Qualitative data is based on observation and open-ended questioning and does not necessarily translate to numbers. Data is gathered from key informants through open dialogue rather than from set questions, and relies on indicators rather than measured coefficients. Information is derived from multiple sources of varying quality and is judged on content and the credibility of its source. Qualitative data acquisition relies heavily on the insights and interpretive skills of the investigator.
The need for quantitative information exists both within development institutions and at the community level. Qualitative Enquiry suggests that institutions address issues such as motivation, initiative and staff and community morale. They must assess the effects of previous development efforts, money management techniques, leadership traits, inequalities, factionalism and corruption. Such factors are important to the success of any project.
Current development programs based on the project cycle are obsessed with time limitations, measurable goals and the logical framework. They center on quantitative findings for the sake of bureaucratic convenience. However, in light of rapidly changing situations in developing countries, qualitative enquiry can provide broadly correct, timely information for those agencies which strive to remain action-oriented, flexible and cost-efficient.
777 UN Plaza, 3rd floor
New York, NY 10017, U.S.A.
The book acknowledges the legitimate shortcomings of the state in its attempts to aid rural poor and describes NGOs' potential in filling "the missing link." In a 'pros and cons' format, Reluctant Partners analyzes the state's organizational structure and compares it to that of an NGO. The book does not elaborate on the course of action state-NGO collaborators might take toward sustainable development. More simply, the authors pose questions regarding NGO-state relationships and their possibilities.
Starting with a definition of NGOs and a clarification of their relationship with the rural farmer, the reader is taken through the problems of state hierarchy and management to the hesitant resting place where neither the state nor the NGO can accomplish its goals alone. Tables and specific examples taken from on-site experiments help illustrate the advantages and disadvantages of both organizations.
For those interested in the political and organizational structures of international development institutions, from extension worker to politician, this book offers an insightful glimpse to the possible future.
Promotion Department, Routledge
11 New Fetter Lane
London, EC4P 4EE UK