ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

A+| A| A-

How I Learned To Do Incorrect Research

In 1969, the author started fi eld research on rural poverty in western India. He began as a dependency theorist, but the villagers taught him to rethink his assumptions. He discovered that villagers (even landless labourers) have agency in their own lives and that the cumulative weight of their decisions and actions could reshape regional and national policy in the colonial and post-colonial periods. He found that growing an expensive cash crop does not impoverish small farmers. These discoveries went contrary to conventional wisdom, contrary to a strong consensus among social scientists around the world, contrary to the teachings of Marx, Lenin, and big-name dependency theorists. Despite his confi dence in the data, he needed a reality check. How could he test whether he had misunderstood the lessons from the villagers?

How I Learned To Do Incorrect Research

Donald W Attwood

To read the full text Login

Get instant access

New 3 Month Subscription
to Digital Archives at

₹826for India

$50for overseas users


(-) Hide

EPW looks forward to your comments. Please note that comments are moderated as per our comments policy. They may take some time to appear. A comment, if suitable, may be selected for publication in the Letters pages of EPW.

Back to Top