Towards a holistic framework for impact assessment of agricultural research for development – understanding complexity in remote, culturally diverse regions of Vietnam

Since the late 1990s, there has been a great deal of investment by both the Vietnamese government and international development agencies in the economic development of the Northwest Highlands of Vietnam, a highly diverse region experiencing variable stages of transition towards more market-oriented development and social change. A shift towards a research for development approach, targeting the immediate use of research outputs for development purposes, became more visible especially since the late 2000s. It is important to understand the contribution of agricultural research toward rural development, not only in terms of knowing the extent and sustainability of the impacts achieved but also for informing appropriate agricultural policies and research for development strategies in the future. However, the impact assessment of existing agricultural research for development (AR4D) initiatives in the highlands of Vietnam remains problematic considering both the formulation of suitable objectives and the selection of appropriate methods that match those objectives. This paper describes the results of a study that aimed to review and analyse the theories and practice of AR4D impact assessment approaches and the merits and limitations of such approaches to AR4D in the Northwest Highlands of Vietnam. The study employed documentary research, focus group discussions with farmers and in-depth interviews with key informants, while thematic analysis was used for data analysis. The study concludes that a holistic approach towards impact assessment is best suited to an economically and culturally diverse region such as the Northwest Highlands of Vietnam, and suggests a framework for impact assessment that is based on a comprehensive livelihoods perspective.

Issue Date:
Mar 01 2015
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Record Identifier:
Published in:
Australasian Agribusiness Review, Volume 23
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 Record created 2017-08-25, last modified 2018-01-23

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