Qualitative Research

Whist indicators and statistics are very important, they cannot offer us explanations of causality in the way that ethnographic and advanced qualitative research approaches can. Credo Mutwa, an Africanist philosopher put it succinctly in 1966, and his thoughts still ring true, he wrote,

“it is through stories that we are able to reconstruct the past… it is these stories that have shaped Africa… we do not tell stories the way others do. With a story out of Africa, things do not happen the way one expects.”

Our experts observe, record and synthesise information based on interviews, in-depth discussions, participatory processes, observations and close readings of relevant texts. This allows us to understand the importance of context, political economy, webs of knowledge and meaning, that underpin peoples needs, motivations, and experiences. These investigations can yield important data and can also be modelled to explain why programmes have or have not worked, and aid our understanding of causal pathways.

We have facilitated workshops and conducted ethnographic and qualitative fieldwork with a range of subjects including political and business elites, policy makers, community leaders, members of households, children, teachers, programme managers and others. Our work has taken us to Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Our team is also at the forefront of developing and using research methods to enhance the quality, validity and use of qualitative insights – we use a range of analytical techniques including Outcome Harvesting, Process Tracing, Qualitative Comparative Analysis.

We offer transcription and translation services in English and all languages in Southern Africa. We also offer training in the use of qualitative data analysis software. Please write to us for more information.