Through our partner, Statistics for Sustainable Development (Stats4SD), IDEMS is involved in offering research methods support to the projects funded by the McKnight Foundation on their Collaborative Crops Research Program (CCRP). We lead on the support for the West African CCRP projects, a collection of agriculture research projects spread across Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali.
Our work involves supporting projects in the entire research process from design to analysis and communication, often through in country and regional workshops, data clinics, inception and community of practice meetings and online remote support.
This work is particularly stimulating for us because of the efforts CCRP is making to put Farmer Research Networks (FRNs) at the centre of the research programme. From a research methodology perspective this is really exciting as it is leading to science tackling more complex multi-faceted problems. This requires a reinvention of research approaches which embrace large scale farmer experimentation with highly variable social and physical contexts. In many cases we are challenged to adapt and reinvent research methodologies that can be implemented at scale while staying true to core scientific principles. This often involves letting go of a lot of the traditional notions of ‘rigor’ and embracing the power of bigger data