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Baseline studies for local rural development programmes: towards a methodology

, : Baseline studies for local rural development programmes: towards a methodology. Planning Practice + Research 11(1): 19-36

Given the frequently expressed need for carefully focused and executed 'baseline' studies as a precursor to area-based integrated rural development programmes, this paper outlines two examples of good practice: the first, a French model involves the formal scoring of localities on a host of indicators and takes a statistical approach; the second involves the elaboration of a 'strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats' analysis of the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, UK. The French model is rejected because of its alleged neglect of the key elements of local development, namely the inventiveness and energy of local actors in the public and private sectors and their capacity to work in harmony. The SWOT analysis, because of its ongoing, discursive approach is flawed in that it does not show the issues, resources, and weaknesses that may have fallen by the wayside as the various analyses proceeded. In conclusion, it is argued that a combination of quantitative and qualitative methodologies would provide more meaningful results in the context of rural development programmes.

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Accession: 002763017

DOI: 10.1080/02697459650036422

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