Challenging conventional wisdom
ESI has developed a distinctive empirical methodology for the analysis of social and economic development issues. We have spent many years refining our case study approach. We try to build up as detailed an understanding as possible of a specific area of a country (a region, a municipality or even a village), a specific sector of the economy (agriculture, textile industry, etc.) or a policy issue (for example privatisation, urban planning or refugee return).
Detailed case studies help us to build an understanding of the complex realities and change processes, leading to new insights and challenging commonly held views. This approach requires the generation of new data through intensive field research. This may involve dozens, or sometimes hundreds, of interviews with political officials, staff of administrative institutions (both on central and local levels), businessmen, workers, farmers, teachers, journalists and representatives of foreign institutions.