Conceptual, methodological and institutional issues in participatory livestock production research
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Livestock Research for Rural Development;14(4): 1-21
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/33049
Internet URL: http://www.lrrd.org/lrrd14/4/mort144.htm
This article discusses major issues that confront attempts to introduce participatory methodologies into livestock production research, based on experiences during two projects in East Africa, and interviews with researchers and others in the region. The extent to which research can be participatory is strongly influenced by the institutional contexts in which it is carried and used, and some of the institutions involved are briefly surveyed. The article then discusses conceptual issues; including the notion of degrees of participation, the underdevelopment of participatory research in livestock compared to crop science, and the reluctance of existing livestock science to deal with multiple-output systems. The relations between participatory research, whole-farm research and livelihoods research, and the role of economic analysis are also explored. Methodological issues at various points of the project cycle are discussed, including: the need to tailor methods to agreed objectives, the role of â€œPRA toolsâ€, the specific problems relating to participatory trials with livestock, and the role of on-station trials. Institutional issues such as funding procedures and timescales, and reward systems for researchers are generic to all participatory research, but they are perhaps felt more strongly in the livestock sector where they combine with livestock-specific issues.