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This page contains details on the methodology that underpins and informs Supras’ work.

There are two aspects to the methodology, namely: (1) Participation and participatory approaches, and (2) Social analysis.

These two aspects represent – and are the foundation and starting point for – both the applied project work and the research that Supras does. Supras relates to and works with participation, participatory approaches and social analysis in a broad sense. For example, in situations where experience in local organizating and relevant institution building (e.g., in setting up NGOs) is lacking, Supras argues that such capacity building activities should be provided. Likewise, in the case of social analysis, Supras argues that local people should receive training in survey work and data collection, as well as in analysis of data. Finally, the two aspects of the methodology are closely linked with the Profile’s “Concepts” and “Focus areas”.

1  Participation and participatory approaches

In development cooperation, participation and participatory approaches have come a long way since the beginning, which possibly can be located in the 1980s. These are broad terms that refer to rather different conceptualization of the relations between individuals and groups of people. A parallel development that fused with and reinforced the focus on participation was the term “stakeholder”, that represent people as having strong and rational views on development interventions that affect them. These stakeholders are, in this connection, the key focus of participation and participatory approaches. The participation of local people as stakeholders in development project and investment operations run the whole gamut from a passive role of providing information on various issues, to an active role as directly involved in decision-making processes.
Sources: World Bank (1996). [access]

2  Social analysis

Social analysis involves examination of the socio-cultural, institutional, cultural, historical, and political contexts of proposed development interventions. Furthermore, it means identifying and analyzing stakeholders’ views and priorities, with a view to involving as many as possible in the overall developmental process. The overarching purpose and goal is to contribute to making more sustainable and equitable development outcomes. Specific methods applied include participatory approaches, Poverty and Social Impact Analysis (PSIA), social assessment, and stakeholder analysis.

One starting point for social analysis is the methodology of participant observation, as developed specifically in anthropology. Another starting point is participation and participatory approaches (see above). Finally, stakeholder analysis (see above), which partly can be understood as a further development and formalization of work on participatory approaches, has become an important element of social analysis.
Sources: Mozammel and Zatlokal (2002); Soeftestad (2005); World Bank (n.d., 1995, 2003, 2005). [access]