An e-publication by the World Agroforestry Centre



Chapter 19
The diagnosis and design (D&D) methodology

19.2. Concepts and procedures of D & D

D & D is a methodology for the diagnosis of land-management problems and the design of agroforestry solutions. It was developed by ICRAF to assist agroforestry researchers and development fieldworkers to plan and implement effective research and development projects.

There is an adage in the medical profession that "diagnosis must precede treatment." Anyone concerned with problem-solving applies this principle in one way or another. In the work of the automobile mechanic, the radio repairman, the forester, or the farmer, the ability to solve a problem begins with the ability to define what the problem is. A clear statement of the problem is often all that is needed to suggest a solution. D & D is simply a systematic approach to the application of this principle in agroforestry.

The basic procedures of D & D consist of five stages as indicated in Table 19.1. Each of the stages can be further divided into smaller steps as circumstances might warrant. The nature of data and information to be gathered, as well as the types of questions to be asked or inquiries to be conducted at each stage, are given in Table 19.2.

The basic D & D process as outlined in Tables 19.1 and 19.2 is repeated throughout the life of the project that follows, so as to refine the original diagnosis and improve the technology design in the light of new information from on-farm research trials, more rigidly controlled on-station investigations, and eventual extension trials in an expanded range of sites. As shown in Figure 19.1, this iterative D&D process provides a basis for prompt feedback and complementarity between different project components. By adjusting the plan of action as indicated by new information, the D&D process becomes self-correcting. In an integrated agroforestry research and extension program, pivotal decisions are made in periodic meetings of the various project personnel who evaluate new results and revise the action plan accordingly. The process continues until the design is optimal and further refinement is deemed unnecessary.

Table 19.1. Basic procedures of the Diagnosis and Design (D & D) methodology.
Source: Raintree (1987 a).


Table 19.2. Information needs and sources for agroforestry diagnosis & design.
Source: Raintree (1987 a).