Cover Image
close this bookRecording and Using Indigenous Knowledge: A Manual (IIRR, 1996, 211 p.)
close this folderPart 1 Indigenous knowledge and development
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentHow the manual was compiled
View the documentHow to use the manual
View the documentWhat is indigenous knowledge?
View the documentWho knows what?
View the documentCharacteristics of local systems
View the documentWhy is indigenous knowledge useful?
View the documentHelping communities conserve their IK
View the documentUsing indigenous knowledge in development
View the documentRecording IK in communities
View the documentIntellectual property rights
close this folderPart 2 Recording and assessment methodologies
close this folderRecording methods
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentSources and documentation of IK
close this folderSample selection
View the documentHow to draw a sample
View the documentIdentifying indigenous specialists
close this folderObservation and interviewing
View the documentCase studies
View the documentField observation
View the documentIn-depth interviews
View the documentInterviewing
View the documentParticipant observation
View the documentParticipative technology analysis
View the documentSurveys
close this folderWorking with groups
View the documentBrainstorming
View the documentFive questions
View the documentGames
View the documentGroup discussions
View the documentRole play
View the documentStrengths and weaknesses
View the documentSWOT analysis
View the documentVillage reflections
View the documentVillage workshop
close this folderUsing diagram
View the documentFlow chart
View the documentHistorical comparison
View the documentIllustrations and diagrams
View the documentMapping
View the documentMatrix
View the documentModeling bioresource flows
View the documentSeasonal Pattern chart
View the documentSorting and ranking
View the documentTaxonomies
View the documentTransect
View the documentVenn (or chapti) diagramming
View the documentWebbing
close this folderAudio-visual media
View the documentCassette documentation
View the documentParticipatory video
View the documentPhoto/slide documentation
close this folderPart 3 Assessment of indigenous knowledge
View the documentAssessing IK
View the documentCriteria for assessing IK
View the documentTapping assessment
View the documentUsing western science methods to assess IK
View the documentMonitoring and evaluation
close this folderPart 4 Mini-case studies - How development can build on IK
View the documentMini-case studies
View the documentProblem identification and prioritization in Kiko Rosa, Philippines
View the documentCommunity manged health in Pinagsanjaan, Philippines
View the documentIncorporation of local free species in an agroforestry project in Layong Mabilog Philippines
View the documentLocal vegetable varieties for home gardening programs
View the documentTraditional animal dispersal schemes in Cavite, Philippines
View the documentIncreasing food Production in Negros, Philippines
View the documentOvercoming labor shortages through indigenous mutual-help groups
View the documentPromoting the use of IK in Venezuela
View the documentFarmers' experiments in teak germination in Sri Lanka
View the documentPromoting an indigenous savings scheme in Ethiopia
close this folderPart 5 - Question guides
View the documentQuestion guides
View the documentGender and indigenous knowledge
View the documentFarmer-to-farmer extension and farmer experimentation
View the documentSoil fertility
View the documentCropping systems
View the documentGardening
View the documentAgroforestry
View the documentWatershed management
View the documentEnvironment, natural resources. and biodiversity
View the documentCoastal resource s management
View the documentAquaculture
View the documentAnimal husbandry and healthcare
View the documentFood and nutrition
View the documentReproductive health and family planning
View the documentWater and sanitation
View the documentHealth financing schemes
View the documentHealthcare systems
View the documentOccupational health
View the documentOrganizations and leadership
View the documentCredit and savings
View the documentEnterprise development
View the documentCommunication
close this folderPart 6 - Resources
View the documentAbbreviations and definitions
View the documentReferences
View the documentAddresses
View the documentProject staff and contributors

Using western science methods to assess IK

First, by "western science methods" we mean methods used by western science to develop and test technologies, methods, or practices. For example, soil sample tests, measurement. of animal feed intake, or blood tests to monitor the effects of certain drugs.

But IK can be different IK is holistic. it can be difficult to differentiate into many subject matters, each treated separately by western science. And, to attempt to describe all western science methods which could be used to assess IK would be impractical. Instead, we will highlight some principles and give a few examples

Principles for assessing IK with western science methods

- As with all research, the selection of western science methods for assessment of IK should be based on objectives defined before the assessment (see Recording IK in communities).

- The assessment needs to be based on a throough understanding of the IK to be assessed.

- The experimental design should do justice to the special nature of IK (e.g.,, recognizing its holistic nature, not purely economic benefits, etc.).

- Insiders' assessment should complement western science methods.

- IK should be viewed in the broad context of culture, society, and history.

- We must recognize the limitations of western science for the assessment of IK in order to interpret our study results correctly.

1 Western science methods can lead to false conclusions when used to assess IK (see Criteria for assessing IK).

2 Western science, lacking the means to understand an indigenous practice or technology, might belittle it. A classic example is acupuncture. For a long time western science had no explanation for acupuncture and therefore disregarded it. This is changing and acupuncture is being integrated into western medicine's curricula.

Examples of western science methods used to assess IK

The following are some examples of western science methods which could be used to assess IK. This list shows that approaches developed in different disciplines can be used. Keep in mind that these methods should be combined with insiders' assessment.

Animal Production and healthcare

Let's suppose that a community wishes to expand and improve its livestock production system. The following western science methods could determine the efficiency of local animal production and healthcare practices and indicate which aspects of the indigenous system could be used, improved, or blended with western practices:

- Measure productivity of animals, recording both inputs and outputs (ace Criteria for assessing IK).

- Observe the condition of livestock kept in the community (this could be done by ocular inspection, weighing and measuring animals, etc.).

- Test for Parasites by investigating feces of randomly selected animals (this will require some laboratory tests).

- Identify medicinal plants used by the community and test their efficacy. The medicinal qualities of some plants have already been established in the scientific literature.

Indigenous paper making

- Calculate amount of raw materials and energy used in the production process.

- Test quality of paper in the laboratory (do not forget to keep the local use in mind when making any statement about the paper's quality).

Effect of IK on environment

- Assess biodiversity in the environment of the study community (e.g., count number of species in an area of a certain size).

- Measure nutrients in soil.

- Measure runoff and soil erosion from fields.

Indigenous birth attendants

- Collect data about course and outcome of deliveries assisted by indigenous birth attendants and analyze results using statistics.

- Investigate condition of instruments used by local birth attendants (e.g., whether the instruments are clean, which bacteria they contain, etc.).

Indigenous communication

- Assess number of Persons reached by messages transmitted through indigenous channels.

- Measure time needed for transmission.

Compiled by Evelyn Mathias