Whose Reality? Immersion research to hear, see and feel... and improve development interventions

Whose Reality? Immersion research to hear, see and feel... and improve development interventions

Lunchtime talk: Dr Dee Jupp - 18th July 2018


27 June 2018

Lunchtime talk: Dr Dee Jupp – 18th July 2018

The Reality Check Approach (RCA) has gained international recognition over the last ten years as an important complement to other forms of development research and evaluation. It is immersive research whereby trained researchers live with people in their own homes and share in their everyday lives. RCA is based on the premise that experiential knowledge is a critical element of research seeking to produce people-centred accounts and understanding complexity. RCA seeks to gather insights into the processes, motivations, behaviours and attitudes of people through ‘hanging out’ informally, two-way conversations, observation and experience over several days and nights. Developed in 2007, it has been successfully used in over nine countries including Bangladesh, Cambodia, Nepal, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Uganda, Pakistan and Mozambique to explore topics as diverse as social protection, migration, health, education, security and justice, adolescence, agriculture, infrastructure development and post-disaster recovery.

This talk by Dee Jupp PhD (Technical Advisor, Empatika) will explain how RCA studies are carried out as either stand-alone exploratory studies or adding value when well sequenced within mixed method approaches (especially longitudinal monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL). It will explore the importance of recognising how human behaviour shapes participation in research and the value of informal engagement in people’s own spaces in order to reduce power inequalities, gather authentic voices and include those often left out of more conventional qualitative research (for example, none of the people pictured in the  attached photograph from rural Indonesia had ever, or would ever, participate or engage with more formal types of research).  It will demonstrate how people’s own theories of change can be generated and how people categorise themselves in ways which are often significantly different from the ways outsiders categorise them and target interventions. Merging of the emic and etic perspectives leads to important insights to improve delivery of development interventions.

‘The immediacy of Reality Checks, the relationships and interactions they allow, and their openness to whatever can be learnt or observed, gives them an exceptionally inclusive rigour with credibility, freed from normal biases of courtesy and power relations. Through Reality Checks, the experiences and priorities of those left behind can regularly inform and confront policy-makers, practitioners and the public. Let the RCA be a wave of the future. Those who are last in our world deserve nothing less.’
Prof Robert Chambers: ‘Can we know better? Reflections for Development’ (2017) Practical Action Publishing, p 134

Dee Jupp PhD has over thirty years of participatory development and qualitative research experience. She is passionate about people-centred research and developing and fusing methods to optimise conditions for opening spaces for people’s voices, perspectives and lived reality to be heard and acknowledged by policymakers and for a greater understanding of complex contexts. Since 2007 she has focused on using the Reality Check Approach (RCA), an immersive qualitative research method, and she currently advises the global group of RCA practitioners. She also promotes the use of people’s own indicators and categories for assessing change. Originally from the UK, she has lived and worked for extensive periods in Bangladesh, Jamaica and Indonesia helping Governments,  Development Partners, NGOs, Social Movements and community-based organisations to put people at the centre of development through the creative use of participatory approaches.  Over the last few years, she has focused on building local capacity to undertake RCA studies, especially in Ghana, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Uganda and Nepal and to expand the use of RCA in different situations and contexts.

All events take place @ The Tavistock Institute.

Bring your lunch and your expertise with you – hot/cold drinks will be provided. Contact talks@tavinstitute.org if you would like further details of each talk and/or you are planning to attend.

You can listen to many of our previous talks here.

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