Understanding poverty dynamics: Innovations in mixed method

Type Conference Paper
Title Understanding poverty dynamics: Innovations in mixed method
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2003
URL https://www.datafirst.uct.ac.za/dataportal/index.php/admin/citations/edit/5549
This paper is excerpted from a longer draft paper with the same title. The project is a collaboration 1. Introduction This paper presents the methodology used in a longitudinal study of poverty dynamics in KwaZulu-Natal province in South Africa.
The study combines socioeconomic panel survey data with in-depth, semi-structured household and key informant interviews, group interviews, and observation. It also developed unique participatory methods to conduct qualitative household interviews, with multiple household members constructing visual family histories. Notably, qualitative methods were used to delve underneath apparent relationships derived from quantitative statistics and regressions, in order to understand what the numbers were measuring or missing. Iterative analysis of the longitudinal quantitative data and retrospective qualitative data enabled greater analytical insight than is normally available from either type of data alone. In addition, visual methods were developed to explore the composition of " the household " , and to gather data from and about household members that may be missed in surveys. The study focused on changes in the poverty status of households, primarily through the periods 1993 to 1998. The qualitative research also traced some changes through 2001.
This was the period surrounding and following South Africa's transition to democracy, and the introduction of policies reflecting the new government's initial commitment to poverty alleviation, embodied in its Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP 1994) and the programs of sector-specific government departments. There were also immense new challenges to reducing poverty: South Africa's abrupt entrance into the international global economic system; the need for institutional transformation at all three levels of government, and the need to address the legacies of apartheid such as poor education, poor health, underdeveloped markets and racial discrimination, among others. The study's focus on poverty dynamics was based on concern about the extensive and deep poverty and inequality in South Africa, and the desire to understand what contributes to the persistence of poverty or the ability to transcend it.

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