PRA Tools and Techniques

Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) is an exercise for communication and transfer of knowledge. Regardless of whether it is carried out as part of project identification or appraisal or as part of country economic and sector work, the learning by doing and teamwork spirit of PRA requires transparent procedures. For that reason, a series of open meetings (an initial open meeting, final meeting, and follow up meeting) generally frame the sequence of PRA activities. Other tools common in PRA are:

1. Diagramming

a. Transect Walk

Transects are observatory walks to study the natural resources, topography, indigenous technology, soils and vegetation, farming practices, problems and opportunities. These are done with a group of villagers-either following a particular course, cross country or covering the area.

b. Seasonal Calendar (info on problems that repeats in a certain period of time)

Seasonal Diagrams can be used for obtaining seasonal patterns of rainfall, employment, income/expenditure, diseases, livestock, production, workforce availability, crop pattern etc.

c. Venn diagram

It is used to depict key institutions, organizations and individuals and their relationship with the local community or others. Key players in decision making are shown. On the Venn diagram each institution is represented by a circle. The size of the circle represents the importance, significance or power of that institutions.

d. Daily Routine Charts

It is used to identify daily routine pattern of either gender in a particular helps in analyzing work type and distribution of workloads throughout the day, for comparative analysis between different individuals daily schedules. It helps:

  • To identify the gender roles.
  • To document the timings of the activities.
  • For discussion of new activities and their implications for time use.
  • For discussing time of meetings and training sessions
  • To illustrate mobility and periods spent away from home.

e. Flow Diagram

Flow diagrams discover and analyze impacts and linkages. Current situations, constraints, problems and opportunities can be discussed as the effects of specific problems or interventions.

f. Mapping

Maps are used to identify the comparative location and importance of different resources with in an area. They can examine a great breadth of subject matter, and allow for a range of different types of maps to be produced for one area, or for comparative analysis by different groups with in the same area.

2. Interviewing

a. Structured

b. Semi-Structured

SSI is a tool that can be used any time. SSI is guided interviewing, where only some of the questions are predetermined and new questions come up during the interview. The interviewer prepare a list of topics and questions rather than a fixed questionnaire.

i. Individual interviews

ii. Group Interviews

iii. Key Informant Interviews

iv. Focus group discussions

3. Preference ranking

Ranking of problems, issues, solutions on the basis of needs or personal preference

a. Matrix Ranking

The main objective here is to prioritize the issues at hand such as:

It allows us to see individual and group priorities and can also be applied on the uneducated and illiterate groups in a community.

b. Proportional Piling

It is a measure of relative importance of issues and thus helps in obtaining data from respondents in relative terms. Moreover, it can also be used for questions whose answers people don’t like to give directly e.g. income levels, expenditures etc.

c. Poverty Ranking

4. Mapping and Modeling

The making of maps that depicts conditions and environment of the area is called mapping. It increases the knowhow of the natives about their surrounding and the physical features of the area.

a. Social Maps

Consists of household information such as population density, social classes, land use etc.

b. Resource Maps

Shows resources of the area like soil, water, minerals etc.

c. Topical Maps

Contains information about physical features of the area, crops grown in the area, population and infrastructure facilities present in the area.

d. Hazard Maps

Showing areas that can be affected by hazards.