This document is designed to help researchers, practioners and all those interested in assessing the extent and scope of local people vulnerability to climate change, the responses they currently oppose and how efficient they are. Vulnerability has been studied through the lenses of different dimensions: system and exposure units, dynamic processes, multiple threats, differential exposure, and social capital and collective action. The purpose of this framework is to grasp the social (and ecological) dynamics in the system over the past decades, in order to identify future actions for reducing vulnerability and to enhance adaptive capacity. In addition, research approaches proposed in this document can serve as a platform for dialogue as such approaches give opportunities to communities to collectively discuss their common problems related to climate change and to initiate common responses necessary to building their social capital. This document is not a manual; it is a collection of lessons learned from a number of participatory research tools, used in a logical manner, tested and refined which helped researchers and practitioners from diverse backgrounds to explore the vulnerability of local populations to climate variability and change, while strengthening their capacity building. Many tools used were borrowed from participatory research appraisal (PRA), others were developed, tested and readjusted by CIFOR and SEI researchers with extensive experience in the development of research tools in social science and in the relationship of humans to nature and the environment.