Urban-based professional outsiders learn about rural conditions in many ways. These methods can be loosely grouped into appraisal, which is less formal and briefer, and research, which is more formal and takes longer. At one pole there are the appraisals of casual empiricism the explorations of the unselfconscious practitioner and rural development tourist with their anti-poverty biases; at the other pole is the respectable research of convention the investigations of the traditional academics with their long-drawn-out, reverence for correct method. The chapter concludes that conventional and professionally respectable methods for rural research are often inefficient. For the future, three poles of concentration may serve well: first, long-term, careful investigation, including statistical analysis, and involving social, medical and natural scientists; second, ad hoc, inventive work, improving and adapting for the sake of timeliness and cost-effectiveness; and third, sensitive research which shifts initiative to rural people as partners in learning, enabling them to use and augment their own skills, knowledge and power.