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The multidimensionality of poverty and educational research

Shailaja Fennell


The active interest in bringing together quantitative and qualitative research methods has provided a wealth of potential combinations of methods and rich array of tools to use for investigating the lives of the poor. There are still challenges in bringing together these approaches: while qualitative research is being used it has tended to be restricted to a pilot study rather than an integrated part of the research. The techniques that been used have also been largely participatory methods, while other in-depth techniques such life-histories and narratives havenot been taken up so readily (Davis 2009). The need to sequence these two research methods has encountered difficulties due to different epistemologies used in individual disciplines in the social sciences (Du Toit 2007).

Recent poverty research has begun to identify the multidimensionality of poverty by looking at ‘poverties’, each ofwhich is based on a different type of deprivation such as poor access to markets, poor citizenship, health and education (Rew and Khan 2007) and this innovative approach was supported by DFID. The need to identify types of poor was established by the research methodologies of both the Chronic Poverty Research Group and been particularly advanced in relation to understanding child poverty through the research conducted by the Childhood Poverty Research and Policy Centre (CHIP). This paper will look at the use of Q2 methods by RECOUP, the DFID funded consortium, looking at educational  and the poor. The focus of the consortium on the theme of youth transitions has been on understanding the opportunities and obstacles to completing the educational faced by youth in poor communities. The paper will examine what value has been gained by using these mixed methods in advancing our understanding of educational outcomes for the poor. In particular, it will focus on how the sequencing of methods has helped to construct new indicators for understanding the demand and supply of education in these poor communities. 

Publication Type(s)

Conference Paper

Ten Years of War Against Poverty Conference Papers

Conference: Ten Years of War Against Poverty


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