Glossary of terms used on this site
The RAP mantra:
"I can live with ambiguity."


Introduction to RAP

Material from the book on the AltaMira Web site.
Table of Contents Preface Introduction
Chapter One

Power Point Presentations
RAP RAP for Leadership

Full Reviews of Book

Basic Concepts and Techniques of Rapid Appraisal
1995 Article (text format)

Rapid Assessment Process, DRAFT article for the Encyclopedia for Social Measurement (MSWord)

Rapid Assessment Process (RAP) and Participatory Action Research (PAR): Complementary Approaches with Similar Methodologies but Different Implications for Leadership .doc cocument

Terms in BOLD and hypertext are linked to the Glossary. For Example qualitative


intensive, team-based qualitative inquiry using triangulation, iterative data analysis and additional data collection to quickly develop a preliminary understanding of a situation from the insider's perspective.


Results can be produced in one to six weeks but a minimum of four days is required for iterative data analysis and additional data collection,

Conditions Where RAP is Apprpriate

1. When a topic needs to be explored. This occurs when there is insufficient information available to identify variables or to know how local people identify them.

2. When the question begins with "how" or "what." These are the questions when the critical elements in a situation and their relationship to each other cannot be identified.

3. When there is a need for a detailed view. Situations may be so site specific that general information, especially information that covers a larger area or very many people, may not provide insight into the issue being investigated. There are times when only detailed information on a limited topic is useful.

4. When there is a need to study individuals in their natural setting. Without access to the environment of the person providing answers, it may not be possible to know what questions should be asked or to understand the context for the answers given. If participants are removed from their setting, it may lead to contrived findings that are out of context.

5. When there is a need to emphasize the researcher's role as a partner instead of as an expert. There is growing recognition that research needs to be collaborative with all parties that stand to benefit. People have limited tolerance for experts who pass judgment on them. People increasingly are demanding that they be allowed to articulate their own stories.

RAP may not be appropriate if numbers or percents are needed.



Basic Concepts

1. More than one researcher is always involved in data collection and the teamwork is essential for data triangulation;
2. More than one researcher is involved in an iterative approach to data analysis and additional data collection.

The intensive teamwork for both the data collection and analysis is an alternative to prolonged fieldwork and produces qualitative results.


Maintained by
James Beebe
Last update
20Jan 2011a