Multi-Methods Research Course (MMRC) in Africa

An international team of social science faculty and researchers, led initially by Peter P. Houtzager, has developed an applied Multi-Methods Research Course for the Partnership for African Social and Governance Research (PASGR).

The course is composed of 7 Modules, taught over a 22 day period, and introduces participants to significant recent advances in concept formation, typological theory, comparative case studies, large-N, experimental design, social network analysis, ethnographic and participatory research techniques.

PASGR is a not-for-profit organisation based in Nairobi that seeks to enable African social science researchers to produce and communicate quality research that will contribute knowledge to African governance and poverty reduction efforts. PASGR also works with African universities to strengthen the provision of graduate-level education by enriching the teaching and practice of social science research for public policy in Africa.

The IDS-led contribution to the programme covers the design and piloting of a ‘base’ research methods course under the professional development programme. The Multi-Methods Research Course differs from existing courses in three important ways: 

  1. It is an applied methods course, in which participants assimilate and work though new methods using their own work. The course therefore emphases small group learning. 
  2. Teaching is case study based, following the model used in business and other professional schools. 
  3. The course invests heavily in peer support and review processes. 

The Course targets two main constituencies, both seeking to broaden their familiarity with a range of conceptual and methodological approaches to their research and teaching work: African researchers engaged in social science, social policy and/or governance research working in think tanks, universities and policy-research orientated NGOs; and graduate level teaching staff in African universities who are actively engaged in research.

The Multi-Methods Research course has 7 modules:

  1. Designing social inquiry
  2. Comparative (Small N) case studies
  3. Large-N Research: Principles and an Application (Evaluation)
  4. Network analysis: formal and informal ties
  5. Ethnographic methods for informal governance practices
  6. Action Research in Governance
  7. Policy-Oriented Research Tool Kit

The first pilot course was delivered in Nairobi, November 2011 – March 2011. Further courses were delivered in 2012-2013 and Shandana Mohmand is now leading the team which will deliver a third series in 2013-2014, and preparations for this will include a training course for local training facilitators.

PASGR has also contracted IDS to prepare and deliver professional development training to policy actors. This will take place in Dar es Salaam in early 2014.

Key contacts

Project details

start date
1 November 2011
end date
28 November 2016