The Future of Participatory Research

I thought it would be apt to write my last post (certainly for a few weeks!) drawing on the concluding reflections of Peter Reason and Hilary Bradbury in the latest Sage Handbook on Action Research Participatory Inquiry and Practice.  Their conclusions are wide ranging and so I will continue, as I have in the last few posts, to summarize and comment on how these ideas might influence participatory approaches in general, also seeking, where appropriate, to connect ideas specifically to PAR.

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Recognizing PAR as a movement

Of all the articles I have read so far, an article by Orlando Fals Borda* is one that has probably impacted me the most.  Why?  Fals Borda articulates a motivation and vision behind PAR in such a way that a researcher considering PAR may find disconcerting.  A researcher that engages in PAR, in Fals Borda’s terms, is not simply engaging in a participatory method, they are joining a movement.

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What is Participatory Action Research?

According to Yoland Wadsworth*, who tackles this question head on, Participatory Action Research (PAR) is not a specialist technique but a form of social research that is “conscious of its underlying assumptions, and collectivist nature, its action consequences and its driving values”. Continue reading