SAS2: a guide to collaborative inquiry and social engagement

SAS2: a guide to collaborative inquiry and social engagement

Supporting the creation and mobilisation of practial knowledge for social change

Social issues should be addressed socially and in multi-stakeholder mode, not by private interest and experts alone in processes of knowledge production, planning and decision making. This guide is an important step in the creation and mobilisation of practical, authentic knowledge for social change. Its authors hope it will be an invaluable resource for researchers, facilitators and activists working to solve problems and support inclusive enquiry and decision-making.

A key message of this guide concerns the skillful means through which to make the most of the opportunities of people-based and evidence-based thinking. It argues that conventional methods such as surveys, questionnaires, and focus groups offer little scope for imagination or originality in search for solutions which are meaningful and relevant to the people involved. Social Analysis Systems (SAS2) provides guidance on how to walk-the-talk both in the form of specific tools for assessing problems, actors and options and in the concepts and guidelines for the design of processes and events that can support dialogue and social innovation. It aims to make a novel contribution to conventional notions of public engagement and expert research.

The guide has been divided into two parts:

  • Part 1 outlines the concepts and skillful means needed to support multi-stakeholder dialogue. It also provides detailed instructions on how to integrate and ground collaborative inquiry in the projects, plans, evaluations and activities of multiple stakeholders

  • Part 2 highlights a selection of techniques and learning for collaborative inquiry and examples of real life applications in South Asia and Latin America. Examples focus on a range of issues including land tenure, local economic development, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and organisational development. Techniques include using Action Research Training (ART), problem tree, force fields, CLIP social analysis (collaboration, conflict, legitimacy, interests, power)
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