Dissertation Chapter - Methodology
Paper Review and Project Management Analysis
Part One: Review
According to the Batey Relief Alliance Project Report, BRA (Batey Relief Alliance) is a renowned non-governmental organization, which has continued to accomplish major Batey communities’ health needs in the Dominican Republic for over the last 15 years. BRA has initiated previous successful programs that have been recognized by various key donors in the health and development sector such as the Clinton Global Initiative and USAID. The objectives of the BRA project in the report included conducting a mixed-methods and thorough evaluation of the programs initiated by BRA to analysis the needs of the Batey communities. Other objectives were to assess the capacity of BRA in meeting those needs, which would assist it to align itself with its principles and missions. Notably, during this particular time, BRA wanted to effectively expand its programs since it was essential for the firm to comprehend the needs of the community. The organization also wanted to understand its program capacities, which would enable it to expand as planned so that it could strengthen its present programs, as well as meet the communities' needs comprehensively according to Acosta et al. (2014).
In practice, the evaluation objectives that BRA utilized for the project were multifaceted whereby the team undertook a mixed methods approach, which was appropriate for assessing multiple areas of community needs and quality of healthcare service. Moreover, the mixed methods approach would assist BRA to understand its financial situation comprehensively. Importantly, the evaluation process that BRA undertook was comprehensive, and collection of data entailed details on health programs for BRA and interviews with major healthcare providers. Additionally, data was also collected from survey assessments of financial reports, health experts, community workers, and health workers (Acosta et al., 2014).
Part Two: Project Management Tools of Approaches used in the Case
The project management tools or approaches used in the case involved a mixed methods approach, which used different tools namely patient survey, community health workers survey, key informant interview, focus group interview, GIS, and financial reports (Acosta et al., 2014). In particular, the mixed methods approach used was relevant for the project evaluation because it greatly assisted in providing a better understanding of the BRA's programs in the Batey communities. It also helped in integrating qualitative research such as the focus group interviews and key informant interviews with quantitative research such as the patient survey and community health workers survey.
As such, this integration was essential to BRA in understanding its programs, financial situation, and the needs of the Batey communities. Moreover, the mixed methods approach was also beneficial to BRA because it combined these qualitative and quantitative tools effectively, which provided in-depth corroboration and understanding of its project programs (Leavy, 2017). The mixed methods approach also enabled BRA to achieve its objectives for conducting the project since it helped in formulating valuable recommendations to be utilized for its future project programs.
On the same note, the tools used in the mixed methods approach provided numerous strengths that offset the weaknesses, which are inherent when utilizing each tool by itself. Importantly, the mixed methods approach provided valuable triangulation through using several means such as tools, which greatly helped in assessing the same project objectives. Hence, triangulation enabled BRA to identify different aspects of its project evaluation more accurately since the tools helped in approaching them from various vantage points while utilizing different techniques and methods. Ideally, this triangulation was successful to BRA since it provided a careful assessment of the types of information gathered by each tool, including its weaknesses and strengths (Leavy, 2017).
In reference to the ASFPhillipines Reading, ASF was using the same approach for its projects, which produced weaknesses and lack of cooperation from some community elders (The Electronic Hallway, 2006). However, it later integrated a community education approach and its previous approach, which led to a mixed approach that was relevant for building trust and partnerships, as well as establishing community groups. It also utilized study tours, educational outreach, the establishment of MPAs, and two other forms of educational activities, which were successful although this later changed due to the nature of the ASF project (The Electronic Hallway, 2006). Thus, the mixed methods approach is beneficial because it provides a comprehensive understanding and evaluation of projects.
On the other hand, in the Keffe & Ormsby Reading, it expounds on a systems-based approach that can be utilized in logistics planning specifically for different development projects (Keffe & Ormsby, 2015). The reading further notes that the systems-based approach used for the project is an integration of systems, which can provide analysis at different levels namely macro and micro levels. Notably, this systems-based approach was relevant in developing a detailed logistic support plan (Keffe & Ormsby, 2015). In reference to the Batey Relief Alliance Project Report, the mixed methods approach was relevant to the project evaluation because it enabled BRA to corroborate or validate the results gathered from the other tools. Moreover, the mixed methods approach enabled BRA to clarify and elaborate findings that had been obtained from the other tools. Notably, this minimized the weaknesses that are associated with using only one tool for research, which assisted the BRA to formulate valuable recommendations for successful future projects (Leavy, 2017).
In the Karlan & Appel Reading, it highlights on the RCTs (randomized controlled trials) approach that was previously used in evaluating aid programs (Karlan & Appel, 2016). Currently, these RCTs are utilized commonly for testing precise theories in development and addressing operational issues. It further notes that RCTs are relevant for examining a program’s efficacy while answering crucial operational questions and testing a theory successfully (Karlan & Appel, 2016). Importantly, these RCTs utilize randomized controlled trials can be equated to the mixed methods approach that BRA used for its project evaluation to achieve its objectives (Acosta et al., 2014).
In principle, the mixed methods approach was relevant to BRA because it allowed both analysis and exploration in the same research, which provided useful and beneficial information to BRA to formulate its future recommendations. The approach also provided strengths that neutralized the weaknesses associated with both qualitative and quantitative research (Leavy, 2017). Nonetheless, the weaknesses for this approach in this particular case included being time-consuming to obtain both qualitative data and quantitative data, as well as additional resources had to be allocated to obtain both forms of data.
In summation, the mixed methods approach that BRA utilized was relevant because it enabled the organization to use different tools, which greatly assisted in collecting comprehensive data. The approach also combined deductive and inductive reasoning, as well as thinking, which was essential for formulating future project recommendation for BRA. The final results that BRA obtained included both statistical analyses and observations, which were beneficial since they provided an in-depth understanding of its programs, as well as the Batey communities’ needs. Importantly, despite the weaknesses of the mixed methods approach that BRA used, which included being time-consuming and utilized additional resources, it was relevant for its project evaluation.
Acosta, M., Bhat, S., Verghese, L. & Zvosec, C. (2014). Batey Relief Alliance. Columbia: School of International and Public Affairs.
Karlan, D., & Appel, J. (2016). Failing in the field: What we can learn when field research goes wrong. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Keffe, T. & Ormsby, G. (2015). A Logistics Support Framework: A Systems-Based Approach to Logistics Planning for Development Projects. Columbia University: Routledge.
Leavy, P. (2017). Research Design: Quantitative, Qualitative, Mixed Methods, Arts-based, and Community-based Participatory Research Approaches. New York: Guilford Press.
The Electronic Hallway. (2006). A Partnership in Troubled Waters. Seattle WA: University of Washington.