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06.02.2014
Informal participatory survey methods can be used for gathering of data at various stages of programme implementation, and for analysis of SPFS-related issues by the farming communities themselves.
The main principles of informal data-gathering include multidisciplinary team work, triangulation and flexibility. Multidisciplinary team work is carried out by a team composed of individuals with different professional backgrounds.
Triangulation is the intentional collecting of information from several different perspectives.
Flexibility is the absence of a rigid protocol and the possibility to change techniques and tools as needs arise.
In addition to these core principles, serendipity and investigation of exceptions are also often used in data gathering. Without clear objectives there is a danger that the exercise will be unfocused and lead to feeble conclusions. Factors to be considered include team selection (right mix of experience, gender, and discipline), team training required, team size (not more than two or three), number of survey teams carrying out surveys in parallel (not more than three), and procedures for note taking and report writing. Stratification involves dividing the survey area or population into subsets within which the variability of key factors is expected to be lower. Secondary data can improve the efficiency of surveys by raising their explanatory value and avoiding the effort of gathering the same information twice. Two major categories of informal participatory appraisal methods that are particularly useful for gathering general socio-economic information about a demonstration area in the early stages of the pilot phase are semi-structured interviewing with checklists, and mapping and diagramming. Semi-structured interviewing is a form of guided interviewing in which only some of the questions are predetermined and new questions are usually generated during the interview.
A diagram is any simple schematic device which presents information in a condensed and readily understandable visual form. It is important to draw the diagrams in the presence of different categories of people (women and men, young and old, etc.), as their perceptions, viewpoints and information will often differ.
A transect is a diagram that is produced during a walking discussion with villagers and shows the key features of different land use zones in a community.
The first step in preparing for a transect walk is to draw up a check list of the areas of main interest for the exercise.
Recording is quite difficult during a transect because the team members are walking and because the whole check list needs to be covered each time a new land use system is traversed. Seasonal analysis is particularly useful for understanding constraints and major problems that might emerge only at certain times of the year.
A checklist should be prepared of the variables to be included in the calendar and any associated issues to be discussed about each of them. A daily calendar is similar to a seasonal calendar except that it shows the pattern of daily activities of community members at different times of the year.
Further information on seasonal and daily calendars and daily activity clocks can be found in: Theis, J.
Knowledge, attitude and practice (KAP) surveys are used to understand and assess farmers' local indigenous knowledge, values and belief systems and how these affect their farming practices. KAP information can be obtained from surveys carried out for feat purpose, or can be extrapolated from information already collected using other methods such as semi-structured interviews. Boxes II-9, II-10 and II-11 illustrate in more detail fee steps required to carry out a KAP survey. After each round of survey, results are discussed wife fee farmers and possibilities for using innovative technologies or farming practices to solve identified constraints are talked about. Box II-12 shows how fee KAP survey method is used to plan, implement and monitor a strategic extension campaign. The main topics of concern to the farmers surveyed are, by priority: erosion, firewood and reforestation, seed conservation, and the fight against insect pests.
Many projects and programmes have failed in the past because they have not taken into account the different interests of groups in the area in which a programme is being implemented.
In the SPFS, stakeholders can be defined as groups of people with common interests and concerns with respect to the production, marketing, or consumption of food staples. Farmers are the programme's primary stakeholders because they are the main focus of the activities and they are the ones who are ultimately affected. A complete stakeholder analysis will consider all actors in the commodity chain, from pre-production preparation through production to post-production transformation, storage and circulation, and finally to consumption. Providers of services in the private sector (such as marketing, milling, de-hulling, de-husking, food and beer manufacture, transport and input provision) will often have a key role in the removal of constraints and the creation of new opportunities for increased farm production. The first step in stakeholder analysis is to identify the various interest groups in a demonstration area.
The next step in stakeholder analysis is to identify the interests and concerns of each stakeholder or stakeholder group.
The information on the stakeholder groups can be summarized in a table which lists the various stakeholders, their interests, their power and influence in the community and the possible positive and negative effects of the SPFS on them.
Drawing a map of the linkages between a peasant farmer and all other stakeholders in the production chain can help to illustrate graphically the various interrelated interests of the different actors. This information will help in evaluating whether a particular demonstration has a good chance of succeeding, or whether it needs modification.
Another useful exercise is the development of a stakeholder conflict and partnership matrix, which helps demonstrate the areas of conflict and partnership among the various stakeholders. More information on stakeholder analysis can be found in: Bonnal and Rossi, Guidelines for Participatory Constraints Analysis, op. In participatory constraints analysis, quantitative survey methods should be seen first and foremost as a supplement to participatory appraisal methods. The planning stage, beginning with the setting of exact objectives, is one of the most important parts of any survey.
Sampling is used where measurement of everything is unnecessary, impossible or too expensive, and just a small fraction of the material is measured instead. A biased estimate is one that consistently tends to overestimate or understimate the true value for the population. Precision relates to the consistency of estimates if the sampling was carried out a number of times. While absence of bias and precision are both important, absence of bias is generally a higher priority. The best way to ensure absence of bias is through random selection of units in the population.
There are a number of common statistical measures to be calculated, such as the mean, median, standard deviation and minimum and maximum. In the collection of baseline information for demonstration areas, particular attention should be given to avoiding bias when selecting the sample population and to using the most common measures for calculation. Today, the use of computers and statistical programmes is fairly standard for the analysis of quantitative data. Although often overlooked, the presentation of results is an important part of every statistical analysis.
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Add up Each Side - Total the numbers for the positive forces and do the same with the negative forces.
There is a cartoon that explains it all (like many other computing-related topics), which is linked in sidebar. Note that I would like to talk here about a broader concept than just "interface" as what user sees on a single screen. So there is a huge class of problems where a complex, comprehensive interface is the answer. If you have to instruct your user like this, "if this checkbox is active, then you should set this flag; otherwise, set that flag", or "when you select this option, click the button below as well," then you are implementing a monster your users are going to hate. What's so damn hard in telling me when my transaction is going to complete if I perform it NOW? I tried to implement "Request an Update" checkbox Bugzilla extension for ROSA Desktop so that it follows these guidelines. Of course, more established distribution maintenance systems, such as Bodhi or Launchpad are even simpler, but that's nearly the best you could do with a small patch to Bugzilla. Game designers got it recently, and modern games highlight action items for you, expose less options where to go, and always provide an infinite box of ammo if you are to shoot your way through. Why in the world can't the software look this up, and choose the correct video card on their own? Back to game developers, they all bundle the latest version of DirectX, and automatically install it along with tge game itself without any, unnecessary questions asked from the user.


One of the things that surprised me when I tried to deploy a wiki software in an office was that people couldn't create a page.
What I think my failure was is that I didn't show how to use the wiki pages, didn't educate users. No matter how simple your interface is, it is never going to be less complex than the concept behind the software. Convenient interface (or, let's say A Better User Experience) doesn't only mean that your knobs should be shiny.
If your user should follow some rules (mainly when providing input to forms), try to make them re-configurable in a declarative style. Apparently, form validator they employed for that checkout page made it so hard to configure nice just-in-time validations that they resorted to the abomination of "error messages for the form".
If the concept your software tries to manage is complex, then simplifying the interface will only increase frustration because user will feel like he doesn't have sufficient tools to tailor the information to its needs. I tried to summarize my thoughts on what makes a good user interface, why the simple interface isn't necessarily the best, and what to do about it as a programer. Time-based release is a pattern in software engineering which have taken the open-source world's mind over the latest five years. The key result here, however is that time-based release model involves a trade of innovation to an established process. Sometimes I feel that just making release schedules is enough, and it is why people use time-based release as their planning paradigm in the first place.
The most important reason to choose time-based release over "when it's done" is that this makes you think less and make less decisions. There are theories (I heard it at a conference, but failed to find any evidence of this at all, so let's consider it a fairy tale that is to teach us something useful :-) ) that the amount of decisions a person is to make per period of time is an expendable resource. So, making decisions is hard, and making as few decisions as possible is a good thing rather than bad. A funny story happened there at the first meeting the protest committee had managed to get approved by the police. Their aim was to protest against a collaboration with police forces, the necessity of such collaboration these manifestations was initially to protest against. However, one should never forget the ultimate mission, and never let keeping the schedule be put "in front of the cart". This is an important lesson for software engineers as well, especially for those that are involved in open-source projects , which consist of the volunteers just like public assemblies.
I was so satisfied with this product, that I even decided to publish an interview with one of "Penn&Paper™'s" sales managers in my extremely popular blog. Violet Page: Yeah, "Penn&Paper™'s Progress Tracker 8.3 Personal" is very easy to work with indeed! You can apply it to the interfaces and implementations, depending of what you've drawn with a pen tool in the first place.
This way you'll clearly see that the parts you've already implemented are shaded, and those you still haven't—are not. You can recover them easily from the "Trash can" unless it's really stuffed, and your sheets are disengaged.
Scrum looks more like an interface, in the frame of which you can vary the actual implementation. Here's an image of Planning Poker deck (taken from a site of a "Crisp" company, which sells them). Usually, when you develop a testing system, you have a customer, whose software will be the primary target of it. So if you happen to purchase an automated testing system (or merely have it developed), ask developers what kind of testing they made. The first talk, devoted to service-oriented approach to programming, was given by invited speaker Dr. She later passed on to the system that demonstrates the success of such a focus shift, jABC. The specification for the checker should be written in English language, constrained by a specific grammar.
Anyone who's familiar with maths, and who is a specialist in software engineering would argue whether it's convenient. Scrum, with all its "chicken" and "pigs" being a reference to "men" and "women", requires rhythmic moving. Of course, while in nearly every domain of human activity you can find sexual reference, it was funny to look it up in software engineering. Another case: you have a program that runs in a complex environment, and you want to check how program operates when a series of similar queries to this environment yield specific output.
In other words, your program queries the environment or the unimplemented module (we'll treat them equally from now on), and you want--for debugging purposes--to make these queries return specific values without spending too much time for implementing a stub for a query handler.
In the case under consideration, the modules exchange information in an imbalanced way: one feeds the other with lowly ranged values, and the other passes complex structures with an immense range of potential values. A module of the first kind yields as its output a "tricky" data structure that has complex constitution. No wonder that such a boolean, provided it is not to flag an "exception" of sorts, branches the program execution dramatically.
However, since the algorithm is not very simple, and a lot of different factors influence the output (remember, input data are complex!), it would take too much time to implement a stub precise enough. The other, "unlucky" runs, when the random generator didn't hit the desired result, might be of some value to the developer, but that's not the aim of the whole thing. Of course, it's not that good if the function is called several times, and thus you may spent quite a time running the test until it goes well.
And of course, the less times the unimplemented subroutine is called, the more effective randomized debugging is. The first approach is to force programmers to only know interfaces of other components, so that each one can only steal a small part of the whole software. To prevent your programmers from stealing, you can do harm to them as soon as they finish the software.
Nowadays, however, it's more humanistic to hire already blind and already dumb people that lost their hands, so that they can't look at your code to memorize it, can't tell anyone about your code and can't type it again.
And yes, this post is a sarcastic joke, which criticizes the idea of any code-stealing-prevention measures. As an exception to proir notice, all code snippets presented on this website, unless otherwise specified, may be reused in commercial and non-commercial projects without fee, permission, restrictions or links here. At the same time, it must be remembered that rapid and participatory data collection exercises have to be well-planned. Serendipity is the creation of situations in which the researcher can take advantage of chance, while investigation of exceptions means following up on exceptions and lack of agreement. If the survey team is only gathering information, it will have different objectives and require different composition than a team that is also facilitating farmer assessment of the results and impact of the demonstrations. A sample of individuals, groups or locations for actual survey can then be selected from each subset.
Group discussions are particularly useful if the information required is not expected to vary widely between households. In order to avoid being misled by rumour, myth or gossip, it is essential to support and cross-check findings by direct observation of important indicators. Two more focused methods involve surveys of farmers' knowledge, attitudes and practices and stakeholders' analysis. Interviewers use a checklist of questions as a flexible guide rather than a formal questionnaire.
Each survey team should establish its own checklists depending upon what data the team considers necessary.
They are most useful as an aid to participatory discussions with farmers and other community members in demonstrations. Comparison of the diagrams drawn by different people can lead to a deeper understanding of the diversity of opinion and decision-making processes in a community. They are a useful way to gain understanding of systems at different levels: individual fields, farms, communities or districts. Before beginning the exercise it is important to draw up a checklist of the major features that the map should include. For example, ground doesn't have edges but it may be rained on, chalk is easy to rub out and re-draw but there may not be a cement floor available, paper is easy to keep after the map is finished but making changes on paper is difficult.
Transects are particularly useful when there is a range of land use systems in one community.
The rough topography of the walk should be drawn at the top and a matrix with the headings of the check list laid out underneath. They are an excellent way of understanding and discovering variations in behaviour through time and their relationship to other events.
Once it is completed it should be used as the basis for discussion about the variables included within it. It also enables a comparison of the daily routines and work loads for different groups of people (e.g.
KAP surveys are useful tools for identifying the technological interventions which are important in an area and which are likely to create a significant impact. If KAP surveys are used for gathering baseline information, fee same survey method should also be followed for monitoring farmers' reactions to pilot phase demonstrations. The farmers' groups then decide what kind of extension messages they would like to receive, and fee form in which they would find these most useful.


Members of various interest groups can use their power and influence to prevent objectives from being achieved if they feel that their interests are threatened. Besides farmers, these actors include various private-sector enterprises, public services and institutions and collective and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). At the same time, they, like other governmental and non-governmental stakeholders, will face both gains and losses from the changes involved in successful introduction of new technologies and other innovations into existing farming systems. It is important to have a good understanding of what is going on and the roles played by the different actors in the communities. Workshops involving as many potential stakeholders as possible are useful for sharing information and clarifying of different points of view. For example, some groups may not be able to adopt a new technology because they do not have access to the resources needed to use it.
Within any community the most powerful and influential can help make things happen and can also prevent them from happening.
Box II-14 presents a format for a stakeholder table that has been designed specifically for the SPFS. If data collected through informal techniques is not statistically precise enough, a questionnaire-type survey may be necessary to estimate crop yields; for example, it may be necessary to complement results from discussions with farmers by a statistical survey, since productivity increases will have to be measured. In the case of statistical surveys, decisions to be made in the planning stage include the type of data to be collected, the target population, sampling techniques, statistical measures to be used and how to present the results.
In designing a sampling scheme, it is important to define a target population for which information is required.
For example, if extension officers are asked to nominate farmers to participate in a survey, they might tend to select the more progressive farmers, or ones who can better afford to take risks.
The overriding principle for selection of a simple random sample is that every unit should have approximately the same chance of being selected. In addition to common data base and statistical computer programmes such as Dbase, SPSS, and SAS, spreadsheet programmes can also be useful, in particular if data bases are relatively small and the statistical calculations to be carried out are not very complex. Well-presented results can greatly facilitate the interpretation of statistical data and the drawing of conclusions. To get a better understanding of why, let's take a look at what we call the Line of Sight of the entire claim lifecycle. Why can't you tell me, "Sir, you missed a digit?" You know exactly how many digits there should be. The most notable examples are Linux distributions named Fedora and Ubuntu, which followed GNOME project.
Our "Progress Tracker" integrates smoothly with the other "Penn&Paper's Solutions™" products.
That's the kind of agreement that prevents programmers to work for competitors after they leave your company.
The advantage is that this will help you dealing with labor agency in your country, which watches that your don't discriminate disabled programmers. A typical example is that of agro-ecological zones where an area is divided into subsets based on homogeneity of rainfall, fanning systems or even crop yields. If the issue under discussion is not too sensitive in nature, a group interview may provide an easy overview of likely variables, such as field sizes or crop yields.
As a result, the interviews tend to take the form of discussions, during which both interviewer and interviewee learn from each other. Diagrams can be drawn on almost anything - for example, on paper, overhead transparencies, blackboards or sand, depending on the situation. This is often the case when communities are located on the coast, in hilly areas, on rivers or lakes, or in areas where soils vary over short distances.
By analysing fee words farmers use to communicate their knowledge, attitudes and practices in regard to specific elements of a farming system, it is possible to identify those elements which may be good, those which may need to be improved, or those which may need to be discouraged. On the other hand, KAP surveys can identify elements of fee technology package feat are not known to the majority of farmers, fee reasons for their negative attitudes, how and why they have practised recommended technologies inappropriately, and so forth.
Using this information, strategic extension campaigns to promote widespread adoption of new technologies and practices of most interest to fee farmers can be planned.
An understanding of the interests of different groups and incorporation of this knowledge into the planning and implementation of activities can permit more effective design of programmes and increase the chances of success.
In the context of food security, the differences between food-deficit and food-surplus farming households are particularly important. Semi-structured interviewing can be useful for identifying the stakeholders in a given area. On the other hand, stakeholder analysis often involves sensitive information, and as a result many interests are covert and agendas at least partially hidden. Effects may be material (increased income or food availability, lost trade, higher costs) or social (improved or lost status or power). Stakeholders may not willingly express or talk about possible negative effects that are of concern to them. These groups cannot then gain from the programme, even though it may increase food production in the community overall. Conversely, groups with little influence will find it much more difficult to achieve their goals if these involve concessions or contributions from others. Although it is impossible to avoid conflicting interests entirely, this information can be used to help avoid or mitigate situations of severe conflict which could negatively affect the programme. A sample from this population is then selected from which to estimate values for the population (e.g. For example, a sample of 1000 plots will give a more precise estimate of yield than a sample of 10 plots. Where this proves impossible, then the target population (and related objectives) may have to be redefined, e.g. Box 11.18 shows an example for recording data on inputs and outputs for a crop demonstration for the SPFS. Numerical results are usually presented in the form of tables or graphs, depending on whether numerical precision is required or only an indication of trends. One transnational corporation, to prevent stealing by employees, arranged its factories so that each factory produced only left or only right shoes.
For example, Russian Tzar Ivan The Terrible burned eyes of the architect that designed a beautiful church at the Red Square, so the one designed remains the most beautiful ever. At the same time it is important to avoid biases, such as road conditions, when choosing locations.
It is important that farmers participate on an equal footing during the information-gathering process, otherwise their participation during the later stages of the demonstration phase is likely to be undermined. For this reason, different stakeholder groups will often draw maps of the same area that look very different. It may be best to use a route that brings the team back to where it started, or it may need to start beside a river or the sea and move up-hill to the edge of a watershed. For example, one may take responsibility to ask about crops, another about land tenure and so on. In any case, it is important to show the diagram to groups of villagers and use it as a basis of discussion on what the team has learned.
For example, it can be used to determine the most appropriate time of day for a women's training course. It is important to bear in mind that a stakeholder group might consist of only one individual and that individuals can belong to more than one stakeholder group.
It is important to think about how the activities of each group relate to the objective of improved food security and to the problems that are preventing its attainment.
On the positive side, it can serve to help promote partnerships among the various stakeholders.
Some of the statistical data may feed directly into the financial calculation of farm budgets. You could do the same with your code: some programmers only write lines with odd numbers, and the others--those with even numbers; provided that they can't see the work of each other! As a result, mapping can be a good way to gain insight into the priorities of stakeholders, conflicts of interest, and possible opportunities. It will help focus the discussion and enable team members to probe further on the fanning systems, the severity of constraints and the degree of consensus amongst villagers. Other important sub-groupings with different priorities are those based on gender and those based on assets. An important reason for conducting stakeholder analysis is to enable both the programme managers and the stakeholders themselves to recognise and better deal with potential conflicts of interest. For a given sample size, measurements with large standard deviations will give less precise estimates than those with small standard deviations.
Surveys should not be used to collect unnecessary data or information which can better be obtained using participatory methods. Mattilla, Gender Analysis and Forestry International Training Package (1995), FAO, Rome, and Nabasa, J., G. In using data recording forms, copying by hand should be limited as much as possible in order to avoid the possible introduction of error and loss of time. Were, Participatory Rural Appraisal: Practical Experiences, Natural Resources Institute (NRI), Chatham, UK. Quan, Trees and Trade-Offs: A Stakeholder Approach to Natural Resource Management (1995), Gatekeepers Series No.



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