For experienced and inexperienced researchers and practitioners alike, this engaging book opens up new perspectives on conducting fieldwork in the Global South. Following an inter–disciplinary and inter-generational approach, Understanding Global Development brings into dialogue reflections on fieldwork experiences by leading scholars along with accounts from early career researchers. Contributions are organised around six key issues: • Meaningful participation in fieldwork • Working in dangerous environments • Gendered experiences of fieldwork • Researching elites • Conducting fieldwork with marginalised people • Fieldwork in development practice. The experience–led discussion of each of the topics conveys a sense of what it actually feels like to be out in the field and provides readers with useful insights and practical advice. A relational framework highlights issues relating to power, identity and ethics in development fieldwork, and encourages reflection on how researcher engagement with the field shapes our understanding of global development.
Encountering the Field
[Page 26]Section I: Introduction
Over the past few decades there has been a proliferation of new fieldwork methodologies to explore socioeconomic change in ‘development contexts’. Beginning in the 1980s, the emergence of Rapid Rural Appraisal (RRA) shifted development fieldwork away from questionnaire surveys and in-depth ethnography towards flexible and open-ended methods aimed at quick assessments of local contexts from the perspectives of local people. In the 1990s, RRA evolved into Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA), which seeks to actively include research participants in the design, implementation and analysis phases of research projects. This in turn transformed into Participatory Learning and Action (PLA), which stresses the importance of continual reflection on researcher behaviour and the sharing of knowledge with research participants. Participatory approaches and ...