Institute of Development Studies
Revolutions in Development Inquiry
- Robert Chambers - 2008
- ISBN 1 84407 625 3
- 192 pages
- Printed price £8.99
This book draws together and reviews the revolutionary changes in the methodologies and methods of development inquiry that have occurred in the past forty years, and reflects on their transformative potential for the future. It is for all who seek to be abreast of these revolutionary breakthroughs in approaches and methods of inquiry of recent years, and what Chambers calls their 'unlimited potentials.' Chambers covers the terrain from the 'dinosaurs' of large-scale multi-subject questionnaire surveys to the biases of rural development tourism through the brief rural visits of urban-based professionals. Next he examines the explosive proliferation of methodologies and methods of recent years including rapid rural appraisal (RRA) and participatory rural appraisal (PRA) with its group-visual analysis. He also covers and explores the dramatic developments in the still largely unrecognised fields of participatory numbers and statistics, and of participatory mapping including participatory GIS. Chambers shows how these can empower local people and at the same time provide rigorous and valid substitutes for some more traditional methods of inquiry. Also presented is a repertoire for offsetting the biases of the urban trap which has become so serious for officials and aid agency staff. Ultimately he points out that we are now in a different space, methodologically, from a few years ago. He makes the case that participatory methodologies can be transformative and drive personal, professional and institutional change.