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NCCR North-South - Research Partnerships for Sustainable Development

Thank you for visiting the website of the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) North-South. The NCCR North-South programme formally ended in June 2014.

Please note that the content of this website will no longer be updated.

Research Product 6

Reader and teaching tool on “Research methods for sensitive information”

Participatory approaches have helped establish partnership with local communities as central to most development interventions. Nevertheless, merely classifying beneficiaries as partners does not guarantee sufficient representation of their needs. For example, many development interventions focus on technical solutions while neglecting key socio-cultural aspects. A development intervention focused on sanitation might emphasise provision of toilets, yet overlook cultural taboos that determine people’s acceptance of a given infrastructural solution. Such oversights can doom even the most well-meaning participatory interventions to failure. Indeed, it is critical to ask how beneficiaries can best be involved, especially when working on sensitive topics.

This research product, developed by Dr. Sabin Bieri and her colleagues at the University of Bern’s Interdisciplinary Centre for Gender Studies, concerns research methods for collecting sensitive information and strategies for avoiding mismatches between interventions and people’s needs. It consists of a tool for readers and teachers that outlines methods for making people’s – especially women’s – voices heard, enabling interventions that are more gender-sensitive, sustainable, and better suited to end users’ requirements.

The reader (PDF) can be downloaded here

The teaching tool (PowerPoint) can be downloaded here

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The NCCR North-South is hosted by the University of Bern
and funded jointly by the Swiss National Science Foundation and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation