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Participatory Data Collection

Regarding participatory methods of data collection: Are there any other examples of participatory data being used in decision-making processes? If yes, how have the data been used to make policies more inclusive? Furthermore, how does the integration of participatory data into policy-making processes shape/impact the lives of a certain target group (e.g. disabled persons)?

Expert 09 Jul 2018 12:11

I am not sure what you mean by "other examples" of participatory data collection. What do you already have in mind?
Principally the assessment of any inclusive policy (at the design state, during implementation or after completion) involves the collection of data from (potential) beneficiaries.
This is however not what is meant with participatory methods.
The latter term should be preferably used to capture those approaches that involve the consultation of beneficiaries as to how to address their needs. Such consultation can be done by way of surveys but preferably through face-to-face interviews, group interviews or focus groups.

Expert 09 Jul 2018 12:48

Participatory methods of data collection are indispensable instruments to provide evidence for policy development. One of the most common and effective approaches used in this regard is Beneficiary Assessment (BA), which attempts to assess the impact of certain policy/ policies on the beneficiaries and drive understanding of their needs.

09 Jul 2018 14:09

Thank you for your explanations. I was thinking about the Kota Kita project on Participatory Data Collection for Disability-Inclusive City Profile ( I would like to know if there are any examples of similar projects that used the consultation of beneficiaries in a participatory way?

Expert 09 Jul 2018 19:30

dear Giulio,

There are many examples of projects using the consultation of beneficiaries in a participatory way, so many in fact that it is difficult to know where to start with your query. Perhaps the best thing to do is to point you in the direction of some resources where you will be able to find examples of projects which have used participatory data and methods. The World Bank  has a huge repository of  reports on participation and the use of  participatory methods in research and development policy and practice. Another big repository is ELDIS, where you can find many similar case studies. One example I can name from my own experience's work in Mexico with GIZ and the Mexican National Commission for Natural Protected Areas, using a participatory vulnerability analysis Toolkit to identify vulnerability to climate impacts and options for ecosystems-based adaptation for people living in protected areas in the Sierra Madre Oriental, Mexico - known in Spanish as PAC-CESMO.

But this example precisely illustrates Liana's point: participation is not really about consultation, it is about allowing people to be involved in the decision-making process. Our toolkit was designed to allow people to help us build the research together, although even then it was more us rather than the inhabitants of the protected areas who were designing research agenda. The real test was the extent to which the feedback from this toolkit was incorporated into the policy, and the extent to which people were allowed to be part of the decision-making process for designing that policy. That's where participation can be defined in opposition to consultation, and where questions around how emancipatory participatory methods really start to arise. A huge amount has been written which looks into these questions, but two of the most relevant resources would be the edited books, Participation: the New Tyranny? Edited by Bill Cooke and Uma Kothari, aand also Participation: from Tyranny to Transformation? Edited by Sam Hickey and Giles Mohan.

Expert 13 Jul 2018 15:44

Just to reiterate what others have said, the point of participation is intended (though not always put into practice) to include affected communities in decision-making, priority-setting, etc. There are a huge number of toolkits which can be adapted for your purposes, but to give some more examples to those from above:

There are plenty of others, and you can find some for issues around disability in particular