Engaging and empowering communities and stakeholders in rural land use and management: technical report

Summary report of the aspects of research on how to assist rural communities to engage with decisions on land use and management.

Limitations of our Approach

An obvious limitation, as always, was funds and timeframes. In particular, we would like to have been able to design and facilitate a deliberative workshop to enable people to map their own projects and initiatives on the Empowerment Framework.

The key limitation of our approach is that neither the interviews nor surveys elicited information about specific tools and approaches being used in Scotland. This is either a flaw in our approach or arguably a research result. An earlier version of the questionnaire did have a list of specific techniques people could check for the ones they had used. However the Project Management Group considered this version of the survey too long and complex to be used, and so it was dropped. Its use might have elicited information about specific tools and approaches. However another explanation is that the people who responded (presumably those with the strongest interests in engagement and empowerment) are unaware that there are specific tools and approaches that they could use.

We were limited in the number of semi-structured interviews that we could undertake - time constraints, both at the interviewing and analysing stage, meant that we were capped at 14 people. Spread across three organisations this did not enable an in-depth picture of what was going on. For example, two of the respondents from one organisation held opposing views about what their organisation knew and did in relation to engagement and empowerment but we could not interview more people to find out why.

Our desk top research was similarly constrained. We became aware of papers being published as we were completing our research project and with more time, we could have probed even further into our desktop tasks.

We had to close the on-line questionnaires in time to complete the analysis and report writing to our deadline. However, there were a number of very useful additions to our contributors that came in right on the closing deadline. With more time, it would have been interesting to see what else may have emerged.


Email: Clare Magill, socialresearch@gov.scot

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