Understanding and documenting ethnoveterinary medicine

Evelyn Mathias, October 2001

Both conventional and participatory methods have been used to document local knowledge in general and ethnoveterinary medicine in particular. Both approaches have their place, and their results can be complementary and possibly cross-validate each other. Click here to get an overview of the strategic advantages of the different methods. 

The choice and mix of methods should be flexible and depend on a study’s objectives. Important is that the study fulfils at least basic scientific standards to counteract the frequent reproach that the data presented are anecdotal or based on relatively small samples.

This does not mean to use complicated statistical methods, but sample sizes should be large enough to be significant, and the different strata of a community should be considered when selecting respondents from stock-raising communities. Depending on the study’s objectives, men, women, and children should be interviewed, poor and rich farmers, healers and non-healers, users of ethnoveterinary medicine and non-users. 

Click here for a list of references on field methods.

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