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Qualitative document analysis : review of international WASH policy

To assess the take-up of a service delivery approach in the rural water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector, we conducted two studies of international development partners’ policy documents: an initial review of policies dated 2008 and before, undertaken in 2011, and a subsequent review of more recent documents, undertaken in 2014. The assessments used qualitative document analysis (QDA), a research method for rigorously and systematically analysing written materials. We then compared the extent to which the two sets of documents addressed the principles (‘building blocks’) of sustainable service delivery, as articulated by the Triple-S (Sustainable Services at Scale) programme.

The results show that development partners’ more recent WASH policy documents performed better than those analysed in the 2011 review, especially in relation to professionalisation of community management, recognition of alternative service provider options and regulation of rural services and service providers. Details on asset management and financing to cover all life-cycle costs remain elusive, as in the earlier documents, but trends among the newer documents are promising.

Although documents alone can by no means give a complete picture of an organisation’s approach and activity, they are strongly indicative of where efforts and aims are focussed. QDA as a research technique is therefore best used in conjunction with other methods to map and understand sector change. It is hoped that these findings can feed into productive discussions on sector improvement to help build sustainable rural water services.

TitleQualitative document analysis : review of international WASH policy
Publication TypeResearch Report
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsWard, R, Wach, E
Pagination27 p.
Date Published02/2015
PublisherIRC
Place PublishedThe Hague, The Netherlands
Publication LanguageEnglish
Abstract

To assess the take-up of a service delivery approach in the rural water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector, we conducted two studies of international development partners’ policy documents: an initial review of policies dated 2008 and before, undertaken in 2011, and a subsequent review of more recent documents, undertaken in 2014. The assessments used qualitative document analysis (QDA), a research method for rigorously and systematically analysing written materials. We then compared the extent to which the two sets of documents addressed the principles (‘building blocks’) of sustainable service delivery, as articulated by the Triple-S (Sustainable Services at Scale) programme.

The results show that development partners’ more recent WASH policy documents performed better than those analysed in the 2011 review, especially in relation to professionalisation of community management, recognition of alternative service provider options and regulation of rural services and service providers. Details on asset management and financing to cover all life-cycle costs remain elusive, as in the earlier documents, but trends among the newer documents are promising.

Although documents alone can by no means give a complete picture of an organisation’s approach and activity, they are strongly indicative of where efforts and aims are focussed. QDA as a research technique is therefore best used in conjunction with other methods to map and understand sector change. It is hoped that these findings can feed into productive discussions on sector improvement to help build sustainable rural water services.

Citation Key79013

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Disclaimer

The copyright of the documents on this site remains with the original publishers. The documents may therefore not be redistributed commercially without the permission of the original publishers.