Methods – Toolbox

Methods used and developed during the project included:

1. Regional orientation, training and analysis workshops.
Workshops were an important feature of the project. The initial project planning workshop in Lusaka in June 2002 provide an opportunity to build the project team; develop a shared understanding of basic agricultural biodiversity assessment issues, economic and policy-related aspects of on-farm conservation, and in participatory project evaluation approaches; develop and field-test the research methodology for the case studies; to develop an appropriate information strategy for the project (including form and timing of outputs); and select relevant projects as case studies, for detailed participatory field work involving all project stakeholders (farmers, staff, collaborating institutions) to learn lessons about pre-conditions for success. Cases were chosen on the basis of key criteria relating to case study project focus, impact, length of operation, etc.

Preliminary analysis of the case studies was carried out by individual project teams, and recorded in the case-study reports. Then the entire team met in Addis Ababa in February 2003 to complete the case study repeorts, work together to synthesise the main conclusions, develop the initial project web site, and decide how to complete the remainder of the analysis and information production.

2. Field research methods
A range of field research methods were used and further developed during the case-study field work. Since resources for field-work were limited – each case study had to be completed by a team of two people in only one week – they focused on simple quick participatory approaches to gather quantitative and qualitative information approaches. Each case study team included one person with first-hand knowledge of the project, and another from another country. Each team also included one biodiversity specialist and one person with practical experience of using participatory approaches.

Field research methods included:

Semi-Structured Interviews: To obtain detailed and specific information from focus-groups or individuals.
Scoring: A simple participory tool to generate, compare and prioritise a list of success criteria for the project case studies, which will alllow quantitative analysis of data across different case studies.
Institutiuonal Mapping: A participatory exercise to develop an inventory of the institutions working with, contributing to and supporting the project; to highlight the institutions’ roles and inter institutional linkages; and to determine the relevance and importance of the institutions to the project.
Stakeholder Analysis: To identify stakeholders, their affiliations, roles, interactions, level of interest in the project and the likely impact of the project on them. This approach will help in identifying which stakeholders should be approached to gain maximum relevant information for the project objective.
Timelines: To find out the events/history of an on-farm conservation project, in general.
Trend Analysis: To establish changes/patterns in key indicators for abc within the project over a fixed period of time, and to try to understand how milestones have influenced these changes/patterns. (It is complementary with scoring).

To ensure that coparable information was collected from each case study and to simplify analysis across the case studies, team members were asked to record their results in simple Debriefing Documents following a common format and any other information, thoughts, questions and comments in Diaries. Each case-study team was also given a camera to document findings pictorially.