary. While marking out the path for the transect, the guiding principle should be to capture maximum diversity and details within the limitations of time and physical access.
• Random selection method - All transect done without marking the transect path may come under this type. The problem, however, is that you may not capture important pieces of information about places that you have left out.
Whatever method you follow, local people must be involved in the process of decision-making, to utilize their local knowledge and expertise.
Q) What kind of transect route is the most appropriate?
There are different types of transect paths. The most common one will have you walk from a high point to a low point. Another one will bring you in straight line from one extreme point of the area to the other. To get a more detailed view of the area, one can also choose to undertake an S-shaped transect walk. Another possibility is a 'sweeping' transect.
Gender dimension in transect
It is not uncommon to have two transects done for the same area - one by local men and another by local women. The different perspectives that the two transects produce is usually quite striking and is useful when designing programs targeted at assisting local women. It also sensitizes the participants and the facilitators to the gender dynamics of the community.
Q) What kind of a team do we need?
The transect walk can be carried out by a single facilitator and a couple of local people. However it is generally better to have at least 2 or 3 facilitators and various homogeneous groups of local people willing to engage in fruitful discussions. About 2 to 3 local persons per facilitator is a good number.
In order to get the maximum out of the transect walk, each sub-team can fan out from the same point and meet again at another fixed point. It has the advantage of covering more of the area. Even if the teams use the same path, it is advisable to divide responsibilities and allot focal topics to each sub-team. This will provide an opportunity for triangulation and information checking.
Q) When is the best time to use transect?
Transect can be good a warm-up activity because it enables rapport building. The participants also start gaining confidence when the facilitators show interest by asking questions about the village.

Transects can also be conducted after social and resource mapping, to investigate the issues that have emerged in more depth.
Advantages and Limitations
Transects provide a quick cross-sectional overview of the different agro-ecological zones of the locality. They provide an opportunity to double-check the information generated through social maps, resource maps, and other PRA methods. They serve as an important entry-point for the PRA facilitators into the community in a non-intrusive, non-threatening manner. Walking together in small groups, local people and facilitators tend to become informal and shed some of their inhibitions. The local people tend to express their views on different aspects more candidly, which does not happen usually in a community meeting or even in a one-to-one interview.

While most practitioners find the transect walk easy to facilitate, the subsequent drawing of the transect by the local people is more demanding. The tendency to focus on the output can really influence the quality of transects. The discussion during the walk, and the asking of probing questions, are key to the process. The preparation of a checklist beforehand can help the facilitator to remain focused.
Time-related tools –
Time-related PRA methods assist in exploring the temporal dimensions of people's realities. The originality of these PRA methods is that they allow people to use their own concept of time.

The time-related PRA tools covered in this CD-ROM and their outcomes are:

Time Line - an aggregate of various landmark events in their community as perceived by the local people
Trend Analysis - a 'before and after' type of analysis that identifies the changes that have taken place across certain time milestones

Historical Transect - a visual representation of the temporal dimension of people's reality

Seasonal Diagram - an image of people's livelihood conditions over a period of time, the communities' notion of an annual cycle

Daily Activity Schedule - a representation of people's daily activities from the time they get up until the time they go to bed. Hours are generally the unit of analysis

Dream Map - the future vision or aspirations of the people
Testimonial - a technique used to capture and record the striking story of an individual
Timeline:
The Time Line exercise provides an ideal opportunity to capture the chronology of events in an individual or community’s history. As opposed to being a chronicled history, the Time Line represents important moments as perceived and recalled by the people involved. This tool can serve as an effective rapport builder, since people are generally willing to reminisce and share important moments from their past.


Applications
Time line objectives are:
• Learn about important events in the community's past from the community members.
• Understand the community’s historical perspective on current realities.
• Generate a discussion about how different aspects of their lives have transformed over time; i.e. education, health, food security, gender relations, etc.




• Process
The following are suggested process steps for a time line:
• Identify a few elderly members of the village, who are willing to speak candidly about the history of the village. Determine a convenient meeting time and place, and explain to them the purpose of the exercise.
• Begin a discussion on the history of the village. Some initial questions may include:
Q) When was the village established?
Q) What are the important events in the history of the village?
Q) What are some of the major changes that have taken place?
• Go over the events in the order that the community has placed them in, from top to bottom. Ensure that they are satisfied with the chronology, and that the participants have made all the modifications that they see fit.
• Add dates to the left side of the events listed. If it becomes difficult to reach a consensus about the date of a particular event, or if community members have forgotten when something took place, ask about the event’s time period in the context of other important moments.
• Encourage the participants to reflect upon these events. You could ask questions to solicit their further insights, such as “What changes have taken place”” and ‘What are the reasons for those changes?”
• Document the names of participants, facilitators, location details, dates, legends, etc. Triangulate the collected information with other elderly members of the community.
Note on the Concept of Time
At times, participants may be unsure about when particular events occurred. Using indicators such as “the year my first child was born,” is quite common and may create difficulty in establishing the precise time of an event. As an alternative, inquire about whether the community members can recall parallel regional or national events that occurred in that same time period.
Advantages and Limitations
One clear advantage of the time line is that it is a PRA exercise that prioritizes the participation of the elderly, and emphasizes the contributions that they have to make.
The exercise may become quite challenging if participants cannot recall when events took place. Despite that obstacle, it is critical that facilitators do not impose their concepts of time on local community members, because it will negatively impact the process. It is also important to keep the discussions focused, and to beware of digressions and tangents from the topics of conversation.

Trend Analyses:
A trend analysis captures changes and trends related to certain variables over different spans of time. Such an exercise investigates the trends in crop yield, livestock population, rainfall, etc. and provides meaningful insights into the dynamics of change within a community.


Applications
Trend analysis is useful to:
• Understand how the community perceives changes that have occurred over time.
• Explore problems that have become more pressing in the village and why.
• Discuss development interventions that have taken place in the past, and analyse the changes they have triggered.
• Create the appropriate environment for people to find solutions and plan for the future.



• Process
The suggested steps in the process of trend analysis are as follows:
• Select a group of local people interested in taking part in this exercise and explain to them the purpose of the exercise.
• Initiate a discussion on the present situation and focus on specific areas that you are interested in. Allow the participants to brainstorm a list of indicators related to your specific area of interest. For instance, a trend analysis related to forests might explore - density of trees, grass, wild animals, collection of minor forest products, income from forests, moisture content, etc.
• Ask them to select time landmarks acrosswhich the trends will be studied, and encourage participants to depict these landmarks visually.
• Ask participants to draw a table on the ground, using chalk. Ask them to represent from top to bottom the landmark years and from left to right various aspects such as density of trees, grass, wild animals, etc.
• Take up one indicator, and ask participants to describe today's situation in the relevant cell by using symbols, visuals, seeds, sticks, sand, etc. Move to the next time landmark and so on. After the completion of one indicator, go through the same process with all identified indicators.
• Encourage the participants to discuss and reflect upon their analysis. Some important points for discussion may include:
- Causes of the trends
- What indicators do local people have an effect on?
- How are certain indicators impacted with assistance from outside organizations?
• Copy the diagram onto a sheet of paper with details of the legend, the scoring system, the date, location, participants and facilitators.
• Triangulate the diagram and other findings generated during the discussion with others having knowledge about the topic.
Fixing Landmark Years
Establishing the landmark years is quite critical to the process of trend analysis. The landmark years should be 1) relevant to the topic of study, so that those particular years capture important changes and 2) easy for the participants to relate to. For example, if you want to study the trends related to forests in a village in India, you could consider time landmarks such as the year of Indian independence, the year of nationalization of forests, the year of the introduction of joint forest management, the present year, and any other years with some direct implication for forests. Please keep in mind, however, that it is critical for the participants to choose these landmark years.
Advantages and Limitations
Trend analysis is a useful way of understanding the local people's perception of change across certain indicators over a period of time. The discussion during the exercise, often uncovers the causes behind change that has occurred, along with solutions of how to improve the present situation.
Trend analysis is not very suitable in the initial stages of the PRA work as it can be too complex to manage without having a good understanding of local people's reality. At times, it is important to be aware of people’s tendency to glorify the past, which can lead to false analyses.

Historical Transact:
Applications
Historical transects are used to explore and represent the temporal dimension of people's reality. This tool has been commonly used to explore the changes in the availability of natural resources over a period of time. Historical transects also reveal potential causes behind the fluctuations in such resources. Once these factors are established, discussions can focus on preparing the communities for periods of such change.




Process
The suggested steps for a historical transect exercise are as follows:
• Invite a group of local people who are interested in natural resources and who are also familiar with the history of the community to participate in a discussion.
• Explain the purpose of the exercise to the participants. Identify the aspects that you would like to study from a historical perspective and also identify the time landmarks that you would like to use. Proactively involve the participants in the identification of these parameters.
• Encourage the participants to use symbols or visuals to depict the landmark years.
• Draw a grid on the floor and place the cards marked with the important factors that you would like to investigate horizontally and the time period cards vertically.
• Encourage a discussion among the participants on the historical transect. Some key points for discussion could include:
Q) What is it like today?
Q) What was it like earlier?
Q) What are the causes of change?
Q) Are the changes desirable or not?
Q) What can be done to improve the situation?
Q) Who will do it?
Q) What will the time frame be?
• Remember that the output is not the final product. The subsequent discussion and analysis are critical aspects of the process.
• Copy the diagram on a sheet of paper with all details. Thank the participants for their time and involvement.
• Triangulate the output with other members of the community.



Advantages and Limitations
Historical Transects provide a clear picture of the evolution of a number of different factors over time. Local people usually find the process easy to follow and the use of visuals and symbols to represent these events generates a great deal of interest. However, some facilitators find the exercise difficult to manage, particularly in communities with a strong oral tradition.

Seasonal Diagram:
A seasonal diagram (also called seasonal calendar) is used to understand changes in livelihood conditions, income availability, diseases, expenditure, and other entitlements of the poor, across different periods of the year.

Applications
Seasonal diagrams help to identify and analyse annual livelihood patterns, such as heavy workload periods, periods of relative ease, times of debt, etc. It is a helpful tool when planning interventions, so that one can understand prime periods of stress and ideal time-frames for project implementation. Seasonal calendars have also been used to discuss diversification of income by examining the differences in income sources and expenditures throughout the year.
In general, seasonal diagrams focus on livelihood and can be very useful in evaluateing incomes, expenditures, etc.

Process
A seasonal diagram exercise can be conducted as follows:
• Explain the objective of the exercise to the participants
• Inquire about the work that the participants are involved with at the moment. Ask them to identify other relevant months or time periods in the year.
• For each identified month or period of time, ask the participants to identify a unique characteristic of that period.
• Draw a grid with chalk on the floor. In the grid, draw at least 13 columns and as many rows as the number of items to be studied. Place the month cards along with their symbol in the top horizontal boxes in chronological order. On the vertical axis, add the activities whose seasonal variations will be explored.
• Ask the participants to show the period(s) of time during which the activity is taking place. Ask them to represent the magnitude of the activity using different numbers of seeds or sticks of different sizes. For example, if you are interested in identifying the availability of wage labour during various months, seeds can be used to indicate the number of days during which they can earn wages. Similarly, sticks of different sizes can be used to indicate the quantity of rainfall during the month.
• Go through the analysis with each indicator during each time period.
• Asking probing questions may be helpful in developing new insights and in-depth understanding. It brings new facts and relationships to light, which the community may not be aware of at a conscious level.
• Copy the diagram on a piece of paper with details of the participants, facilitators, locality, and date.
• Thank the participants for their active participation and valuable time.
• Later, triangulate the findings with other members of the community.
Note:
People usually have their own systems and units to keep track of time. Therefore, in any seasonal analysis, it is important to first understand the system of time used by the local people. The key questions that can help identify the patterns of local seasons and individual months can include:
• What month/season is this?
• What are the other months/seasons?
• What is the sequence of the months/seasons?
• What are the major activities during the different months/seasons?

Advantages and Limitations
Seasonal diagram is one of the most popular time-related PRA methods. It assists local people in understanding the interrelationships between various aspects of their lives. Not only are the activities that take place throughout the year described, but their relative importance to the community is also demonstrated.
Some facilitators find it difficult to adjust to the local concept of time. Facilitators also need to be conscious that the diagram output is not an end in itself. The subsequent analysis is critical as it identifies particular periods of stress, and allows for the community members to plan accordingly.

Daily Activity:
The Daily Activity Schedule is a popular PRA method used to explore the activities of an individual, group or community, on a daily basis. It depicts various activities that individuals or groups are involved in, along with the duration of those activities. The basis of temporal analysis is hours or periods of the day.

Applications
Daily activity schedule has been used to:
• Enhance people's understanding of who does what, when and for how long.
• Finalise timing of interventions and activities organized in the village, e.g., training classes, literacy classes, non-formal education, etc. for the target group based on their convenience and availability of leisure.
• Compare differences between men, women, children's daily schedule (e.g. gender differences in workload).
• Evaluate time allocations given to productive activities, household management, rest, etc.
• Evaluate seasonal variations in workload.


• Process
The possible steps include:
• Explain the objectives of the exercise to the participants. Try to keep the group homogenous and relatively small.
• Initiate a discussion about the activities that they perform in a normal day. Ask them to list the tasks or activities they perform from the time they wake up until the time they go to bed.
• Ask them to either write or preferably depict the activities by using visuals or symbols, and ask them to organize the activities in such a way that it indicates the duration of the activities.
• Discuss the emerging details with the participants. The key points for discussion may include: which activities they enjoy, how they feel they utilise time, etc.
• Keep a record of the proceedings and make a note of the points that emerge during the discussions.
• Copy the diagram on a piece of paper with details of the participants, facilitators, locality, and date.
• Thank the participants for their time and cooperation.
• Triangulate the output generated and also the outcomes of the discussion of the daily activity schedule. You can also observe the individuals or the group and verify whether the output depicts reality.
Advantages and Limitations
The Daily Activity Schedule exercise is a useful means to gender sensitize a community. The separate daily activity schedules of men and women create a basis for comparison, and allows community members to discuss workload allocation. This helps to create awareness about gender roles and clarify reasons for gender-based divisions of labour and control over resources.
Placing a person’s schedule in such a format does run the risk of routinising people’s daily lives. Although, on some level, daily activities schedules do reveal constructive patterns in the daily lives of a community.


Dream Map:
Dream maps can be used to understand the aspirations of local people. What distinguishes a dream map from other types of maps is that it is an exercise where community members conjecture about the future. Not only does it reveal what changes people would like to see in their lives and community, but the exercise may also uncover potential solutions to obstacles facing the community. Through this exercise, participants have the ability to build upon the dream map and initiate a discussion on planning activities for a better future.


Applications
A dream map can be used for:
• Understanding the dreams, aspirations, and perspectives of the local people.
• Planning interventions in relation to areas where people desire change.
• Monitoring the progress a community has made against the standards or goals set by the community members themselves.
You can also have dream maps made by different groups. This helps in arriving at the different perspectives of various groups about their future. Such dream maps can include:
• A dream map of a village drawn by men, women, and children separately
• A dream map of a school drawn by children, parents, and teachers separately
• A dream map of a house drawn by various family members
• A dream resource map of a village drawn by the landless and land-owning households.

• Process
The suggested steps for dream mapping include:
• Explain the purpose of the exercise to the participants and ask them to draw a map depicting the present situation.
• Once the first map is completed, ask the participants to visually illustrate their aspirations for the community.
• Once the dream map is made, showcase the two maps and initiate a discussion among the participants. The main points for discussion may include::
- The problems of the present situation and their causes
- The aspired state and ways of realizing it (including the actors who could help or hinder its realization
- Factors affecting the realization of their dream
- Their own role in the realization of their dreams
• Ask them to list indicators against which the realization of their dream can be monitored.
• Listen carefully to the ensuing discussion, and take note of important points. Copy the maps with all the relevant details. Thank the participants for their time and active involvement.
Advantages and Limitations
Dream mapping provides valuable insights into the present circumstances of a community, the aspirations of the people, and possible ways of improving the situation. The process of articulating their aspirations is a good motivator for many, as they can easily visualize what they are aiming for and find ways of achieving their dream. Thus, if well-facilitated, dream maps can significantly improve the quality of people's planning.
At times, it may be difficult to keep participants grounded in reality as they share their aspirations. It is quite easy to start fantasizing, and may also unnecessarily raise the expectations of community members. In addition, lack of commitment in following up on the outcomes of the dream map may further complicate the situation.














Rational Tools-


Cause-Effect Diagram - a visual representation of people's perceptions of the causes and effects of a problem

Network and Flow Diagrams - a picture

of the depth and diversity of people's contacts with institutions, groups, etc.

Venn Diagram - a visual analysis of the importance and closeness of various institutions to the participants as perceived by them

Matrix Scoring/Ranking Method - a preferences analysis method that allows for comparison of different elements against a range of criteria

Force Field Analysis - a representation and analysis of the positive and negative forces affecting a problem situation

Pie Diagram - a representation of the proportions of constituents in relation to the whole as allocated by the people can be useful to analyse income generation activities.

Livelihood Analysis - a temporal analysis of changes in livelihoods on an individual, household, or community scale

Cobweb Diagram - a visual tool used to show the relative performance of a number of individuals or groups on various dimensions

Body Mapping - a visual method used to understand people's perception of their bodies, the functions of various parts, and their understanding of various health issues
Pairwise Ranking - a variation on the matrix method used to rank and compare various elements with each other

Well-being Analysis - a comprehensive PRA exercise that generally uses a variety of PRA tools to evaluate people's well-being situation
Cause-effect Diagram:

A Cause-Effect diagram falls under the broad category of flow and linkage diagram methods. Also known as a Fishbone or Ishikawa diagram, it focuses on the causal factors of a phenomenon, activity, or problem, and the resulting effects.

Applications
Cause-effect diagrams have been used for the study and the analysis of a wide range of issues including illiteracy, alcoholism, the status of women, migration, drought, food insecurity, ill-health, etc. This method is often utilised when planning interventions to ensure that interventions directly address the root causes of pertinent issues.




Process
The suggested steps in the process of making a cause-effect diagram include:
• Decide on a topic and invite a group of people to get involved in the exercise.
• Introduce the topic to the participants and explain the purpose of the exercise.
• Ask the participants to describe the causes behind the phenomenon that is being investigated.
• Once the causes have been sufficiently explored, move on to discussing the related effects. Request the participants to visually portray the indicated causes and effects on cards.
• Place the causes on one side of the paper and the effects on the other side. Ask the participants to link the cards with chalk to illustrate their linkages and connectivity.
• Once the diagram is ready, ask the participants to make any required alterations. Note down the diagram on a sheet of paper with details.
• Ask the participants to explain the diagram to others in the community. Later, ask them to discuss the diagram and come up with their own findings and reflections.
• Thank the participants for their time and active participation.
• Triangulate the diagram with others in the village.
Advantages and Limitations
Cause-effect diagrams are actually very complex, and are generally not conducted at the beginning of a PRA exercise. Good facilitation is required to ensure that the participants have a clear understanding of the topic, and are therefore able to adequately address the subject matter. If facilitated well, this exercise can lead to incredible insight regarding the complexities behind an issue, and can therefore provide great feedback when planning appropriate development interventions.

Network and Flow Diagram:
Network diagrams explore the contacts that an individual, group, or community has with the outside world. This exercise explores who certain people interact with, the nature and quality of such relationships, the functions that such relationships serve, and the frequency of contact between the two parties. As in other PRA exercises, the network diagram provides great insights into the perceptions that community members hold about the nature of their relationships with outsiders.


Applications
This exercise is conducted to try and understand how people interact with others outside of their community. This provides communities an opportunity to reflect upon the relationships that they maintain, and possible ways to strengthen those networks and strategic alliances. This method is quite common when conducting farm profiles to analyse inter-linkages and flows related to agricultural inputs and outputs, farm owners and labourers, etc. Network diagrams can be made by individuals, households, groups, communities, organizations, etc.






Process
The following are suggested process steps for a network diagram:
• Explain the purpose of the exercise to the participants and initiate a group discussion on the topic.
• Draw a circle on a sheet of paper. Request that the participants depict their contacts with the outside world on small, individual cards.
• Spread the small cards around the circle, and ask the participants to arrange the cards in a meaningful way.
• Inquire about the nature of each relationship by asking questions such as:
Q) What function do the contacts perform?
Q) How frequent is the contact?
Q) What are the other relevant issues?
• Ask these pertinent questions about each contact. Request the participants to illustrate the different aspects of their relationship with each contact by using different symbols.
• Encourage the participants to discuss their findings.
• Copy the diagram on paper, and indicate the names of the participants and facilitators, date and time of the exercise, as well as a legend.
• Triangulate the diagram and findings with other community members.
Advantages and Limitations
Using the findings of a network diagram, strategies can be developed for strengthening linkage and alliances with critical outsiders. If the quality of particular relationships is poor, the network diagram can also assist community members in understanding why that is so. Despite its potential advantages, the network diagram is quite a complex process, the facilitator therefore needs to be particularly conscious to not dominate the exercise.
Venn Diagram:
Venn diagrams provide a visual representation of the relationships and linkages between people and institutions. Circles of different sizes are allocated to different institutions, groups, departments, or programmes, based on their importance. The bigger the circle, the more important the institution or individual. The distance between circles for example, may represent the degree of influence or contact between institutions or individuals.


Applications
The Venn diagram method has been found very useful to study and understand local people's perceptions of local institutions, individuals, programmes, etc. The method provides valuable insights into power structures, decision-making processes, etc. Venn diagrams are particularly useful when analysing:
• Various institutions and individuals and their influence on local people
• The influence of various groups and individuals in the locality
• The relative importance and usefulness of services and programmes
• Social hierarchy in a locality etc.





• Process
The suggested steps in the process of doing a Venn diagram are as follows:
• Explain the purpose of the exercise to the participants.
• Ask them to list local institutions, individuals, groups etc. related to the research topic.
• Ask them to write and/or depict the things indicated on small cards.
• Ask the participants to place the cards in a descending order according to the perceived importance of the institution. Encourage the participants to make changes, if necessary.
• Ask them to assign paper circles of different sizes (cut and kept ready) to the institutions or individuals. The bigger the circle, the more important the institution or individual is for them. Paste the circles and the name cards on paper.
• Draw a circle on the ground representing the community. In the context of a specific variable, for instance accessibility, request the participants to place circles in relation to the circle of the community. The circles should be close together if the ranking is high, while those ranking low on that variable can be kept far away.
• In some cases there are institutions/individuals that interact closely in which case they could be placed overlapping each other. The closer the circles, the higher the degree of interaction.
• Ask the participants to discuss and explain why they placed the cards in such a manner. Note down the points of discussion and explanations.
• Copy the output onto a sheet of paper. Record the name of the village, participants, date, legends, what the size of the circle represents and what the distance represents.
• Thank the participants for their active involvement and time.
• Triangulate the diagram and the major findings with other community members.
Advantages and Limitations
The Venn diagram is a simple but useful visual tool to study complex relationships between various institutions, groups, individuals, programmes, etc. Despite its usefulness, it can be quite difficult to facilitate. If the facilitator approaches the exercise one step at a time, the Venn diagram is quite manageable and neither the participants nor the facilitators get ahead of themselves in the process. The Venn diagram may become a difficult exercise to conduct when the participants are in the presence of representatives from the institutions that are being critiqued. Therefore, it is important for the facilitator to be aware of these dynamics, so that the participants are able to be honest.



Matrix Scoring/Matrix Ranking:
Matrix scoring/ranking is a preferences analysis used for comparing different elements against a range of criteria. While simple ranking can be used as an indicator, more complex matrix and scoring techniques enables a criteria based indepth analysis.

Applications
Matrices have been applied as part of PRA within almost all contexts. The aims of ranking, scoring, and creating matrices are to discover individuals or groups relative prioritization of components of a single issue. For example, matrices allow you to assess various institutions, schemes and provisions on different parameters, in relative as well as absolute terms. This tool can be used to discuss the following issues:
• Credit, preference for sources, access, problems, preference for use
• Income generation, preference for activity, problems
• Project preferences, priorities, interventions
• Institutions, service provision
• Health facilities, food and nutrition, diseases, symptoms
• Livestock, preferences, fodder types, species (for milk, etc.), diseases
• Agriculture, soil types, production problems, species, varieties, trial performances, pest damage, etc.




• Process
The suggested steps in the process of matrix scoring/ranking are as follows:
• Identify the topic you want to discuss. Also identify the individuals or group with whom you would like to do the matrix, and clearly explain the purpose of the exercise.
• Initiate a discussion on the topic.
• The next step is to generate criteria for assessment. If a large number of criteria come up, discuss them with the participants and decide upon a few important ones. Ensure that the criteria are all of the same type (either all are positive or all are negative). The use of positive and negative criteria in the same exercise can be confusing .
• Draw up a matrix with the items/options top to bottom and criteria left to right. Keep in mind that the comparisons are made criterion-wise and not item-wise. Then, ensure that each criterion chosen has been ranked or scored against all of the items. Repeat until all of the criteria have been ranked/ scored in this way, and properly recorded.


Ranking Method
The basic technique is ranking, where elements are placed in order of preference, by writing, drawing or moving cards representing individual elements. Preferences from 1 to x can be discussed in this way:
• Take up a criterion and ask the participants to rank or score the objects on the basis of that criterion. Questions which can help ranking could include:
- Which is the best?
- Which is next best?
- Which is worst?
- Of the remaining ones, which is better?
• Record the rankings directly onto the matrix. You can also use a card sorting method instead of this approach, particularly when you have a large number of options.
Scoring Method
• You can opt for fixed scoring on a 1 to 10 scale. Take up a criterion and ask the participants to give scores to each of the items in such a way that the items scoring high for that particular criterion get high scores and others get low scores depending on the magnitude in the range 10 (highest) and 1 (lowest). Record the scores in the relevant cells using flexible material like seeds, pebbles, etc.
• After scores are given for all the objects on one criterion, move to the next criteria and continue on till all are covered.
• Listen carefully to the discussions that the participants engage in while deciding on the scores/ranks.
• Request the participants to reflect upon their findings.
Notes on the process:

'Overall' Criterion - Some facilitators have a tendency to add up all the scores for each object across all criteria to arrive at an overall picture. This is wrong because it implies that all criteria have equal weight for the participants. If you want to know how the matrix items are rated as a whole, a better option is to add another 'overall' criterion and to get the participants to rank/score each item.
People's Criteria - There is a temptation among the facilitators to determine the criteria for the matrix method themselves, especially when the research or project demands information on certain pre-fixed criteria. At times, the local participants may not come up with many criteria. They may be interested in a few criteria only while you may have a number in mind. However, it is important and necessary to use the criteria of the people and not yours if you want to capture their own reality.
Arriving at the Criteria - You can arrive at the criteria in different ways. One way is to go through a quick pair-wise ranking. As the participants tell you the preference for one over the other, ask them the reasons for this. Go over to the next pair, ask for their preferences, and ask for the reasons for their preferences. The reasons are nothing but the criteria. Identify as many criteria as possible. If a very large number of criteria are generated, facilitate prioritization by the participants. Take up only the most relevant criteria for matrix ranking/scoring. Another way of arriving at the criteria is to ask the participants themselves to list the points on which they would like to compare and assess the items. A discussion on this can help generate criteria. If a large number of criteria are generated, ask the participants to prioritize and select the most relevant ones.
Analysis and Reflection - Matrix ranking and scoring is much more than just the output. A large amount of information can be lost if one does not record the points discussed by the participants when selecting and describing each criteria. The facilitator should encourage the people to give a detailed presentation of their findings. Do not hesitate to ask questions at any point in time to make sure that you fully understand the information provided by the people.
Advantages and Limits
Matrices have been used at all stages in the project cycle, from appraisal, as a planning tool, and for evaluation, and is one of the most versatile methods in PRA. The subject matter does not restrict the use of matrices, and criteria are fully flexible, depending on the context and the participants.
Good facilitation is critical to the success of this exercise, and there are still a number of worrying cases where facilitators appear to have pushed their own criteria onto villagers or where information from semi-structured interviews is taken away and drawn up into matrix after the event, with no feedback.




Force Field Analyses:
Applications
Force-field analysis is a technique used to identify and analyse the positive and negative forces affecting a problem. It has been used in diverse contexts, including organizational change and self-development.

Process
The circumstances, location, profile of the participants, etc. will determine the exact nature of the process. Nonetheless, the suggested process steps are as follows:
• Indicate the topic of discussion on a sheet of paper. Try to make it as quantifiable as possible for the participants.
• Ask them to visualise the problem in a state of temporary equilibrium, which is affected by two sets of opposing forces - one favouring change (driving forces) and the other opposing them (restraining forces).
• Each of these forces can be illustrated on small cards. Different colour cards can be used for driving and restraining forces.
• Draw a line through the centre of the paper. Spread the cards with restraining forces below the line and those with driving forces above the line.
• Request the participants to assign weights to each of the forces. They should position each force card at varying distances from the problem-line/present status line in such a way that the distance denotes the 'strength' of the force. The greater the distance, the greater effect that particular force has on the problem.
• Check if they are satisfied with the diagram, then ask them to discuss how they can change the situation. Which of the driving forces can be reinforced and which restraining forces can be diminished?
• Smaller cards, preferably of different colours, can be used to write down possible interventions for each of the driving/restricting forces so as to increase/reduce its magnitude. Each of the possible interventions can be further weighed in light of various factors e.g. resources available, time, ideology of the organisation etc.
• Copy the diagram onto a piece of paper with all the details.
Advantages and Limitations
Force Field Analysis is a widely used PRA tool because it is an effective way to uncover the pertinent forces that affect pressing problems. The discussions establish an understanding about the forces that most effectively bring about change, and therefore enables the community to capitalise upon that knowledge.





Pie Diagram:
A pie diagram is generally used as a tool to present information in a visual form that is based on factual data. This tool is unique in that it deals with both factual and perceptual data.

Applications
Among other things, the pie diagram has been used to illustrate:
• The population composition according to: caste, religion, tribe, occupation, literacy levels, etc.
• Household details: general income and expenditure, cost of inputs and returns, debts, etc.



• Process
Various ways of making a pie diagram include:
• Collecting details according to differentiated categories, and then using that information to prepare a pie diagram. For example, during a social map, each household is marked according to characteristics such as caste composition and well-being categories. These compiled figures from a community can be easily transferred to a pie diagram.
• Using movable lines in the form of sticks, strings, etc., to mark the approximate proportion of various sections of the pie. These estimations are not based on concrete data, but are perceptions expressed by the community after due deliberation.
The '100 Seeds' Technique
The 100 seeds technique is a simple method used for understanding people’s perceptions about the relevant components of an entire issue. Suppose you are interested in finding out the proportion of expenditure involved with a child’s education. The suggested process steps include:
• Explain the purpose of the exercise to the participants.
• Ask the participants (may be a family in this case) to list out all possible heads of expenditure on their child's education.
• Give the participants one hundred seeds, and ask them to assume that one hundred seeds is the total expenditure on their child’s education. Ask them to distribute the seeds, and place them on the cards depicting expenditure categories.
• Count the number of seeds that have been placed in each category. These numbers will provide you with the percentage of expenditure which can be easily converted into a pie diagram.
• Request the participants to reflect upon their findings.
• Copy the output on a piece of paper, with details about the participants, facilitators, location, time, and make an index indicating symbols used.
• Thank the participants for their cooperation and time.


Livelihood Analysis:
Livelihood analysis is used to examine and depict the livelihoods of individuals or groups. The focus is on income, expenditure, food consumption, coping with crisis, livestock, agricultural production, employment related issues, etc. A comprehensive livelihood analysis uses one or more PRA tools to arrive at a detailed understanding of the livelihood circumstances of an individual or a group.

Applications
The livelihood analysis provides detailed insights into the monthly or annual patterns of an individual's or a group's livelihood. Two main categories of analysis can be considered: one at the community level and one at the individual level. Firstly, occupational and employment issues are explored at the community level, which provides a profile of the area. Ownership of livestock and agricultural production, for example, can also be discussed with reference to the entire community. Secondly, individual livelihoods are examined, which tend to focus on income, expenditure etc., as well as food consumption and distribution within the household
Process
Many of the PRA tools described in this CD-ROM can be used for livelihood analysis. A very commonly used approach is to start a livelihood analysis by making a social map, and then continue the process by identifying sources of income or expenditure for the households on the map. Different indicators can be used to decipher relative levels of income and expenditure for each household. A similar process can be conducted for other factors related to livelihood, including different types of employment, etc. These characteristics of the households should be indicated clearly on the social map
Advantages
In actuality, livelihood analysis is not one specific tool, but rather the adaptation of multiple tools to serve a specific purpose. The utilisation of multiple tools also allows for a strong, comparative analysis between individuals, between men and women, and between different forms of livelihood.



Cobweb Diagram:
Cobweb diagram - also referred to as spider diagram, participation wheel or evaluation wheel - is a visual tool often used to show the relative performance of different groups on a number of indicators. Each arm of the diagram represents one indicator and lines of different colours or patterns are used to denote the performance of different individuals or groups in relation to those specific indicators.

Applications
Cobweb diagrams are commonly used in participatory evaluations.
More specifically, spider diagrams can be used to:
• Compare the performance of different groups on various indicators (preferably 5-6)
• Evaluate the performance of one group or individual over a period of time on different indicators
• Conduct participatory evaluations and monitoring of development projects. If the size of the cobweb increases over time, it means the performance of the project has been improving.
• Evaluate participatory development projects, such as evaluating the status of self -help groups


• Process
The steps for doing a spider diagram will depend to some extent on the topic and whose comparative performance you are interested in analysing and recording. For example, if you are interested in evaluating the performance of five self-help groups (SHGs) in a village, the steps would include:
• Call for a meeting of representatives and active members of the five SHGs. Explain to them the purpose of the exercise and initiate a discussion with them about how the groups are performing.
• Ask them to identify the indicators on which these groups can be evaluated. The cobweb diagram works best with 5-6 indicators, therefore, you may like to arrive at the 5-6 most useful indicators through the discussion.
• Once you have decided on a set of indicators, the next step would be to draw a centre point on a large piece of paper or on the ground, and draw as many lines as indicators identified. Write the name of each indicator, one on each arm. Each of the indicators could also be depicted by visuals or symbols.
• Now ask them to give a score to each group on different indicators. You can follow any system. For example, a scale of 0 to 5 - where 0 means low and 5 means high - may be easy to follow. The scores for each group can be plotted on the arms. Link the points/score on different indicators for each group, using a particular colour or live pattern.
• Facilitate a discussion on the output, and clarify any lingering doubts.
• Copy the diagram on paper with all relevant details, including names of the participants, names of the facilitators, the date, and the location.
Advantages and Limitations
Cobweb diagrams are simple, visual exercises. It is an accessible tool for many community members because of the effective use of symbols.
Unfortunately, cobweb diagrams are unable to process large amounts of information. The complexity of the diagram increases with the number of items, which makes it difficult to interpret. In such cases, matrix scoring or ranking is a more appropriate PRA tool.



Body Mapping:
Body mapping is a visual method used to understand people’s perceptions of their bodies. It is interesting to understand that some people’s perceptions of the human body, its parts and its functions are quite different from the conventional scientific view. At times, attempts to pass on clear messages on health, diseases, birth control and contraception are not very successful because of this differing understanding between local people and outside agents about the human body.


Applications
The main purpose of body mapping is to organize discussions around issues of reproductive health, contraception, sexual health, and the general functions of different body parts. This exercise is also a method to probe sensitize subjects, such as women’s control over their bodies, strategies to cope with body ailments, etc.

Process
The steps in the process of mapping the body will vary considerably according to the cultural context, the objectives of the exercise, and the type of participants. Nonetheless, a few suggested process steps are:
• Explain the purpose of the exercise to the participants.
• Ask them to draw an outline of the body of a woman (or the body of a man if the group is male) on the ground with a chalk or a stick.
• Depending on the purpose of the exercise, ask the participants to depict the parts and processes you are interested in, e.g. where conception takes place, how the foetus grows over the months, etc.
• Encourage the participants to explain the map in detail, and also reflect on the findings. Ask probing questions revealing who they feel has control over their bodies and how that control could be increased.
• Copy the diagram onto a piece of paper with all details, including the names of the participants, the facilitators, the date and the location.
Advantages and Limitations
Body mapping has been found particularly effective when introducing sensitive subjects. It is also useful when identifying common terms in the local language for body parts, and grasping the locals' understanding of how certain body parts function. The body mapping exercise is not an effort to correct these local beliefs, but instead is an opportunity to gain more insight into the rationale behind these beliefs.
In many communities, discussing and illustrating private body parts is a cultural taboo. Therefore, it is critical for the facilitator to be aware of these customs before embarking upon such an exercise. It is quite common to conduct this exercise separately among men and women, so that community members are more comfortable openly discussing these issues.




Pairwise Ranking:
Pairwise Comparison Matrix is an adaptation of the matrix method used for a general comparison of various objects across different criteria. In a pair ranking method, two attributes or factors are compared at a time. Then, by looking at the frequency of people’s preferences, certain pertinent patterns are revealed.

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Application
If you are faced with a situation where:
• You want to determine people's preferences or priorities between a few options.
• You want to understand their decision- making processes and their criteria for arriving at decisions.


• Process
• Identify the topic of your study. Express your interest in understanding the problems of the villagers and the relative prioritizations of certain problems.
• Request the participants to list critical obstacles facing their community.
• Once the list is complete, ask the participants to illustrate the indicated problems on small cards.
• Ask them to draw a grid on the ground with as many rows and columns as the number of problems listed.
• Keep one set of the cards depicting the problems in the grid from top to bottom. Keep one other set of cards from left to right in the top.
• Now take up the first card and compare it with all the other cards. The question you ask the participants for comparing the two items will depend on the nature of your study. Remember that it is important to use the same question every time you compare two items. Also, you should ensure at the beginning that the participants understand the question. Some helpful questions may include:
- Of 'A' and 'B', which one do you like/prefer?
- Of 'A' and 'B', which is more important?
- Of 'A' and 'B', which one will you give priority to?
• The responses need to be recorded in the matrix. You can write or depict the preferred item in the relevant cell. Once you have initiated the process and the local people have understood it, you can hand it over to them. Your job will be to copy the matrix on paper and to listen carefully to the ensuing discussion.
• At the end of the exercise, count how many times each of the items have been preferred. Note it down against the item at the end of the row. The higher the frequency for that item, the higher the preference for that item.
Advantages and Limitations
Pairwise ranking method is useful as an exploratory exercise. When you have little understanding of a particular area, it can prove helpful in enumerating dimensions that need to be further explored. Also, this exercise provides insight into the decision-making process of a group in a very short period of time, which would not be possible with a casual conversation or by direct observation.
Pairwise ranking method has certain disadvantages as well. One is that it can be too simplistic at times. Decision-making is a very complex process that may require more sophisticated tools, such as matrix scoring for a multi-dimensional analysis.






Well-being Analysis:
Well-being ranking, or well-being analysis, is commonly used for ranking and grouping households and communities on the basis of income, wealth, and other perceivable well-being criteria. Well-being ranking is a relative and not an absolute assessment of people's wealth or well-being, and therefore provides insights on how the poor differentiate themselves amongst each other.


Applications
Well-being ranking method has been used for different purposes including:
• Identifying and classifying households or groups based on relative well-being in the areas of income, wealth, assets, status, etc.
• Studying inter-household and inter-group socio-economic disparities.
• Arriving at an understanding of people's criteria and indicators for wealth, well-being, development, etc.
• Studying the impact of interventions or well-being programmes for different groups/households and developing a baseline for monitoring and evaluation.


• Process
Well-being ranking can be done in different ways including:
• Card sorting method
• Social mapping method
Card Sorting Method
• Arrange for a list of households in the locality where you want to do the well-being ranking.
• Write the names of the head of households on small cards - one household per card.
• Ask the participants to rank the households based on the well-being of the households concerned. A good way to start the process would be: "Who's the happiest person in the village?"
• While dealing with small villages with households ranging from 30-40, ask the participants to arrange the households in descending order of well-being.
• As the participants arrange the household cards, ask them why they have placed the cards in a particular order. This gives you the criteria participants are using to do the well-being ranking.
• When dealing with larger villages, the above method may be too time-consuming. In such cases, ask the participants to sort out the household cards into representative categories of well-being. Ensure that the participants discuss amongst themselves and arrive at their own well-being categories.
• Find out the characteristics of each of the categories. If the participants have not already named the well-being categories, ask them to do so.
• Note down the number of households falling in each category of well-being. Add the necessary basic details on each household card, including the head of the household. Also prepare a category-wise list of the households with details of assets, income, occupation, etc.
Social Mapping Method
A simple technique of doing a well-being ranking relies on the social map. Suppose the participants come out with five categories of well-being using symbols or colour codes; the houses could then be classified directly on the map itself by the participants. Of course, the criteria of well-being for each category should be developed by the participants.
Advantages and Limitations
A clear advantage of the well-being ranking is that it focuses more on quality of life characteristics, and actively avoids an economic-centred analysis of well-being.
Well-being ranking exercise is based on the assumption that the participants are experts about the relative well-being of their village's households. This assumption proves to be incorrect in certain cases. In large localities or communities, and in urban or semi-urban areas, it is difficult to find participants who have an extensive understanding of different community groups. One way to deal with this problem is to conduct the well-being ranking for neighbourhoods with only the local inhabitants.
Wealth, income, assets, etc., are generally considered sensitive topics and are not discussed openly in many communities, therefore, well-being ranking can become a difficult exercise. There is also a strong tendency amongst people to present themselves as poorer than they really are in order to be eligible for benefits. Participants believe that households identified as poor during the PRA exercise will get benefits and subsidies and hence most of the households make attempts to be treated as poor. In this regard, it is critical that the facilitator does not create false expectations among the participants about the outcome of the exercise.

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