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Showing posts from July, 2013

The African Farmer Game

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This post was written in collaboration with Ankit Kumar, a PhD researcher at Durham University. You can follow him @ideatingenergy. It is based on our experiences and ideas, generated while playing the African Farmer Game during the STEPS Centre Summer School. Developed by the STEPS Centre and Future Agricultures Consortium, the game will be released soon as a free software.

The Mombonga household in Rural Africa consists of an adult man, two adult women, two young girls aged 12 and 13 and a young boy aged 13. In terms of assets they have 50 units of currency and two parcels of land. A modest household with many mouths to feed, the Mombongas await the beginning of the new plantation season. This is the beginning of another year for them. The Mombongas have a few options at hand. They could invest the money in crops and horticulture to feed their family or invest partly in commercial crops like cotton to earn some extra cash. They could also invest some money in long term planning by s…

UEA/IDS Mixed Methods Workshop (July, 2013)

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The University of East Anglia (UEA) and Institute of Development Studies (IDS) recently organised a two-day workshop on mixed methods research in poverty and vulnerability (1-2 July 2013). The event brought together 40 researchers, practitioners and students working in development-related issues to discuss different ways mixed research methods could be used to capture the dynamics of poverty and vulnerability. Over the course of two days, 22 speakers presented studies that use quantitative and qualitative methods creatively. A few highlights below:

Exploring public perceptions of the 'necessities of life' in the UK, Eldin Fahmy from the University of Bristol stressed the need to move away from using mixed methods for triangulation alone, i.e. combining methods to enhance validity of inferences from data. This combination of methods assumes that data can be 'integrated'  and tends to glaze over the contrasting strengths and weaknesses of both data types (which have diff…