Exploring appropriate approaches for returning research findings to communities in Ndola, Zambia
Thesis DisciplineWater Resource Management
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Water Resource Management
Many scientific research projects carried out in developing countries gather data and fail to return any summary of the findings to the community that provided the data. Residents from communities experiencing water issues are often deprived of effective participation in necessary change as they are used only as a source of data and no further involvement regarding access to research findings occurs. Indigenous writers have revealed the injustice of this reality and have suggested that this is typical of colonial research methods. This situation is a major concern because accessing research knowledge encourages communities to examine their water issues and empowers them to formulate solutions. In order to gain an in-depth understanding of residents’ experiences with water research projects from communities experiencing water quality issues, and to develop an appropriate approach for returning research findings to residents, this study was carried out in Ndola, Copperbelt Province, Zambia. Inspired by decolonising methodologies, semi-structured interviews and focus group meetings were conducted in order to understand participants’ experiences with water research projects. This study explores different approaches to returning research findings to participant communities using the results of a recent water research project conducted by Elizabeth Liddle in Ndola in 2013. It was found that the appropriate method for returning research findings to Ndola is face-to-face discussion, as it allows the researcher and individuals from participant communities to engage in dialogue and learn from each other while talking over the research findings from every angle, thus gaining a better understanding of their implications.