News & Views

PDA Ghana tries out causal mapping!

Participatory Development Associates (PDA) has collaborated with Bath SDR since 2016 to implement several QuIPs (evaluations using the Qualitative Impact Protocol) and other research projects across Ghana and in the Democratic Republic of Congo, undertaking hundreds of in-depth interviews, FGDs, surveys – and pulling together quant and qual evidence for clients. The team was keen to learn more about causal mapping to continue their professional development and advance PDA’s involvement in coding and analysis of QuIP data.

So, in the week of the 20th October 2022, eleven research staff from PDA participated in a training in using the Causal Map app facilitated by Bath SDR. In these sessions, which were a mix of self-paced learning and practical sessions, staff learnt about coding causal claims, the use of attribution and sentiment flags, and analysis and reporting of QuIP data collected from outcome-focused interviews.

An important lesson was how to use the app to visualise stories of change; identifying causal claims within respondents’ stories by coding influence and consequence factors. This was then mapped out diagrammatically on the Casual Map application.

Screenshot from the Causal Map app showing an overview map

The self-paced learning component (using text, audio and video provided by Bath SDR) was greatly useful in preparing the team for the practical training session. According to the participants, this made them “appreciate and understand some of the key concepts and principles of QuIP coding and analysis ahead of the practical training”.

This training was part of PDA’s continued interest and education in the QuIP methodology. We have been trained in and conducted QuIP-style exploratory interviews for many years, but this deeper insight into how the interviews are coded helps the team to focus more effectively on executing ‘blindfolded’ or goal-free interviews which really capture the causal mechanisms in change stories. The session was educational, informative and interesting and we look forward to future practical sessions to help expand our learning.

The staff enjoyed the use of Miro in the training as it allowed them to actively participate; there were individual and group discussions, diagrammatic illustration and presentations, polls to vote in. The combination of this app with the breakout sessions further enhanced collective learning and made the training “really fun and exciting”.

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