The Influence of Quality-of-Life Research on Quality-of-Life: CLIQ Case Studies from KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Outsider or expert definitions for operational concepts used in quality-of-life projects usually differ from those of local people, and are therefore an inappropriate basis for implementing local projects. This chapter illustrates how multiple methods within an empowering participatory action research process can be used to provide an in-depth understanding of local definitions of quality-of-life. In particular it illustrates how this process created enhanced outputs for both researchers (in terms of better information) and participants (in terms of increased ability to improve their quality-of-life) because it investigated local understandings of quality-of-life; people’s goals in terms of improved quality-of-life; and factors that led to changed quality-of-life at different times within a 3 year research project. Analysis of these three approaches to the concept of quality-of-life shows many inter-linkages between different indicators of quality-of-life and shows how quality-of-life goals (or ‘ends’) can also be the ‘means’ for improving quality-of-life. It concludes that a participatory (and therefore subjective) approach to research and/or action projects benefits both participants and researchers, and in itself can be one of the reasons for participants’ actual improvement in quality-of-life.
KeywordsSmall Business Common Indicator Birth Certificate Participatory Action Research Unemployed Youth
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