PLA 28: Methodological Complementarity

The special theme section of this issue of Participatory Learning and Action explores the creative combination of methodologies.

Article, 01 February 1997
Participatory Learning and Action
A journal for newcomers and experienced practitioners alike.

February 1997

A better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of PRA is encouraging much-needed discussions about the need to broaden it by borrowing valuable principles and methods from other approaches. This has encouraged practitioners to develop purpose-specific combinations and sequences of methods and methodologies.

The theme section of this issue discusses what is driving the combination of methodologies, and why complementarity seems to be both essential and effective for research and development practice. It also highlights areas where compromise is likely.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License. Content can be freely reproduced for non-commercial purposes, provided the source is fully acknowledged. 

Follow the links below to download the whole issue or individual articles in pdf format.

Download the complete issue.



A 'proper household': exploring household and community dynamics in South Africa
Edward D. Breslin and Peter Delius

Towards a meaningful evaluation for project staff and villagers
Seerp Wigboldus and Steve Knisely

Process documentation research
Amitah Shah

Participatory farmer selection for green manure
Alsen Oduwo

Folklore and conservation in Nigeria: using PRA to learn from the elders
Ichire Ojating

Pair wise ranking made easy
Tim Russell

Methodological Complementarity

Creativity and compromise
Jo Abbot and Irene Gujit

Combining rapid appraisal with quantitative methods: an example from Mauritania
Robert Davis

The use of complementary methods to understand the dimensions of soil fertility in the hills of Nepal
Cate Turton, Ashok Vaidya, Junoo Tuladhar and Krishna Joshi

Shotgun wedding or happy marriage? Integrating PRA and sample surveys in Malawi
Martin Leach and Johns Kamangira

PRA and its complementarities with household surveys and ‘Como es la vida en El Tamarindo’
Sarah Gammage

Ethnography and rapid appraisal in doctoral research on poverty
Rosemary McGee

Discrepancies in understanding historical land use changes in Uganda
Kim Lindblade

Limits and strengths of local participation: a case study in Eastern Amazonia
Patricia Shanley, Jurandir Galvão and Leda Luz

Methodological proposal for farmer-scientist land use planning
L. Tzinnia Carranza

Two cheers for RRA
Martin Whiteside

Participatory research and ecological economics for iodiversity conservation in Vanuatu
Luca Tacconi

Mixing and matching methodologies in Redd Barna, Uganda
Joanita Sewagudde, Geoffrey Mugisha, Richard Ochen and Grace Mukasa

Participatory pest analysis
James Mangan

Feedback: Towards full participation in development
Kumaraswamynadar T. Arasu, with a response from Neela Mukhrjee


  • Props used in research
    V. A. Bourai, S. R. Bahadur, K. M. Panwar and K. M. Mishra
  • Looking beyond: PRA or PRI?
    John Wilson

A brief guide to training methods and approaches

Tips for Trainers: Card sorting on the ground
Robert Chambers