Lessons Learned: Acquiring Insights from Non-Operational Research Perspectives

  • Hubert KorziliusEmail author
  • Pleun van Arensbergen


In Behavioral Operational Research (OR) non-expert use of methods is high on the agenda, yet this is underdeveloped so far. Other fields of research, such as anthropology and rural development, intensively use methods geared toward incorporating values, knowledge, and experiences of laymen and local communities, in particular Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA). In this chapter we aim to highlight how OR might benefit from such non-expert method usage. In order to do this, we employ a content analysis in the Web of Science data base on empirical community-based PRA research papers using modeling and mapping. We focus on methodological issues dealing with participation, data collection methods, modeling and mapping tools and reported strengths and weaknesses. The analysis of PRA papers shows, among others, that problem ownership and engagement of local people are essential for empowerment, support for change and implementation of solutions. Translated to OR this would mean that less emphasis should be put on stakeholders’ commitment to contribute, rather their abilities to implement changes seem vital. PRA learns that accommodating interventions in familiar ways of working and communicating optimizes stakeholders’ ability to analyze and solve their own problems.


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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Management ResearchRadboud UniversityNijmegenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Van Hall LarensteinUniversity of Applied SciencesVelpThe Netherlands

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