Wellbeing research in developing countries: reviewing the role of qualitative methods

Camfield, Laura ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0165-9857, Crivello, Gina and Woodhead, Martin (2009) Wellbeing research in developing countries: reviewing the role of qualitative methods. Social Indicators Research, 90 (1). pp. 5-31. ISSN 0303-8300

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Abstract

The authors review the contribution of qualitative methods to exploring concepts and experiences of wellbeing among children and adults living in developing countries. They provide examples illustrating the potential of these methods for gaining a holistic and contextual understanding of people’s perceptions and experiences. Some of these come from Young Lives, an innovative long-term international research project investigating the changing nature of child poverty in India, Ethiopia, Peru and Vietnam (http://www.younglives.org.uk), and others from the Wellbeing in Developing Countries ESRC research group (WeD), an international, inter-disciplinary project exploring the social and cultural construction of wellbeing in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Peru and Thailand (http://www.welldev.org.uk). The authors show how qualitative methods can be used both alongside and as part of the development of sensitive and relevant quantitative measures, and provide some practical and methodological recommendations. They propose that qualitative approaches are essential in understanding people’s experiences of wellbeing, both now and in the future. However, the authors caution that while these offer many benefits, for example, a less structured and hierarchical engagement between researcher and participant; they require time, energy, and sensitivity. Qualitative methods also work best when used by trained and experienced researchers working in the local language/s in a community where some rapport has already been established. Finally, the paper recommends combining data from qualitative and quantitative approaches (e.g. psychological measures or household surveys) to enhance its explanatory power.

Item Type: Article
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of International Development
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Life Course, Migration and Wellbeing
Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Impact Evaluation
Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Gender and Development
University of East Anglia Schools > Faculty of Science > Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
Faculty of Science > Research Centres > Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
Depositing User: Abigail Dalgleish
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2011 11:43
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2023 23:50
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/18713
DOI: 10.1007/s11205-008-9310-z

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