Participatory Rural Appraisal is an approach to development by which development professionals engage diverse members of a community in the process of their own development. The approach relies on the experience and expertise of community members to define existing resources, constraints, and needs and to determine locally appropriate ways to address them. The techniques are an effective way of revealing differences and deficits within a community, as well as similarities and strengths. The new insights are discussed in open dialogue among community members. PRAs, when performed thoroughly and with the full participation of all sectors of the community, culminate in action that addresses the needs of the community in a way that contributes to improving the quality of life of all members. There are four common PRA techniques: community mapping, needs assessment, seasonal calendar, and daily activities schedule. Though PRAs were originally designed for use in rural communities in the developing world, the techniques may be adapted for use with any small community as a participatory and appreciative approach to identifying and addressing needs.
Alancraig, Susan; Rabinowitz, Amanda; and Rodriguez, Shari, "Adventures in Participatory Rural Appraisal" (2002). TDEL Training Projects. 75.