Cover Image
close this bookOral Rehydration Therapy and the Control of Diarrheal Diseases (Peace Corps, 1985, 566 p.)
close this folderModule Five: Working with the community
close this folderSession 13 - The impact of culture on diarrhea
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentHandout 13A: Sample diarrhea questionnaire
View the documentHandout 13B: Methods for gathering information
View the documentHandout 13C: Identifying helpful and harmful practices
View the documentHandout 13D: Role of traditional healing in diarrheal diseases control

Handout 13B: Methods for gathering information

Who Should Gather Information?

Involve community people when you can.

How to Get Started

Look and listen before asking and acting.
Explore the community's attitude toward "being studied.
Find out if you should follow any special rules of protocol.
Put human relations before getting answers
Ask questions that set people thinking in a positive way.

General Methods You Might Use

In-depth interviews
Simple surveys
Case studies

Find a close confident - someone who may help you bridge the gap between cultures.

Be cautious in choosing a close confidant - is he or she still in touch with the local culture.!

Find other informants:

Get to know local leaders, residents who are widely respected
Talk with those considered "wise" within the community
Talk with the "ordinary" workers and community people
Get to know the patients, the recipients of care
Talk with the critics of the system

Learn through informal conversations

Just sit and talk over a cup of coffee or a calabash of millett beer
Learn from gossip
Be alert to jokes and their meanings
Listen to stories and learn from them
Learn about the system by asking how to solve problems

Learn through observing

Participate in community activities
Go out and see what it's really like
Learn by looking at what's going on around you

How to Ask Questions

Explore peoples' attitudes toward questioning
Check your questions before starting out
Learn how to interview within the local area
Learn when to ask questions and when not to ask them
Learn what questions to ask, and which ones not to ask
Adapt your questions to the culture

Some Typical Problems in Gaining information or "Why You May Have Difficulty in Getting the 'Truth".

People may not trust you yet
Respondents may wish to tell you what they think you want to hear
You nay be asking the wrong people
People may have difficulty in reflecting on what is second nature to them
What a respondent says might be altered during translation
You own characteristics nay influence the response
Your respondents may mistake the "ideal" for the "real"

Beware of the Pitfalls of Making Stereotypes and Generalizations

Consider the Effects of Your Information Gathering on the Community

Consider whether your findings will make any real difference
Develop methods that can be used by local personnel or community members when you leave.

(Adapted from: Peace Corps Draft Material prepared by Ann Browniee)