Work package 2

Data collection: We will use the data collected in the mapping exercise. This will be complemented with expert interviews to provide more detailed information on the selected initiatives where needed. It will also be complemented with participant observation in meetings, webinars and other forums organised by the selected organisations. 

Data analysis: We will use a structured, focused comparison to study in which way small-scale producers are included in the governance of these initiatives, in the design of guidelines and standards, and in monitoring. The structured, focused comparison method is structured in the sense that the researchers ask relevant questions “of each case under study to guide and standardize data collection, thereby making systematic comparison and cumulation of the findings of the cases possible”, and focused on specific features of the chosen cases (George & Bennett, 2005, p. 67).

Work package 3

Once the supply chain initiatives have been selected, we will proceed to select the mining sites (N=5) in South Kivu province in eastern DRC, and Lualaba and Haut-Katanga provinces in southeastern DRC, where we will collect data on local knowledge and normative systems. Purposive and snowball sampling will be employed to identify interviewees from each of the targeted groups, with a focus on ensuring female representation.

Data collection: We will then use a combination of ‘traditional’ qualitative (ethnographic) research methods to observe and listen to different perspectives. The goal is to gain an in-depth understanding.

●       Semi-structured interviews with male and female small-scale producers in mineral supply chains (artisanal miners, traders, cooperatives, local smelters, etc.) and relevant actors outside the supply chain (local and provincial governments, civil society organisations, NGOs, miners’ cooperatives, trade unions, business(wo)men, etc.). 

●       Group discussions with male and female small-scale producers will allow us to gain more insights into local knowledge/normative systems. They allow for open discussion and integration of different points of view, which also demonstrates that there is not one ‘local perspective’, but a multiplicity of discourses and practices. 

●       Participant observation will be done in the selected mining sites. Given the challenges of working and triangulating information in a sensitive environment, we propose to ‘embed’ local team members for longer periods of (participant) observation. For this, we aim to work with master students or researchers at UCB or UNILU.

●       A survey at the selected mining sites to assess small-scale producers’ access to and participation in supply-chain due diligence initiatives, including their knowledge of/engagement with these initiatives as well as mobile phone/Internet ownership, access, and usage. We will work with cooperatives and site supervisors to obtain lists of small-scale producers associated with the selected case-study sites, and sample randomly based on those lists. While there is the risk of selection bias in that miners operating at these sites will have more knowledge of and participation in these initiatives than the general population of miners, finding a low level of engagement/participation would be a good indicator of even lower levels across the board.

Data analysis: Interviews will be recorded with oral interviewee consent and hand-recorded otherwise, then transcribed verbatim. Field notes will also accompany each interview to provide further detail. All data will be coded using NVivo software. Coding involves organising data in a systematic way and identifying patterns and recurring themes, which in turn allows the researcher to develop insights and do theory building. A crucial part of this process is iteration, which involves returning to previous steps in the analytical processes, going back and forth between the hypotheses and the data (Locke, Feldman, & Golden-Biddle, 2020).

Work package 4

Data collection: In this WP we use participatory techniques to put small-scale producers in a position of norm-makers rather than norm-takers. The power mapping and the simulation games have been used by the PI before, respectively in her FWO postdoctoral fellowship on hybrid governance in mining concessions and in teaching. In the context of this project, these activities will be led and carried out by the local partners, which might lead to different outcomes because of the researchers’ positionality.

●       Actor mapping can be used to identify networks of actors.

●       Having identified actors, power mapping can identify power relations at multiple levels, based on an exercise in which participants receive a fictitious scenario and have to think about who makes decisions and who has influence in the process.

●       Participatory problem analysis can help to identify the problems as identified by local actors themselves, instead of how they are defined by international actors.

●       Simulation games can help to actually put people in the ‘driver’s seat’. We will simulate decision-making processes and organize role play to allow for people to speak out in a safe setting, detached from their ‘real’ identity and the associated constraints.

Data analysis: The outcomes of these participatory methods will be analyzed together with the other qualitative data: see WP3.


Work in progress :-)