Rapid Assessment Process: An Introduction

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9780759100114: Rapid Assessment Process: An Introduction
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Rapid Assessment Process (RAP) has gone under many names but invariably uses the techniques of fieldwork and ethnography in a telescoped manner to provide solid, field-based research findings for use by policymakers and program planners. It uses an emic perspective, a team of researchers, triangulation of research findings, and iterative process to produce high-quality research in a fraction of the time taken by traditional ethnography. Long used for third world projects, RAP is now being used to inform policy in many different settings. This volume is the first introduction to this group of methods, explaining to researchers and to students how to do RAP research well. The author, an international development professional who has been doing RAP studies for over two decades, clearly outlines the process, promise and pitfalls of RAP in this brief volume. Included are many examples of successful RAP studies and clear guidance to readers on how to embark on their own RAP research.

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About the Author:

James Beebe is Professor in the Doctoral Program in Leadership at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. He has a Ph.D. in International Development Education, an M.A. in Anthropology, and an M.A. in Food Research (International Agricultural Development). As a practitioner/scholar in qualitative research methodology, Beebe has worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development in long-term assignments in the Sudan, Philippines, Liberia, and South Africa and short-term assignments in nine other countries. He teaches, researches, and consults on the relationship between leadership and technology.

Review:

James Beebe is the master of RAP. In this book he provides the basic explanation and methodological justification for the use of RAP. He draws upon his own rich experience to illustrate its implementation and demonstrate its practical value. It is unusual for a methods book to be written so clearly and to be so accessible to the reader. I recommend it both as a teaching tool for the classroom and as a handy guide for seasoned professionals. (John Young)

This admirable treatment is particularly straightforward and comprehensive. Chapter-opening summaries of main points, boxes relaying important points in single sentences, a chapter comparing RAP to similar methods, well-chosen examples, helpful figures, and a comprehensive glossary add to the book's usefulness. For both students and specialists. (M. A. Gwynne, (SUNY at Stony Brook) CHOICE)

Professor James Beebe has written a highly useful, reader-friendly book on Rapid Assessment Process. The book combines concise presentations of research and analytical techniques with clear conceptual explanations about the purpose and ways of using these procedures. This enables Beebe to simultaneously emphasize speed in field work and caution against excesses, when a rapid pace may not be slow enough to capture and reveal what is essential. To my knowledge, there is no other similar manual in the literature available for those interested in employing social science inquiry methods in a time effective manner, with practical goals in mind. Social scientists doing applied research ― sociologists, anthropologists, political scientists, social geographers ― will find in this volume a treasure trove of methods, ideas, and advice for their work. Government agencies or private sector corporations interested in benefiting from direct social research will know better from Beebe's book what to request and what to expect from able investigators mandated to carry out rapid assessments and generate insights, knowledge, and recommendations for action. I highly recommend this book to both practitioners and teachers of social investigation methods. (Michael Cernea, (World Bank))

This book is an easy read and provides pragmatic suggestions for engaging in rapid assessment process research. As a university professor and researcher as well as a practitioner I find Beebe's text to be a welcome addition to the growing number of useful resources for qualitative researchers. (Charles Lee Cole, (University of Louisiana at Monroe) Forum: Qualitative Social Research, Vol. 3.4)

I found James Beebe's new book on Rapid Assessment Process to be interesting and useful. I enjoyed reading personal experiences coupled with well-stated principles. The book will be very helpful to both novice and experienced ethnographers: novices will gain a concisely presented introduction to rapid assessment work on which they can build through practice in the field. Experienced ethnographers will benefit from the remembering and reorganizing of research habits that happened to me throughout the book. I also look forward to using the book with my graduate students in community health nursing... (Noel Chrisman, (University of Washington))

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