RRA Notes 1: General Issue

This is the first publication in the RRA Notes series.

Article, 31 May 1988
Participatory Learning and Action
A journal for newcomers and experienced practitioners alike.

June 1988

Rapid Rural Appraisal covers a great variety of methods and techniques. The name is sometimes misleading: some RRA methods are not particularly rapid, others are applied in urban rather than rural situations, and yet others are more concerned with the development process rather than its appraisal.

But the RRA approach shares the following characteristics: 

  • greater speed compared with conventional methods of analysis;
  • working in the ‘field’;
  • an emphasis on learning directly from local inhabitants;
  • a semi-structured, multidisciplinary approach with room for flexibility and innovation; and,
  • an emphasis on producing timely insights, hypotheses or ‘best bets’ rather than final truths or fixed recommendations.

In this series, ‘RRA’ covers any method or technique which can be broadly described in these terms. 

This first edition of RRA Notes includes five articles. 

The first article describes a three day RRA workshop in Thailand for 70 staff from government agencies and regional universities.

The second article is an account of a RRA workshop for UK practitioners. They met to taketo take stock of the position with RRA;to share experiences and information; and to identify needs and plan action.

The third item is a a brief note on a ranking exercise on the virtues and drawbacks of different crops and tree species carried out in Wollo Province, Ethiopia.

The fourth item is an article on 'direct matrix ranking'  in Kenya and West Bengal. It shows the method's weaknesses, strengths and potential.

The final article looks at ranking methods in Kenya.

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.



RRA methods workshop in Thailand
Jules Pretty 

Notes of an RRA meeting held at the Institute of Development Studies in Sussex
Robert Chambers

Pairwise ranking in Ethiopia
Gordon Conway

Direct matrix ranking in Kenya and West Bengal
Robert Chambers, Jennifer McCracken

Peasant lore