Challenges of Undertaking Research in Rural Areas of Ghana: The Influence of Geographical Factors

Service Opare


Research in rural areas in developing countries such as Ghana is affected by various challenges. A number of these challenges are geographical in character and need to be factored into the research design to minimize costs, delays, data inadequacies and other inconveniences. This paper draws attention to geographical variables such as distance, climatic influences, settlement patterns, housing characteristics and unclear spatial boundaries that were encountered during research in 2 rural communities in Ghana, and analyses various ways in which they impinge on the trend and tempo of rural research. It then discusses specific measures instituted to minimize their adverse impacts on the research processes. Based on these, it recommends that the academic community must incorporate flexibility, approximations and other strategies into their research design in order to mitigate atypical geographical challenges encountered in rural communities particularly
those in the global south, and thereby ensure successful rural research.

Keywords: geographical, rural, research, Ghana; distance; rainfall

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The Journal of Rural and Community Development is supported by SSHRC.