William Lowrey & Matthew Scott "Making Sense of Turbulent Contexts: An International NGO's Longitudinal Experience with Participatory Action Research Approaches to Macro Context Analysis". Presentation at International Studies Association, 2010.
When Philippe Le Billon challenged NGOs to increase their understanding of turbulent contexts in 2000, World Vision International responded by creating a macro-context analysis tool called “Making Sense of Turbulent Contexts” (MSTC). MSTC workshops have since been conducted 25 times in 17 conflict-affected countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, using participatory research methods to facilitate rapid analysis of the history, actor groups, political economy, and strategic needs of conflict contexts. The paper summarizes World Vision’s methodological, programmatic and substantive discoveries from five years of experience, and identifies challenges for NGOs in the emerging field of macro-conflict analysis.