This approach emphasizes participation and action by research participants, who become active collaborators and agents of change rather than passive informants. It has an explicit focus on social change, rather than knowledge production only. PAR works through the simultaneous and mutually reinforcing process of doing research and taking action, linked through critical reflection. This involves researchers and participants working together to understand a problematic situation and bring about social change that promotes democracy and challenges inequality. PAR is context-specific, often addressing the needs of a marginalized group by helping them gain greater awareness of their situation in order to take action themselves. It does so by foregrounding research collaborators’ own knowledge and lived experiences, as opposed to academic or expert knowledge, and seeks to subvert the traditional power hierarchies of conventional research.
This approach is especially useful when stakeholder engagement and translation into action is a high priority and/or when working on topics which require the meaningful collaboration of research participants, for example in access to research areas.
Identify problems and opportunities together with participants, leveraging their knowledge, lived experience, and access.
Design, implementation and evaluation
Co-develop and implement interventions with participants, leveraging their knowledge, creativity, and lived experience.
Collaboratively explore intervention benefits and limitations
Adoption & scale
Conduct participatory exploration in new intervention locations