Associate Research Fellow Isabel Lambrecht argues in this IFPRI's blog that qualitative field work aiming at understanding the local context is not a frivolous activity. For highly contested topics, such as gender and land, and in contexts where custom dominates, rigorous qualitative empirical work may lead to valuable insights and research outputs.
The literature on land tenure and its impact on agricultural investment is contradictory and inconclusive. The case of Ghana, where I have carried out qualitative research, is a good illustration. Information on gender and access to land in Ghana is limited. Hence, I decided to venture out of the office and use qualitative research methods to obtain first-hand impressions of how smallholder farmers in Ghana perceive their access to land. Read more here