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Qualitative Assessment Methods

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  1. Qualitative Assessment Methods Session 1.3 Qualitative Approaches for FS Assessments

  2. Energizer Exercise: Fruit Salad Qualitative Approaches for FS Assessments

  3. Session Objectives By the end of this session Participants will be able to: • Describe and compare the most common qualitative data collection methods; • Know characteristics of each method of data collection; and, • Demonstrate an understanding of when to use the different qualitative methods. Qualitative Approaches for FS Assessments

  4. Three Main Methods . Interviews Observations Discussions . . Qualitative Approaches for FS Assessments

  5. Exercise 3 40 min for group work Group Task In your Fruit Salad groups and based on TGS#9 and Handout No. 3, prepare a presentation of the method to which you are assigned, showing: • What is the method (definition/description). • Variations (types) of the method. • Advantages and disadvantages of the method. • How is it better than the other methods? Qualitative Approaches for FS Assessments

  6. Observations: Overview • Observation in the studied group's natural setting is a key aspect of qualitative assessments. • Involves recording what is seen or heard first-hand by assessor. • Can be structured, unstructured, short-term and long-term. • Can be undertaken independently or in conjunction with other methods. Qualitative Approaches for FS Assessments

  7. Observations: Overview • In FSN assessments, observations are usually short-term in nature (direct observations). • Most common examples: • Community Transects • Market observations (availability, trade activity, dynamics, etc…) • Quick drive/walk through communities affected by natural disasters Qualitative Approaches for FS Assessments

  8. Observations: Advantages • Data obtained from observations serve as a check against respondents’ subjective reporting • Provide the assessor an opportunity to see and “feel” aspects that affect FNS first-hand • Not resource intensive in most cases • Can provide information previously unknown to assessors (and informants), e.g. poor hygiene conditions Qualitative Approaches for FS Assessments

  9. Observations: Disadvantages • Not everything can be observed!! • Selective and atypical observations may distort data • Intrusive: the observed may adjust normal behavior/change normal practice • Risk of missing important aspects • Interpretation of observation may differ from one observer to another (misinterpretation) Qualitative Approaches for FS Assessments

  10. Interviews: Overview • A purposeful conversation in which one person asks prepared questions (interviewer) and another answers them (respondent). • Interviews can have one of three basic structures: • structured (closed interview style) • semi-structured (pre-determined topics and probes) • unstructured (open interview style) Qualitative Approaches for FS Assessments

  11. Interviews: Overview • Generate micro-level and macro-level information, depending on context and objective and level of “probing”. They can also generate quantiative information. • Can be conducted with a group (no more than 3) or individually • Differ from “Discussions” in the depth of information/focus they provide Qualitative Approaches for FS Assessments

  12. Interviews: Advantages • Elicits in-depth responses which facilitate a deeper understanding. • Generally easier and more comfortable for respondent, especially if what is sought is personal opinions or impressions. • Probing and exploration are more readily possible than in other methods Qualitative Approaches for FS Assessments

  13. Interviews: Disadvantages • Time and resource intensive • Require a high level of expertise to facilitate and report • Interviewee bias is likely • Volume of information may be difficult to analyze • Interviewees may be reticent to be forthcoming with information Qualitative Approaches for FS Assessments

  14. Discussions: Overview • Primary method in FNS Assessments • Responses gathered are generally wider/broader than those gathered through interviews • Two types of discussions: • Community Discussions • Focus Group Discussions Qualitative Approaches for FS Assessments

  15. Discussions: Advantages • Flexibility in terms of format • People are able to build on one another's responses • Provide an opportunity to involve people in data analysis • Participants can act as checks and balances on one another - identifying factual errors or extreme views Qualitative Approaches for FS Assessments

  16. Discussions: Disadvantages • In certain cases, hard to assemble • Require high level of expertise to moderate • Possible conformance, censoring, conflict avoidance, or other unintended outcomes of the group process • Opinions may not be representative if participant selection is not carefully checked Qualitative Approaches for FS Assessments

  17. Three Main Methods . Secondary Data/ Interviews Quantitative Data Observations Discussions . . Qualitative Approaches for FS Assessments

  18. Which Method is Most Useful to Me?(flexible, meaningful, manageable) • What is the topic? Is it a very sensitive subject? Is confidentiality particularly important? More/varied views • What is your timeline? Focus groups-more people at one time but can be hard to schedule • How large is the population? Focus groups-more people at one time • Do you have help? Focus groups-need a note taker • Do you have a budget? Time? Qualitative Approaches for FS Assessments

  19. Always remember …….. • “Unstructured” ≠ Unplanned. In fact, the more unstructured the method, the more planning is needed. • Cross-check, verify, and triangulate your data with various sources (we will talk about this more later). • Make sure to discuss your initial findings and see how you can strengthen your analysis later. • Always consider what data you are collecting and for what purpose. Not everything you collect is always useful. • Underpin your data collection by your objectives. . Qualitative Approaches for FS Assessments

  20. Qualitative Approaches for FS Assessments