Methodological Framework
A Participatory GIS & Mixed Methods Approach to Data Collection and Analysis

Multi-Scale Analysis

Current climate change simulation models offer predictions and outline scenarios that are suitable for regional to global scale planning and assessment. That level of detail is, however, insufficient for understanding local impacts of climate change. LKCCAP researchers will, therefore, integrate diverse kinds of information and employ multiple methods of data collection to create a holistic and multiscale understanding of livelihood adaptive strategies in the Kilimanjaro Region of Tanzania.

Importance of Community Participation

The research examines contributions and limitations of dynamic and socially differentiated local knowledge systems for adaptive capacity, and analyzes how local institutions enhance, hinder, and transform local knowledge. The LKCCAP field methodology was conceived with an explicit commitment to a participatory framework that simultaneously integrates ideas from researchers and community members at every stage of the project.

Participatory GIS (PGIS) Framework

LKCCAP has a strong mapping focus and employs conventional PRA methods and, where appropriate, geospatial technologies and GIScience theoretical principles for understanding the geographic dimensions of socio-geographic adaptive capacity. The project methodology includes the development of a PGIS to integrate and analyze information from field research, statistics and spatial data, and climate modeling results. Participatory video, photography, and audio recordings will be used to document the research process and the outcomes. This multimedia PGIS approach is reflected in the design and implementation of all of the primary field activities:

  • Household survey. A random sample of 650 households from highland, midland, and lowland sites along four gradients in the Pare-Kilimanjaro region was undertaken in 2010 to collect data on livelihood strategies, and perceptions and responses of farmers and herders to local environmental change. It may also be possible to partially explore how knowledge of broader scale climate changes at regional and global levels affect local perceptions.
  • Participatory Community Forums. A series of meetings will be undertaken in 2010-2011 to assess: appropriate indicators of socio-geographic adaptive capacity; inter-household and intra-household dynamics of short-term coping and long-term livelihood adaptation; and cultural and linguistic dimensions of climate change discourses and perceptions.
  • PRA Mapping Workshops. Workshops will be undertaken in each community in which participants will map livelihood, environmental, institutional, and ethnolinguistic space using free-form sketch mapping and existing community village maps.
  • Community-Led Research Projects. Community-led, participatory projects will engage in environmental field data collection, qualitative methods (e.g., collection of narratives of change) and the use of GPS to map social or environmental phenomena that illuminate the role of local knowledge in adaptation. The research team will work with communities in developing conclusions and implications for local adaptation and assessing the conclusions of communities at other points along the gradient.
  • Stakeholder Forums. Scenario-building workshops will be held near the end of the project to explore highlights of the data collected over the course of the project and to examine the social and environmental implications of likely trajectories of adaptation. The research team will work with institutional stakeholders to develop cost-benefit and environmental feasibility analysis of adaptation trajectories.

The PGIS will also support participatory learning activities conducted through the duration of the project. It will be refined for use as a web-based simulation tool for the research team’s interactions with policy makers and civil society and as an educational tool for use in U.S. and Tanzanian universities.

Multimedia GIS for Research, Scenario Building, and Curricular Development

LKCCAP researchers will utilize all of the above information resources for multi-scale adaptive capacity mapping and analysis. The project will develop a multimedia GIS that will integrate conventional vector and raster spatial data with geocoded textual and multimedia data. The system will be used to develop new insights about integration of qualitative and quantitative GIScience analytical frameworks to support climate change adaptation research.

The multimedia GIS will also be the platform for developing modules for sharing geospatial data and designing map based products to communicate important research findings. A subset of the multimedia GIS functionalities will be embedded into the project website using online mapping technologies for facilitating project outreach, and to support other researchers interested in building on our project findings.