Action is achieved through a reflective cycle, whereby participants collect and analyse data, then determine what action should follow. The resultant action is then further researched and an iterative reflective cycle perpetuates data collection, reflection, and action as in a corkscrew action. Secondly, PAR pays careful attention to power relationships, advocating for power to be deliberately shared between the researcher and the researched: The researched cease to be objects and become partners in the whole research process: The hallmark of positivist science is that it sees the world as having a single reality that can be independently observed and measured by objective scientists preferably under laboratory conditions where all variables can be controlled and manipulated to determine causal connections.
By contrast new paradigm science and PAR posits that the observer has an impact on the phenomena being observed and brings to their inquiry a set of values that will exert influence on the study. Thirdly, PAR contrasts with less dynamic approaches that remove data and information from their contexts. PAR advocates that those being researched should be involved in the process actively. The degree to which this is possible in health research will differ as will the willingness of people to be involved in research.
Research methodology is a strategy or plan of action that shapes our choice and use of methods and links them to the desired outcomes. PAR draws on the paradigms of critical theory and constructivism and may use a range of qualitative and quantitative methods.
For instance a participatory needs assessment would include extensive engagement with local communities and may also include a survey of residents who are less centrally engaged in the participatory process. In the 21st century PAR is increasingly used in health research. By contrast, in the s and in earlier decades, very little research using PAR was reported in health journals.
Through the s more participatory research was reported and textbooks including PAR became more common. The project built on and strengthened existing women's networks and the staff played the part of facilitators rather than educators.
A community action cycle was developed whereby problems were identified and prioritised, joint planning took place, and the plan was implemented and then evaluated in a participatory way. The project developed innovative and engaging ways for staff and community members to work together effectively.
Recently PAR has been used more frequently in rich countries. In mental health research, for instance, PAR has been used in response to the survivor's movement and demands for a voice in planning and running services and to stimulate choices and alternative forms of treatment. PAR is increasingly recognised as useful in Indigenous health research, both internationally 20 , 21 and in Australia.
It does this by avoiding some of the criticisms made of health research including: An example of the application of PAR in a remote Aboriginal Australian community is the work to support a men's self help group to plan, implement, and evaluate their activities. For instance most public health academic units assess their academic researchers' suitability for promotion according to the number of peer reviewed journal articles.
The ability of a researcher to engage with communities and bring about real change to their quality of life and health status rarely counts. The global research community is already being urged to adapt its grant assessment methods and its assessment of research performance to ensure that the engaged processes typical of PAR are valued and encouraged.
PAR also requires health researchers to work in close partnership with civil society and health policy makers and practitioners. This requires each of these players to learn methods of working together effectively and to manage the different and sometimes competing agendas of the partners.
The focus of the research partners should also be on health improvement for the community involved. Participation has been central to improving health since the WHO Health for All Strategy and its importance to health promotion strategies has been reinforced by subsequent statements on health promotion. Associated methods are rapid assessment methods and rapid rural appraisal both of which aim to produce knowledge that combines professional and community perspectives.
Power is a crucial underpinning concept to PAR. PAR aims to achieve empowerment of those involved. Labonte 34 conceptualises empowerment as a shifting or dynamic quality of power relations between two or more people; such that the relationship tends towards equity by reducing inequalities and power differences in access to resources. Power itself is an elusive concept about which there has been considerable discussion. Foucault's position is particularly relevant to PAR because he sees power as something that results from the interactions between people, from the practices of institutions, and from the exercise of different forms of knowledge.
When communities seek control of research agendas, and seek to be active in research, they are establishing themselves as more powerful agents. In health services and public health initiatives in recent years community members and consumers have gained more power over the practices of institutions and the production of knowledge.
Developments in participation have implications for health services and public health organisations that, if they are to be true to the principles of participation, must initiate organisational change to improve their capacity to work in partnership with a wide variety of communities. Many dilemmas of the PAR approach revolve around contested power dynamics in research relationships. This is due not least to the relatively long duration of participatory research projects.
Months, or even years, can elapse between the beginning and the end of a project. During this time, various developments occur in the group of research partners that shape the way they relate to each other.
Such changes in the role structure have long been familiar to us from ethnological studies, in which researchers spend a long time in the field. HEEG attempted to capture the temporal sequence of qualitative procedures by using the metaphor of the curriculum vitae. The different stages he describes can be adapted to participatory research as follows: At first, the professional researchers enter the field as "foreigners"; as time goes by they assume the role of "mobilizer," "service provider," "provider of information," and "ally"; eventually they become "patrons"; and, in the best case, they finally become "mentors.
Within the framework of participatory research there are also other challenges that researchers must face. The research themes, and the biographies and social background of the research partners, call for very intensive contact. However, collaborative research with people who have a history of marginalization is possible only on the basis of trust RATH, This trust must be allowed to develop; it builds on long-term, honest relationships that are characterized by closeness, empathy, and emotional involvement.
Here it is important that researchers show their own emotional reactions. The academic requirements described in detail in Subsection 4. At the present point in time, one can safely say that, in a number of disciplines, scientists who pursue a participatory research project—within the framework of a qualification process, for example—become outsiders in the academic community. This calls for considerable courage and willingness to swim against the current, and, possibly, to put up with disadvantages.
The diversity of requirements and roles demands from the researcher very different competencies and skills, and a high degree of flexibility and reflexivity—things that are not acquired in the course of conventional university education. In a similar way to the professional researchers, the roles of the non-professional research partners, and the way they perceive participation, change over time.
At first, they may view the research project with anxiety, distrust, and detachment, and see themselves as outsiders who are expected to furnish information as in conventional research processes. At the same time, they are personally empowered and develop dispositions such as self-confidence, self-assurance, and a feeling of belonging.
However, participation in participatory research also calls for specific knowledge and skills—in other words, competencies, which the participants must gradually acquire. These include, for example, linguistic competencies, the ability to proceed systematically in the research process, communicative skills in dealing with groups, etc. Professional researchers should offer training courses and workshops on these thematic areas see "capacity building" in v.
UNGER, and impart these skills in their everyday dealings with the co-researchers. A key task in this regard is to design training units and choose methodological approaches in such a way that they build on the initial state of knowledge of the participants and develop it further. The development of different roles is not without conflict. In the various phases, the relationships—and all other aspects of the research—must be continually reflected upon, and emerging conflicts must be dealt with jointly.
In participatory research, all participants are involved as knowing subjects who bring their perspectives into the knowledge-production process. The potential of the individual subjects to acquire knowledge is shaped by their biological makeup, their personal and social biography, and their social status.
This calls for a high degree of reflexivity in the sense of self-reflexivity and reflection on the research situation and the research process. This is a particularly important issue for action researchers who are intimately involved with the subject of the research, the context in which it takes place, and others who may be stakeholders in that context.
This requires, on the one hand, a safe space with open communication—a "communicative space" see Subsection 3. On the other hand, it calls for numerous types of support on the part of both the professional researchers and the co-researchers.
Therefore, the ability to be responsive to the needs of others, to give them time and space for reflection, etc. Reflection can be focused on different things. Personal reflexivity focuses on personal assumptions, values, experiences, etc.
We suggest distinguishing four focuses or types of reflection from which techniques and instruments can be derived that can facilitate reflexivity on the part of participants.
The potential closeness of the research participants, and the type of research theme socially taboo issues such as sexual abuse, experiences in psychiatric institutions, poverty, etc. Writing from a psycho-analytic perspective, Georges DEVEREUX was one of the first to point out that reflection on such personal ways of reacting can be used as a source of knowledge. Whether a psycho-analytic theory background is needed for this type of reflection is, of course, debatable.
However, what is undisputed, in our view, is the fact that, in a participatory research context, it is necessary to disclose such personal dispositions—at least to the extent that they impact collaborative work on the object of research.
Conditions conducive to such openness can be created in group settings—for example, in the widely used focus groups—in which an accepting attitude is fostered BORG et al.
However, there appear to be inadequacies in the way such groups are run in practice. Ideas for improvement could perhaps be gleaned from the various therapeutic and consultation group concepts available. As we pointed out earlier, the different interests of the participants inevitably lead to conflicts in the research group from time to time. This means that the relationships between the group members must also be regularly reflected upon in order to shed light on such conflicts and, if possible, to defuse them.
As far as we are aware, there has been little discussion in the literature about the way in which such group conflicts can be reflected upon and moderated. This is surprising when one considers that there is a rich body of literature on group dynamics. The concept of "theme-centered interaction" TCI proposed by Ruth COHN can be considered an example of an attempt to foster social learning and personality development in a group setting.
When applying TCI, an effort is made to keep all the elements—the theme in question, the conflict in the group, the individual participants, and the political, ecological, and cultural context the "globe" —in view at all times and to reflect upon them.
Following Pierre BOURDIEU's concept of sociological self-reflection , , the social determination of the participating knowing subjects, and of the participatory project, must also be reflected upon. The focus here is on the social conditions of possibility and the limits of the individual subjects and the participatory research project as a collective knowing subject.
It is a question of reflecting on the political, economic, and social context conditions in which the research theme and the research project are embedded. In fact, structural reflection is undertaken in all the articles. Therefore, it is all the more important that it be recognized as a separate type—and an essential element—of reflective practice in participatory research.
This type of reflection is largely consistent with the concept of "epistemological reflexivity" employed by BORG By now, it is accepted also as a quality criterion in qualitative research—especially in ethnology.
A considerable number of methodological proposals as to how such reflection can be fostered have already been made.
To a certain extent, research with partners to whom the rituals of academic research are alien and unfamiliar—which is frequently the case in participatory research—calls for new methods of data collection.
The question of the "appropriateness of the method to the participants" is particularly relevant here. From a methodological perspective, the involvement of field partners as co-researchers in the data collection process has various advantages and disadvantages, each of which must be carefully considered.
One major advantage is that the co-researchers have first-hand knowledge of the field. Therefore, they understand the way people think and may be able to obtain better and faster access to the desired informants.
This facilitates the discovery of "natural codes"—in the grounded theory sense of the word. Methods of data collection should therefore build on the participants' everyday experiences. This makes it easier for them to understand the concrete procedures. However, it means that new methods of data collection must be developed that are appropriate to the concrete research situation and the research partners. The range of methods to be found in the literature is very broad and depends greatly on the research field and the research partners in question.
In our view, therefore, it makes little sense to standardize methods of data collection. Rather, it is necessary to follow the Glaserian dictum: It should also be remembered that, while many people from marginalized groups may have limited verbal communication skills, they have developed other communication strategies. In recent years, the many possibilities of using visual and performative methods of data collection and representation have been discussed in qualitative social research.
These procedures have been documented, for example, in three thematic issues of FQS devoted to 1. It is therefore not necessary to go into detail here. However, we would stress the point made by RATH that, when choosing methods, the previous experiences of the research partners should be specifically addressed.
It can be difficult for people who have never had anything to do with research to understand the various methodological procedures. Therefore, special training programs are needed to enable them to carry out the procedures applied within the framework of the project. Hella von UNGER reports, for example, that capacity building on the part of research partners represents a core aim in community-based participatory research.
It is interesting that, in this way, the participants develop not only specialized competencies required for participation in the research process, but also more general competencies, all of which contribute to personal development.
Despite the aforementioned diversity of data collection methods in participatory research, two procedures appear to be applied very frequently, namely interviews and focus groups. We shall now address certain aspects of these two procedures that are particularly visible in the participative approach but are not often mentioned in discussions on qualitative methods.
The interviews conducted within the framework of participatory research are normally semi-structured—a type frequently used in qualitative research. Experience has shown that, after appropriate training, the various research partners are well able to conduct these interviews—generally in teams of two.
In the participatory research situation, it can be clearly seen that the outcome of an interview must be perceived as a situation-dependent co-construction on the part of the interview partners see McCARTAN et al. This has already been discussed in the qualitative research literature. The author does not perceive communication between two partners as a dyad, but rather as part of a much larger system of communication. She adapts Haley's system of communication as follows: I the sender , 2.
In our view, these considerations are of considerable relevance to participatory research because, here, the virtual presence of the participating community must always be borne in mind. RATH incorporates this notion into her study, although she derives it from a different theoretical background. In view of the imagined listeners, she contends that an interview is not purely a private conversation between the interview partners, but that it is, in a sense, public.
The second instrument that is frequently used within the framework of participatory research is the focus group. This label stands for a lot of different procedures. The common denominator is that a group of different types of research participants is formed, and that these participants are given the opportunity to enter into conversation with each other in a safe setting and to deal with aspects of the project.
It can be said that the focus group is one of the key instruments for the creation of a "communicative space" see Subsection 3. In the best case, all relevant issues are discussed. This open dialog becomes the central starting point for the entire participatory research enterprise. However, focus groups can also assume other tasks.
For example, if participants do not hail from the same context, focus groups offer them an opportunity to get to know each other RUSSO, Moreover, together with other methods of data collection, focus groups can make a taboo theme known in the community and "get things moving" there v. In teams of professionals, they can facilitate frank exchanges between the team members BORG et al. They also frequently serve to collect data because in the open and—ideally—relaxed atmosphere, it is easier to address taboo themes v.
This applies particularly to participatory research because it ensures that the various perspectives flow into the interpretation during the data analysis process and that the research partners gain an insight into the background to their own viewpoints and that of the other members. It is not surprising, therefore, that a number of authors in the present special issue report that data were analyzed in focus groups together with the research partners BORG et al.
For similar reasons, the research findings are also discussed in focus groups. RUSSO points out that it is possible to validate findings communicatively in focus groups and that other effects can be observed at the same time: Hence focus groups can be considered as an instrument that encourages this process of appropriation. The representation of participatory research findings also has a number of distinctive features. Above all, the multi-perspectivity and multivocality must be preserved in the representation of the results v.
In traditional academic writing, authors stay in the background. It is considered somewhat unscientific to write a text in the first person. Indeed, in some cases, authors consistently refer to themselves in the third person. The required distance is symbolized by this third person, and the impression is given that the statements made are "objective. As a rule, the texts aspire to be unequivocal and to follow scientific logic.
In participatory research, by contrast, the various contributions to the results must be clearly visible. In their publication, all participants in the study were given a chance to voice their opinions and positions. In the present issue, RATH takes a more radical step. She uses poetry to make "the emotional" visible; to highlight the constructed nature of texts; and to challenge the conviction that knowledge derived from academic texts is "certain.
However, the representation of the results of participatory research cannot be limited to texts. In order to render the findings understandable to affected persons, to give them a basis for further discussion, and to reach a wide audience, other forms of representation are needed.
When discussing data collection Subsection 4. The application of such procedures in the representation stage, too, can make the research findings easier to understand.
Nowadays, participatory research strategies are accepted—or even desired—in many practice contexts. In academia, by contrast, participatory research enjoys much less recognition as a fully fledged research method.
If at all, it is perceived as a strategy in the "context of discovery. Participatory researchers do not formulate hypotheses that can subsequently be tested, and even the research questions emerge only gradually during the process of engagement with the research partners. The closeness between the research partners prevents scientific distance on the part of the academic researchers, who are so entangled with the researched persons that it is not possible to separate the researchers' contribution to the collected data from that of the researched; hence the quality criterion of objectivity cannot be fulfilled.
Exact planning is not possible because the negotiation of the various decisions during the research process prevents the estimation of the duration of the project and the expected findings. When "classical" quality criteria are applied, the research is not acceptable because it is neither objective, nor reliable, nor is it valid.
From the perspective of a methodology that invokes the normative theory of science, these arguments are by all means accurate. Although the standpoint outlined above is more widespread in some disciplines than in others, it dominates the science sector both in the universities, when it comes to assessing theses, dissertations, etc. This problem is faced by qualitative research in general. However, one outcome of the long-standing debate between the "exact" sciences and the humanities about the "object of science" is that interpretivist methods are increasingly being accepted as a basis for concrete research.
This can be seen, for example, from the fact that qualitative approaches enjoy greater acceptance in certain disciplines, for example sociology and ethnology. That said, the aforementioned closeness between research partners in participatory research—and the skepticism that this provokes from some quarters—means that it has not been able to benefit as much from the increased acceptance as "conventional" qualitative research has done.
The dissolution of the subject-object relationship between the researchers and the researched is a further grave problem for the academic recognition of participatory research. In participatory research projects, the role of active researcher—and knowing subject—is not held by the academic researchers alone but by all the participants, with all the consequences that this brings for data collection, analysis, interpretation, and the publication of the findings.
This leads to considerable acceptance problems when it comes to research funding. These problems start with the tendering period, which is often quite short. As a result, it is not possible to develop the research proposal collaboratively because negotiation processes with affected persons take much longer.
In most cases, a reviewer's assessment of the quality of a project is based on the aforementioned nomothetic science model. However, as a result, requirements are imposed that either cannot be fulfilled by participatory research, or that lead to nonsensical restrictions. This starts with the said research questions, which can be formulated only vaguely or in general terms before the project begins.
Other characteristics of participatory research also hamper acceptance. It is scarcely possible to produce an exact timetable because the duration of the negotiation processes among the research partners cannot be accurately forecast. All that is clear is that the overall life-span of such a research project frequently exceeds the normally expected timeframe for funded projects see COOK, Certain items in the finance plan also meet with rejection by funding bodies.
However, such items in the finance plan are frequently rejected by the funders. The situation is similar at the universities, where it is very difficult for a young scientist to submit a thesis or dissertation that employs participatory research strategies. Moreover, it is scarcely possible to produce the exact timetables required by universities. In addition, the number of reviewers who are in a position to assess such works is limited.
This depends, once again, on the discipline in question. At the present point in time, it is almost impossible to gain a doctorate in psychology in Germany with a thesis based on participatory methodology. The problem of forging an academic career is further aggravated by the fact that projects with research partners who are practitioners or affected persons is much more time-consuming because extensive discussions must be conducted with them.
This means that the production of scientific works lasts much longer and, as a result, the researcher's list of publications is shorter. Moreover, for the reasons stated above, few scholarly journals accept participatory works.
Furthermore, marginalized groups are studied more frequently in participatory research projects, and these groups are not the focus of interest of "normal science. And because the Science Citation Index serves as an important indicator of scientific qualification, authors who apply participatory methods are disadvantaged.
Overall, it can be noted that the current scientific structure is extremely unfavorable for participatory research projects. In saying that, it cannot be disputed that it is sometimes very difficult to assess the quality and rigor of participatory projects. For these reasons, it will be very important for the future of participatory research to develop criteria that facilitate the assessment of such projects.
To study something thoroughly so as to present in a detailed, accurate manner: To do research for: All effort directed toward increased knowledge of natural phenomena and environment and toward the solution of problems in all fields of science. This includes basic and applied research. Switch to new thesaurus. A seeking of knowledge, data, or the truth about something: Forschung recherchieren Erforschung forschen.
He is engaged in cancer research; His researches resulted in some amazing discoveries; also adjective a research student. He's researching into Thai poetry. References in periodicals archive? Photovoice, a participatory research method, was first introduced in the s to get people to use photography to talk about and reflect on their situation as they search for solutions.
The participatory research will combine ethnography and methods from software studies.
Participatory action research is a form of action research in which professional social researchers operate as full collaborators with members of organizations in studying and transforming those organizations.
Participatory action research (PAR) differs from most other approaches to public health research because it is based on reflection, data collection, and action that aims to improve health and reduce health inequities through involving the people who, in turn, take actions to improve their own health.
Deﬁnitions, Goals and Principles of Participatory Action Research Deﬁnitions There is a dizzying array of deﬁnitions of participatory research, just as there is . Participatory Research Methods The challenge is that the views of the most marginalised people are by definition largely absent in public forums, which further excludes them and in turn amplifies the perspectives of the more powerful groups. participatory inquiry, action research, oral testimonies and story collection as a .
Define participatory research. participatory research synonyms, participatory research pronunciation, participatory research translation, English dictionary definition of participatory research. n. 1. Careful study of a given subject, field, or problem, undertaken to discover facts or principles. Related to participatory research. Although there are numerous points of convergence between action research and participatory research, we believe that by identifying the differences between the two approaches one can more accurately define the distinctive features of participatory research (cf. BELL et al., ).