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

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The Researcher’s Guide to the Indian Bureaucracy

A researcher reflects on approaching and gathering information from the vast and diverse bureaucracy of the Indian state.

As a researcher focusing on understanding climate resilience and water supply management in Rajkotand Aurangabad, I’ve been trying to understand the form, operational methodologies, and challenges of governance in achieving resilience at the urban local body (ULB) level. My research methods have been primarily qualitative, mainly taking the form of key informant interviews with state and non-state stakeholders. 

Navigating the bureaucracy, especially for those just starting out, is tricky. Typically, there are three essential stages one must be prepared for, before the information is made available: (i) acquiring permission for research, (ii) identifying relevant and approachable officials, and (iii) establishing a rapport with bureaucrats. The information is then shared with the researcher under specific conditions, such that it may not be used adversely. The researcher needs to adequately convince the bureaucrats about their study, and assure them that the information collected is for research purposes only. I informed the interviewees about the research ethics protocol that I was obligated to follow strictly. Also, I often discussed and shared my research findings with the bureaucrats.

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Updated On : 24th Jan, 2021
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