|Hygiene Evaluation Procedures - Approaches and Methods for Assessing Water - and Sanitation-Related Hygiene Practices (International Nutrition Foundation for Developing Countries - INFDC, 1997, 124 pages)|
|7. Analysis, presentation, and implementation of findings|
There are four main stages in the analysis and interpretation of qualitative information. These are discussed in more detail in several text books including Patton (1986, 1990), Miles and Huberman (1994), and Silverman (1994). Here, we shall concentrate more on the practical tasks, rather than on theoretical issues.
Description and analysis of qualitative information are closely linked, hence the phrase descriptive analysis. This includes some description of the purpose of the study, the study site, and people involved which is normally presented in the introductory sections of a report. However, descriptive analysis focuses on the information gathered in relation to how it was gathered, where, and by whom. This involves reviewing the information, identifying links, patterns, and common themes, arranging the facts in order, and presenting them as they are, without adding any comments on their significance. This is usually presented in the Results section of a study report. The order in which the results are presented may be chronological, following the order in which the facts were obtained; or hierarchical, in order of their relative importance to the heart of the investigation. The introductory description and the descriptive analysis (results) sections of a study report should enable you to answer basic questions. For example:
· Where was the study conducted? What are the physical and climatic conditions in which people live?
· When was the study conducted? Why?
· What were the study aims, objectives, and intended outputs?
· Who conducted the study? Which methods/tools were used? Why?
· How did people participate in the study? Which ethnic, language or other groups were involved? How does the level of participation achieved in your study compare with your project's general ethos concerning (community) participation?
What does the information gathered consist of:
· by method/tool of investigation used;
· by cluster of hygiene practices;
· by any other relevant order?
Answers to these questions require rigorous analysis and description, but not interpretation (see Box 24 for an example of how results are distinguished from discussion of findings or interpretation).
BOX 24. An Example to Demonstrate How Reporting Results Differs from Interpretation
In a hygiene evaluation study conducted in rural western Kenya, several methods and tools were used including mapping, Three-pile sorting, Spot-check Observations, and Semi-structured (Informal) Interviews. With regard to latrine use, the findings were as follows:
Maps created by study participants in both villages revealed that most latrines (seventeen out of twenty-one in Village 1, and twenty-five out of twenty-six in Village 2) were located outside the courtyards.
The picture of a VIP latrine with a curtain which did not reach the floor (so that the feet of the person using the latrine could be seen) was categorized as bad in both villages.
Children's faeces were noticed in the compound only if the mother was absent. In both villages, very little faecal contamination was observed in both the domestic and the public environment.
Others reported that they normally train their young children to defecate in a specially designated place within the compound... after defecation, the child would let the mother know and she would dispose of the faeces either by taking it to the latrine (with a hoe), or by digging and burying it in the ground.
These and other findings were then put together, crosschecked and interpreted, and presented 'In the Discussion section of the report as follows:
"In the Luo culture, it Is generally held that contact with
human faeces is defiling and thus to be avoided at all costs... Firstly, there
are clear gender-specific rules about latrine construction and maintenance ...
Secondly, if a latrine is to be used, and used by everyone, then it should be
located appropriately... If a latrine is located within the compound, it cannot
be shared by in-laws... the use of a latrine inside the compound of one's
in-laws is seen by the Luo a, tantamount to undressing or being naked
in front of one's in-laws even though nobody actually sees the act of
undressing or the state of being naked. Such notions of nakedness relate to
privacy which is a very important and well recognized requirement for latrine
acceptance and use...The results of the three-pile sorting activities certainly
support the privacy argument."
Sufficient detail should be included in the descriptive analysis to enable the reader to see the investigative steps you have followed, how you made methodological decisions, or changes of direction. and why. Remember that the facts have to be presented clearly, coherently, and fully before they can be interpreted. A very important feature of the descriptive analysis is the checking and crosschecking of information in order to establish the quality or trustworthiness of the findings. We shall deal with this separately in detail in "Establishing the Trustworthiness of Information.''
The second stage is to determine what the results mean and how significant they are in the specific context to which they belong. The reasons behind certain hygiene practices and to what extent they are influenced by sociocultural factors can be teased out when the study team's multiple perspectives are brought to bear on the results. Wider issues concerning our understanding of the links between hygiene practices and health can also be explored in the light of the findings.
The following are some of the questions for the study team to answer when interpreting the study results:
· What do the results mean?
· Why did the results turn out the way they did?
· What are possible explanations of the results?
· Have all the why questions been answered? Do some of them require further investigation?
The interpretation of findings should ideally reflect the comments and suggestions made by members of the study population(s) during the feedback sessions that are built into the use of investigative and analytical methods/tools, such as those described in Chapters 5 and G. This will help minimize the biases that can creep into the interpretation of results, making sure that they are not separated from the context in which information was gathered (see Box 24).
Descriptive analysis and interpretation of results ultimately lead to judging the findings as positive or negative or both, and stating the reasons why. The values of the study team and other stakeholders are brought to bear on the study findings. For example, the findings may show what is good, bad, desirable, or undesirable in the way the project has promoted improved water supply, sanitation, and hygiene/health, in the way people have responded to external interventions. and why. The question to be answered here is:
· What is the significance of the findings to the various stakeholders in this particular setting?· to your project?
· to the study population?
· to applied researchers interested in the links between particular hygiene practices and health?
The interpretation and judgment of results are usually presented in the Discussion section of a report. It is important to strike a fair balance between the positive and negative aspects of the findings. For example, positive findings should be emphasized without brushing over negative ones. Similarly, negative findings should not only be listed, but discussed in a way that explores possible practical solutions or feasible remedies. The discussion section should be followed by the conclusions which may be presented in the same section or separately under Conclusions.
The fourth stage is to draw some recommendations for action to be taken on the basis of the analysis, interpretation, and judgement of study findings. The Recommendations section of a report normally follows the discussion and conclusions and should address the following questions.
· What are the implications of the findings, based on your analysis, interpretation, and judgements? What are the implications:· for your particular project?
· for other projects that may be interested to learn from your findings?
· for any other interested parties, such as researchers?
· What should be done by your project and other stakeholders on the basis of the analysis, interpretation, and judgement of your study results?
The more the different concerned parties or stakeholders are involved in the interpretation and judgement of the study results, the easier it will be for you to reflect their interests in the recommendations. Practical and feasible suggestions should be clearly included in the recommendations.