Research Methods

The data reported in this book come from three major sources: previous research, original documents, and interviews with 52 leaders of NGOs operating in Cameroon. This chapter provides an overview of each data source and introduces a classification of NGOs that we use throughout the book.

Information from Previous Research

Previous research relevant to environmental NGOs in Cameroon—or for that matter in sub-Saharan Africa—is quite limited in scope (see chapter 1). To locate what was available, we used standard library search procedures and scoured the Internet for published and unpublished research reports relevant to our topic, focusing mainly but not exclusively on English language publications. We did discover some relevant material; however, we found that environmental NGOs were usually not studied as organizations in their own right, but were included as a secondary topic in research focused on other topics (see chapter 1). Existing research also has a pronounced tilt toward NGOs that emphasize nature and forest protection and the activities of international NGOs; smaller, local NGOs, on the other hand, have been neglected. We did, nevertheless, benefit considerably from past research in Cameroon and elsewhere in Africa, and we have incorporated it where relevant.

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