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The Batteries Methodology for measuring quality of life

Improving people’s quality of life is the ultimate goal for many international development programs, even though it might not be stated as such. Having a high quality of life just means having a full and happy life. For example, programs to increase people’s income or health only do this so those ... Read More »

Using the ‘Most Significant Change’ (MSC) Technique to measure the intangible

In development, it is essential to measure if programs are having the desired impact. However, intangible goals such as ’empowerment’, ‘leadership skills’ and ‘confidence’ are difficult to measure with normal quantitative monitoring tools. This is particularly true in social change programs where improvements in attitudes, behaviour and beliefs take place ... Read More »

Doing Focus Groups – Book Review

I was recently involved in a frustrating debate with a World Bank development economist where qualitative research was dismissed as ‘not reliable and anecdotal’. Thankfully, this view now appears to be in the minority, as international NGOs and UN agencies are increasingly recognising and utilising qualitative research methods such as ... Read More »

Using the Bristol stool scale to measure diarrhea

According to the WHO, diarrhea is “the passage of three or more loose or liquid stools per day, or more frequently than is normal for the individual”. Diarrhea is often a symptom of a gastrointestinal infection which can be caused by bacteria, virus or parasite. It can also be a ... Read More »

Participatory Workshops – Book Review

As a follow-up to our previous book review of the Facilitator’s Guide to Participatory Decision-Making, I decided to review a facilitation book that was written specifically for an international development audience. Participatory Workshops: A Sourcebook of 21 Sets of Ideas & Activities, by Robert Chambers, is a collection of workshop activities ... Read More »

The Atlas of Global Inequalities – Book Review

The Atlas of Global Inequalities by Ben Crow and Suresh Lodha is one book in a series of international development atlases published by The University of California Press. The same series includes titles such as The Atlas of Human Rights and The Atlas of Climate Change. The purpose of the atlas is to ... Read More »

Facilitator’s Guide to Participatory Decision-Making – Book Review

Everyone likes to have a “participatory” project. Donors like it because it makes them sound like they’re supporting locally led development; international NGOs like it because it makes them feel better about being outsiders; and local NGOs like it because the more participatory a project is the more donors want ... Read More »

Measuring poverty using the Progress out of Poverty Index®

Photo by hdptcar

The $1.25 per day international poverty line is the most commonly used measure of poverty. International agencies use it, donors use it, and many NGOs and microfinance institutions want to make sure their programs are reaching people below this line. Unfortunately, determining whether a family actually lives on less than ... Read More »

The Survey Research Handbook – Book Review

Survey Research Handbook

The humble survey is a cornerstone of international development. As Dave Algoso from Stuff Expat Aid Workers Like puts it “The savvy Expat Aid Worker manages an array of tools to help implement his or her important work…Surveys provide the EAW with raw data that allows her and her employer to demonstrate beyond a ... Read More »

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