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Reversing the paradigm: quantification, participatory methods and pro-poor impact assessment

  • Linda Mayoux

    (Institute for Development Policy and Management, University of Manchester, Harold Hankins Building, The Precinct Centre, Oxford Rd, Manchester, M13 9QH, UK)

  • Robert Chambers

    (Institute for Development Policy and Management, University of Manchester, Harold Hankins Building, The Precinct Centre, Oxford Rd, Manchester, M13 9QH, UK)

Recent debates about integrated impact assessment have tended to treat participatory approaches and methods as a fashionable frill added on to more 'expert' quantitative and qualitative investigation. This paper argues that, far from being an optional add-on, participatory approaches, methods and behaviours are essential for the new agendas of pro-poor development and 'improving practice'. Recent evidence shows that participatory methods can generate accurate quantitative data as well as capturing local priorities, different experiences of poor people and potential for innovation in relation to causality and attribution. They can also be cost-effective for focusing quantitative and qualitative investigation. The main challenge is ensuring that mainstreaming them does not compromise their role in giving poor women and men more voice in development priorities, policies and practice. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of International Development.

Volume (Year): 17 (2005)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 271-298

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Handle: RePEc:wly:jintdv:v:17:y:2005:i:2:p:271-298
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  1. Caroline Moser & Cathy McIlwaine, 2000. "Urban Poor Perceptions of Violence and Exclusion in Colombia," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 15182, September.
  2. Deepa Narayan & Robert Chambers & Meera K. Shah & Patti Petesch, 2000. "Voices of the Poor : Crying Out for Change," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 13848, September.
  3. Kabeer, Naila, 2001. "Conflicts Over Credit: Re-Evaluating the Empowerment Potential of Loans to Women in Rural Bangladesh," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 63-84, January.
  4. Hulme, David, 2000. "Impact Assessment Methodologies for Microfinance: Theory, Experience and Better Practice," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 79-98, January.
  5. Robert Chambers, 2007. "Participation and Poverty," Development, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 50(2), pages 20-25, June.
  6. Gladwin, Christina H. & Peterson, Jennifer S. & Mwale, Abiud C., 2002. "The Quality of Science in Participatory Research: A Case Study from Eastern Zambia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 523-543, April.
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