|People's Participation in Managing Common Pool Natural Resources : Lessons of Success in India (IRMA, 1992, 26 p.)|
The case study method of research was followed to achieve the objectives of the study. According to Yin (1984, p. 23), "A case study is an empirical inquiry that investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real life context when the boundaries between the phenomenon and the context are not clearly evident; and in which multiple sources of evidence are used". In general, the case study method is preferred to other methods of research when the researcher is interested in answering "why" and "how" questions, and when he/she has little control over the factors that affect the phenomenon to be studied. Results of case studies, like those of experiments, are generalised to theoretical propositions and not to populations or universes. In this sense, the focus of the case study researcher is to expand and generalise theories and not develop new theories. Of the four types of commonly used case study designs, we chose the holistic multiple-case design (ibid., p. 41-53) with a single unit of analysis and multiple cases. Following this design, we chose five cases for in-depth study and analysis for which the unit of analysis was the project under study.
There is no universally acceptable measure or index of people's participation that could be used to evaluate resource development programmes in terms of people's participation. One could use as crude measures of participation such parameters as proportions of the target group of people who participated in various stages of a programme, who adopted various recommended measures and practices, and who expended their time and money on participation in collective action required for resource development and management on a sustained basis. We used information collected from published and unpublished documents and through the Key Informant Technique (KIT) to assess the extent of people's participation in the selected projects (Trembley,1982). Following KIT, we asked selected knowledgeable local people and representatives of governmental and non-governmental organisa-tions associated with the selected projects to rank people's participation as low, medium, and high in terms of these parameters.