York University

Social Science 3800 6.0A

Development Studies Research methods

Winter 2005

Course Director: Dr. Fahimul Quadir Class Room: South 172 Ross

Tel: 66937 Wednesdays 11:30-2:30

E-mail: fquadir@yorku.ca

Office: 319 Founders

Office Hours: Tuesdays 10:00 to 11:30 and by appointment



Development policy analysis and evaluation have undergone major changes over the last several years. The emerging new realization that development is not a one-way traffic has prompted the need for donor countries and lending agencies to adopt a participatory approach to policy/program/project assessment. What is unique about such new evaluation approaches is that they are creating opportunities, at least theoretically, for beneficiaries to influence both the policy-making and assessment processes. Most evaluations are now done in consultation with stakeholders simply to ensure the more productive and appropriate use of scarce donor resources.

The aim of this term is to understand some of these changes through a systematic examination of a few assessment frameworks that are used by both donors and practitioners. In so doing, we plan to place the notion of impact assessment in the broader context of international development. The class will explore key methods, concepts and practices that are associated with impact assessment. Besides, the focus of this term would be on the quantitative techniques.

The structure of the class for this term will remain the same as the last semester. The first 90 minutes will be used to introduce the topic at hand. Lectures will often begin with the general question of that week’s specific topic and then will take the class through the fundamental logic of that particular topic. To make complex assessment methods a bit more understandable, the lectures will use concrete examples drawing from the analyses of development practitioners. In the second half, the class will meet for group presentations.


Group Presentation

This term the class will use a slightly different format in order to make group presentations little more relevant and interesting. Since the major objective of this term is to offer a comprehensive review of evaluation methods and/or practices that are widely used by development organizations, I would encourage you to find a recent evaluation report on any relevant development projects published by such major donor countries and organizations as the World Bank, UN, WHO, ILO, WFP, UNDP, UNESCO, CIDA, and USAID. Most of their assessments can be accessed through their web sites. The goal of your presentation would be to:

  1. Outline how the study was conducted? In other words, specify the method used in that study;
  2. Thoroughly review the evaluation method and explain the logic behind the use of that specific method. What are the strengths of the study?
  3. Critique different aspects of the report. Does it look artificial? To what extent can the report provide a full sense of assessment? In other words, does it offer a satisfactory explanation of the entire socio-economic processes?
  4. Use a case study, preferably a documentary, to either support or dispute the findings of your chosen report.

When preparing for your presentation, I would strongly encourage you to follow the guidelines noted below:

  • Regardless of the size of your group, you must not spend more than 45 minutes presenting your analysis so that the class can use the remaining 30+ minutes discussing various issues with regard to your presentation. In other words, you have to manage time well, giving others an opportunity either to raise questions or to make meaningful comments. Be sure to distribute the allocated time equality among all the presenters;
  • You will be required to provide evidence that you have worked together, as a team rather than as an individual, on your presentation. Several weeks prior to the presentation, the group will meet to discuss, among other things, how the workloads will be distributed equally among all the team members. Please keep in mind that this assignment should provide you with an opportunity not only to get to know each other well, it also should allow you to learn from each other’s knowledge and experiences.
  • You will have to engage the other class-members in such ways that everyone gets an opportunity to actively participate in debates/discussions.


Research Proposal

The research proposal will be due on or before March 2, 2005. The purpose of this assignment is to make you familiar with the art of writing an academic proposal that may or may not require financial support from granting organizations. Based on the discussion of the previous term on Research Design, you will be required to put together your research proposal that includes the following few components:

  1. Identify a topic of your research;
  2. Clearly state the objectives of your research. You may want to turn your objectives into research questions in this section.
  3. Situate your research within the literature on International Development. Discuss how your research will contribute to knowledge. In other words, explain, how will your study add to the existing literature on International Development.
  4. Specify the methodology of your research. Identify the methods/tools that you plan to employ to collect, present and analyze data. You will also be required to justify the methods that you have chosen for your research. I would also encourage you to provide operational definitions of the key concepts of your study.
  5. Provide an outline of how will you structure your report/paper.

The proposals will be graded on the basis of the content (relevance, accuracy, comprehensiveness and concepts will be examined very carefully), research (Issues that will be examined: quality of research, the effective use of source materials and the appropriate use of citations; be sure to avoid the excessive use of web-based sources), the methods employed in your study (how effective are they in collecting appropriate data; to what extent can these methods allow you to validate your findings?), and presentation/organization (be sure to aim for clarity, use a standard academic format and avoid grammatical mistakes).

Consult your course director for advice on writing your proposal.

Please refer to the previous outline (Fall 2004) for information on grading, and assignments.

Required Texts

In addition to the text by Babbie and Benaquisto, we will be using the course kit for the winter term as well.

  • Earl Babbie and Lucia Benaquisto, Fundamentals of Social Research, first Canadian Edition (Scarborough, ON: Nelson, 2002)
  • The Course Kit

I am also planning to put a few other source materials on Reserve which we will be using time to time.


Section Three: The New Development Reality--- applied and evaluation research

Week One

Evaluation Research

Babbie and Benaqusito, Chapter 11; pp. 347-366

Rubin, Frances, A Basic Guide to Evaluation for Development Workers (London, Oxfam, 1995), pp. 25-28.*


  • Robson, Colin, Small-Scale Evaluation (London: Sage Publications, 2002), pp. 6-14.
  • Parashar, R.K., "Evaluating Social-Action Projects in India: guidelines for improving methods and techniques", in UNESCO, Project Evaluation: problems of methodology (Paris: UNESCO, 1984), pp. 15-54.

Week Two

Participatory Development

World Bank, The World Bank Participation Source Book (Washington, D.C.: World Bank, 1994), Chapters 1, 3 & 4: What is participation? Practice Pointers in Participatory Planning and Decision-Making, Practice Pointers in Enabling the Poor to Participate*

This book is available free on the web at http://www.worldbank.org/wbi/sourcebook/sbhome.htm

Rocheleau, Diane and Rachel Slocum, "Participation in Context: key questions", in Slocum, Rachel at el. (eds.), Power, Process and Participation: tools for change (London: ITDG Publishing, 1995), pp. 17-30.*


  • Chambers, Robert, Whose Reality Counts: putting the first last ((London: ITDG Publishing, 1997).
  • Cornwal, Andrea and Garett Pratt (eds.), Pathways to Participation: reflections on PRA (London: ITDG Publishing, 2003).
  • Picciotto, Robert, Participatory Development: myths and dilemmas (Washington, D.C.: World Bank, 1992).
  • Schneider, Hartmut (ed.), Participatory Development from Advocacy to Action (Paris: Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, 1995).


Week Three

Participatory Action Research

Rahman, Muhammad Anisur, People’s Self-Development: perspectives on participatory action research (London: Zed books, 1994), pp. 74-94.*

Swantz, Marja-Liisa, Maclure, "My Road to Participatory Action Research", in Cornwal, Andrea and Garett Pratt (eds.), Pathways to Participation: reflections on PRA (London: ITDG Publishing, 2003), pp. 196-202.*


  • Richard and Michael Bassey, "Participatory Action Research in Togo: an inquiry into Maige storage systems", in Whyte, William Foote (ed.), Participatory Action Research (Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications, 1991), pp. 190-209.
  • Whyte, William Foote (ed.), Participatory Action Research (Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications, 1991).
  • Salmen, Lawrence F., Listen to the People: participant-observer evaluation of development projects (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987).


Week Four

Impact Assessment 1: Participatory Rural Appraisal/Rapid Rural Appraisal

Chambers, Robert, Whose Really Counts: putting the first last (London: ITDG Publishing, 1997), pp. 102-129.*


  • Gow, David D., "Rapid Rural Appraisal: social science as investigative journalism", in Finsterbusch, Kurt et al (eds.), Methods for Social Analysis in Developing Countries (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1990), pp. 143-63.
  • Holland, Jeremy (ed.), Whose Voice: participatory research and policy change (London: Intermediate Technology Publications, 1998).
  • Smith, L Graham, Impact Assessment and Sustainable Resource Management (New York: Longman, 1993), pp. 13-29.
  • Taylor, Nicholas et al, Social Assessment: theory, process and techniques, Canterbury, New Zealand: Center for Resource Management; Lincoln University, 1992).


Week Five

Mainstreaming Gender in Development Planning

Moser, Caroline O.N., Gender Planning and Development: theory, practice and training (London and New York: Routledge, 1993), pp. 83-107.*

Gwaba, Regis M, "Reflection on PRA, Participation and Gender", in Andrea and Garett Pratt (eds.), Pathways to Participation: reflections on PRA (London: ITDG Publishing, 2003), pp. 88-93.*


  • Moser, Caroline O.N., "Gender Planning in the Third World: meeting practical and gender needs" , World Development 17(11), 1989, pp. 83-107.
  • Verloo, Mieke and Connie Roggeband, "Gender Impact Assessment: the development of a new instrument in the Netherlands", Impact Assessment, 14(1), March 1996, pp. 3-20. Williams, Suzanne, The Oxfam Gender Training Manual (UK: Oxfam), pp. 291-311.
  • Rao, Aruna et al (eds.), Gender Analysis in Development Planning: a case book (West hartfod, CT: Kumarian Press, 1991), pp. 9-20.
  • Kabeer, Naila, "Gender-Aware Policy and Planning: A Social Relations Perspective", in Macdonald M (ed.), Gender Planning in Development Agencies: meeting the challenge (London: Oxfam, 1994).
  • Stubbs, Josefina, "Gender in Development: a long haul – but we are getting there!" in Eade, Deborah & Ernst Ligteringen (eds.), Debating Development (UK: Oxfam, 2001), pp. 348-58.
  • Bakker, Isabella (ed.), The Strategic Silence: gender and economic policy (London and Ottawa: Zed Books and the North South Institute, 1994)

Week Six

Impact Assessment 2: Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

Forlage, C.A., Environmental Assessment: a practical guide (Aldershot, England: Gower Publishing Company, 1990), pp. 1-12 & 64-81.*


  • Canter, Larry, Environmental Impact Assessment, 2nd edition (New York, McGraw-Hill, 1996), pp. 102-121.
  • Ortolano, Leonard and Anne Shepherd, "Environmental Impact Assessment: challenges and opportunities", Impact Assessment 13(1), 1995, pp. 3-30.


Week Seven

Reading Week: No Class Meeting.


Week Eight

Planning, Monitoring, and Evaluation I: The Logical Framework Approach

AusAID, The Logical Framework Approach http://www.ausaid.gov.au/ausguide/ausguidelines/1.cfm

Aune, Jens B., "Logical Framework Approcah and PRA – mutually exclusive or complementary tools for project planning", in Eade, Deborah (ed.), Development Methods and Approaches: critical reflections (London: Oxfam2003), pp. 214-219.*


  • Casley, Dennis J. and Denis A. Lury, Monitoring and Evaluation of Agriculture and Rural Development Projects (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982.
  • Akroyd, David, "Logical Framework Approach to Project Planning, Socio-economic Analysis and to Monitoirng and Evaluation Services: a smallholder rice project", Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal 17(1), 1999, pp. 54-66.
  • William C. Found, Techniques of Project Planning: ten steps to success (Toronto: Institute of Leadership Development, York University, 1999), pp. 59-67.


Week Nine

Planning, Monitoring, and Evaluation II: Results-Based Management

Lavergne, Real, Results-Based Management and Accountability for Enhanced Aid Effectiveness, Mimeo, CIDA, 2002.




Research Proposal is due.

Section Four: Development Research Methods--- quantitative techniques


Week Ten

Data Preparation, Analysis, and Computerization

Babbie and Benaquisto, chapter 15: 397-408 (I would encourage you to read chapter 14 as well)


Week Eleven

Elementary Statistics for Social Research: Overview of Basic Statistical Concepts

Babbie and Benaquisto, chapter 16: 411-39

Week Twelve

Elementary Statistics for Social Research: Regression Analyses and Inferential Statistics

Babbie and Benaquisto, chapter 16: 439-59.


Week Thirteen


*Please note that articles/book chapters with an asterisk mark are included in the Course Kit.

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