Participatory Action Research

The following is a good explanation of Participatory Action Research (PAR). The question for our research team is whether we are engaging in such activity.

At its core, participatory action research asks, how can changing our actions or practices mutually benefit a community of practitioners? By focusing on the effects of a researcher’s direct action using a collaborative method to test new ideas, Action Researchers seek to find answers to this question and implement better actions. The “research” aspects of PAR attempt to avoid traditional “extractive” research practices in which the “experts” study community members under the microscope of their research goals, observe as outsiders, and take away their data to write their papers, reports and theses. Research is designed to address specific issues identified by local people, and the results are directly applied to the problems at hand.

PAR proceeds through repeated cycles, of issue identification, action origination, analyzing these actions and their reactions, and proceed to the next iteration. This process is a continuous one. Outcomes are very difficult to predict from the outset, challenges are sizeable and achievements depend to a very large extent on researcher’s commitment, creativity and imagination.1

  1. (accessed September 30, 2014 []