Gomes, S.
Hermans, L.
Thissen, W.


Science Direct

Year of Publication:


Community operational research (COR) helps local stakeholders address complex messy problems related to public goods. Many of these problems feature an institutional dimension, whereby institutions refer to rules that structure behaviour and interactions in society. If a sound analysis of the institutional dimension in such cases is limited in scope, or even completely absent, this results in an incomplete problem understanding or a narrower solution space. In this paper, we outline a COR approach for participatory institutional analysis of local problems aimed at enhancing problem formulation and solution-finding efforts. The process has four main steps: problem identification, institutional system mapping, strategic analysis, and strategy exploration. This approach is applied to the issue of water supply in a marginalized, peri-urban village near Khulna city, Bangladesh. Our paper discusses the results achieved thus far, and we argue that our analytical framework and methods prove to be promising for this peri-urban application. However, their use with local stakeholders requires an intensive process of two-way capacity building between communities and analysts, developing a joint understanding of both local problems and key components/mechanisms in institutional development.

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