A participatory action research approach to programme evaluation in a rural society

Bester, Alte (2002-03)

Thesis (MA)--University of Stellenbosch, 2002.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Recently, Participatory action research (PAR) has become a common approach to social programmes in South Africa. This tendency has created a need to evaluate this kind of programmes to determine if it really achieves what it sets out to do. The purpose of this study was to evaluate an entrepreneurial skills training programme in a rural community where a participatory action research approach was followed. A literature review was undertaken to present an in-depth look into the body of literature that surrounds the study. Programme evaluation was discussed as a research design, including types and stages of evaluation. The concept of empowerment was investigated. The review also included a study of literature on PAR, especially the definitions, context and process of PAR. The role of entrepreneurship in rural development was also investigated as well as the evaluation of entrepreneurial skills training programmes. An entrepreneurial skills training programme was implemented in the rural town of Darling on the West Coast of South Africa. The PAR approach was followed in the implementation of the study that was conducted over a period of 15 months. Participants joined the programme that included different projects, voluntarily. The participants were divided into three groups according to their period of participation in the programme. The researcher facilitated actions as well as reflection meetings with the group of participants before and after the entrepreneurial skills training course. The researcher made field notes during the implementation of the programme. The participants' empowerment status was measured with a standardized questionnaire using a pre-test-post-test design. The participants' application of the entrepreneurial skills that were taught in the course was measured during semi-structured interviews at the end of the research perico. four case studies document the extremes of the respective outcomes of the programme, namely empowerment and entrepreneurship. Statistical analysis showed statistically significant improvements in the micro, macro and total empowerment scores of the total group. Looking at the three groups separately, group one showed statistically significant improvements on the micro and interface levels and group two on the micro level. Even though group three showed small improvements on all three levels, none of them were statistically significant. Data from the field notes wer:e analyzed according to the PAR concepts of participation, action and reflection. Participation mostly had a collaborative nature; action was aimed at economical change and reflection aimed at practical problem solving. The interviews revealed that 20 of the 24 participants had micro baking businesses at the end of the research period and they succeeded in the short-term goal of applying the skills that were taught in the course. The case studies showed no correlation between the participants' application of entrepreneurial skills and the changes in their empowerment status. The findings of the study suggest that the longer participants participate in a PAR programme, the bigger the improvement in their empowerment status will be. Monitoring of the implementation revealed that the study fell short of the "ideal type" of PAR, since participation was not yet collegiate. Actions were only effective in economic change and not in social transformation. Reflection resulted in limited critical self-awareness among the participants. The PAR approach has proven to be successful in the attainment of the short-term goals of an entrepreneurial skills training programme. The long-term sustainability of the entrepreneurs' businesses will have to be followed-up by further research.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die afgelope tyd is deelnemende aksie navorsing (DAN)'n algemene benadering tot sosiale intervensie programme in Suid-Afrika. Hierdie tendens het 'n behoefte laat ontstaan om hierdie tipe programme te evalueer om te bepaal of dit werklik die program doelwitte bereik. Die doel van hierdie studie was om 'n entrepreneursvaardighede opleidingsprogram in 'n landelike gemeenskap waar die DAN-benadering gevolg is, te evalueer. 'n Literatuuroorsig is onderneem om die konseptueie raamwerk wat vir die studie saamgestel is, te kan beredeneer. Programevaluering, insluitende tipes and stadia van evaluering, is bespreek as 'n navorsingsontwerp. Die konsep van bemagtiging is ook bestudeer. Die oorsig het 'n ook studie van literatuur oor DAN ingesluit, veral definisies, die konteks en die proses van DAN. Die rol van entrepreneurskap in landelike ontwikkeling is 00~ ondersoek sowel as die evaluering van opleidingsprogramme gemik op die ontwikkeling van entrepreneursvaardighede. 'n Entrepreneursvaardighede opleidingsprogram is in 'n landelike dorpie, Darling, aan die Weskus van Suid-Afrika geïmplementeer. Oor 'n periode van 15 maande is die DAN-benadering in die implementering van die program gevolg. Deelnemers het vrywillig by die program wat uit verskillende projekte bestaan het, aangesluit. Die deelnemers is na aanleiding van hul tydperk van deelname in die program in drie groepe verdeel. Die navorser het aksies sowel as refleksie byeenkomste met die groep deelnemers voor en na die entrepreneursvaardighede opleidingskursus gefasiliteer. Die navorser het veldnotas tydens die implementering van die program gemaak. Die deelnemers se bemagtigingstatus is gemeet met 'n gestandaardiseerde vraelys terwyl 'n voor-en-na-toets ontwerp gevolg is. Die deelnemers se toepassing van die entrepreneursvaardighede wat in die kursus geleer is, is tydens semigestruktureerde onderhoude aan die einde van die navorsingsperiode gemeet. Vier gevallestudies dokumenteer die uiterstes van die onderskeidelike uitkomste van die program, naamlik bemagtiging en entrepreneurskap. Statistiese analise het statisties betekenisvolle verbeteringe in die mikro, makro en totale bemagtigingsvlakke van die totale groep getoon. Afsonderlik gesien, het groep een statisties betekenisvolle verbeteringe op die mikro en tussenvlak getoon en groep twee net op die mikrovlak. Alhoewel groep drie klein verbeteringe op al drie vlakke getoon het, was geen van die verbeteringe statisties betekenisvol nie. Data van die veldnotas is volgens DAN konsepte, naamlik deelname, aksie en refleksie geanaliseer. Die deelnemers en die fasiliteerder se deelname het meestal In samewerkende aard gehad, aksie was gemik op ekonomiese verandering en refleksie was gemik op praktiese probleemoplossinq. Die onderhoude het aangetoon dat 20 van die 24 deelnemers aan die einde van die navorsingsperiode In mikro bakbesigheid gehad het en dat hulle daarin geslaag het om die korttermyn doelwit, naamlik die toepassing van die vaardighede wat in die kursus geleer is, te bereik. Die gevallestudies het geen korrelasie getoon tussen die deelnemers se toepassing van entrepreneursvaardighede en die veranderinge in hulle bemagtigingstatus nie. Die studie se bevindinge dui daarop dat hoe langer deelnemers aan In DAN-program deelneem, hoe groter sal die verbetering in hulle bemagtigingstatus wees. Die monitering van die implementering van die program het laat biyk dat die studie tekort skiet in vergelyking met die "ideaaltipe" van DAN, want die deelname was nog nie korporatief nie. Aksies was net suksesvol in ekonomiese verandering en nie in sosiale transformasie nie. Refleksie het tot beperkte kritiese "selfbewustheid" by die deelnemers gelei. Dit blyk dat die DAN-benadering suksesvol was om die korttermyn doelwitte van In entrepreneursvaardighede opleidingsprogram te bereik. Die langtermyn volhoubaarheid van die entrepreneurs se bakbesighede sal met verdere navorsing opgevolg moet word.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/52686
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