This paper outlines and reflects on the process of undertaking a Qualitative Document Analysis (QDA) on policy and ‘practice’ documents in the rural water sector. This paper is relevant to organisations or researchers interested in research or evaluation methodologies that can provide a systematic analysis of policies and also serve as an engagement tool.
The QDA was undertaken as part of the Triple-S (Sustainable Services at Scale) initiative, for which the Impact and Learning Team (ILT) at IDS serves as an External Learning Facilitator. The strengths and weaknesses of the methodology are discussed here. Overall, the team found that the QDA exercise provided useful information about trends and gaps in the rural water sector, helped to refine the Triple-S engagement strategy, and served as a useful platform for engagement with partner organisations.