Stress of conscience seriously influence the quality of care and the wellbeing of the care providers in care for older people. It is therefore of great importance to take measures to address, and relieve but preferably prevent stress related to troubled conscience. In our participatory action research studies, we have used troubled conscience as a driving force to relieve care providers’ burden and to increase quality of care. The aim with this paper is to present our experiences of using a further developed participatory action research process in practice to deal with care providers' troubled conscience in residential care for older people. The contribution to participatory action research practice in our studies is a support to the participatory action research process through using a modified model of problem processing, an approach which we found fruitful. In the paper, we describe our experiences and discuss them in relation to relevant literature and theory. Our experiences are that in participatory action research it is crucial to build a trusting relationship and striving to create a fruitful dialogue between the researchers and the participants. In our studies, we found that participatory action research is an easy approach to adapt as a problem-solving process in clinical practice and in nursing research.
Many rural poor and marginalized people strive to make a living in social-ecological systems that are characterized by multiple and often inequitable interactions across agents, scale and space. Uncertainty and inequality in such systems require research and development interventions to be adaptive, support learning and to engage with underlying drivers of poverty. Such complexity-aware approaches to planning, monitoring and evaluating development interventions are gaining strength, yet, there is still little empirical evidence of what it takes to implement them in practice. In this paper, we share learning from an agricultural research program that used participatory action research and theory of change to foster learning and support transformative change in aquatic agricultural systems. We reflect on our use of critical reflection within participatory agricultural research interventions, and our use of theory of change to collectively surface and revisit assumptions about how change happens. We share learning on the importance of being strengths-based in engaging stakeholders across scales and building a common goal as a starting point, and then staging a more critical practice as capacity is built and opportunities for digging deeper emerge.
This article describes experiences formed in connection with a case study in Sámi schools. The Sámi people live in the northern part of the North Calotte region and among the world’s Indigenous peoples. The development of culture-based education aims to diminish the dominance of the national curricula. The aim of this article is to understand factors that influence teachers’ views and how teachers experience culture-based education in terms of a decolonizing process. The case study was conducted in a Critical Utopian Action Research framework with future workshops. The future workshops began as collaborative self-criticism and dreaming of education and then moved to the implementation of Indigenous culture-based teaching activities in local teaching practices. The teachers expressed that they felt trapped between demands made by the national curricula and their desire to implement culture-based teaching, but they nevertheless had many ideas for themes via which culture could be linked to teaching. Through knowledge exchange between the participants in the case study, the teachers ‘rediscovered’ knowledge and reinterpreted that knowledge in a teaching setting. The teachers’ autonomy was strengthened and the teachers’ active efforts empowered them.
This paper studies a learning network-based approach as an alternative programme theory to a traditional approach in working-life development that uses demonstration projects. Learning network projects of the Finnish Workplace Development Programme TYKES (2004–2010) are used as an example of the alternative approach in practice. Based on an empirical analysis of five learning network projects, a framework for weighting strengths and weaknesses of three different modes of programme leadership for directing learning networks is presented. Finally, this paper elaborates the role of programme theories in cases of complex objects for intervention, suggesting that in action research-based efforts that require commitment of and cooperation between many actors programme theories should be judged more on the basis of their social value than their truth value.
The Kwithu project started when a volunteer who joined Kwithu, a community-based organization in Mzuzu, Malawi (Africa), to teach English gave a diagnostic test to a random group of forty 7th and 8th graders (20 boys and 20 girls) and discovered that most of them could hardly read or write in English. The test results prompted Maureen, the Kwithu director and co-founder, the teacher and myself to meet with the headteachers of the three schools mostly attended by Kwithu children. The headteachers appreciated our concerns about the English proficiency of the children, but they advised us to focus on more urgent matters if we truly wanted to help, e.g., lack of teaching and learning materials, lack of running water in schools, hunger, teacher qualifications, etc. This advice shifted our initial inquiry goal—from English language teaching—to a community-based participatory action research project designed to address the school conditions in Luwinga. In this paper, I describe the community-based participatory action research inquiry and I reflect on the process of participation.
Population aging and urbanization are often associated with a restriction of the living environment and an increasing tendency to remain at home. This community development report presents the "Neighborhood in Solidarity" methodology as a response to counter or at least slow this restriction and enhance the ability of elderly persons to be active within their neighborhoods. Co-constructed throughout the action research process, the Neighborhood in Solidarity methodology is based on a 13-year experience, accumulated through 22 projects in 17 cities, with promising results in the Canton of Vaud in Switzerland. The genesis and the emergence of the methodology throughout action research workshops and interregional structures are described in the document. The description of Neighborhood in Solidarity is a snapshot of a living methodology, which continues to evolve on a daily basis. The process focuses on empowering the older people through a five-year methodology, which is intended to create an autonomous community that can resolve its own problems. The methodology comprises six steps described throughout the paper: (1) preliminary analysis, (2) diagnostic, (3) construction, (4) project design, (5) project implementation, and (6) empowerment. In 2013, an external assessment evaluated the Neighborhood in Solidarity methodology as effective at and appropriate for achieving its objectives. The promising results of this original methodology motivated this publication.
This paper concerns the complex relationships between external facilitators and teachers in action research, as they work in a critical friendship to develop interaction in specific ways that open up rather than shut down communication and learning. The aim is to contribute with knowledge about interpersonal communication between academic facilitators and teachers in a development process where the teachers had a lack of influence in the initial phase of the project. The findings reveal that communication in a context of incompatible positions and professional distance did not lead to further communication, whereas communication in a context of confidence, mutual reliance, and challenge opened up possibilities for further dialogue. We identified three aspects affecting communication: absence of ownership of specific problems, trust without relationship, and courage before trust. Implication for the action research community is the importance of making strategies for critical friendship explicit. This assists for teachers to internalize the role.
This article discusses the potential for humanizing production and trade relations by extending action research to multilateral commodity networks. Participatory action research and Fairtrade certification both promote social justice, but the first faces difficulties in terms of scalability, while the second experiences challenges in terms of producer support. As conventional research has failed to deliver methods for improving services, we worked with small-scale farmers in South Africa’s rooibos tea industry to meet this gap. Responding to producer concerns regarding market and certification access, we conducted a participatory research, training, and networking program to establish a farmer leadership network within the rooibos industry. Despite the challenges involved in advancing participation in an arena marked by complex power relations, our work helped stakeholders establish trust, improve knowledge, and begin addressing issues. By incorporating commodity network analysis into action research methodology, our model facilitates both community and organizational development, offering a multilateral framework for collaborative inquiry.
Given the considerable potential for participatory action research in correctional settings, this study gathered stakeholders’ perspectives on involving adults in custody throughout the research process. Using mixed methods, the study identified participants’ level of interest in involving prisoners in the research process to inform educational efforts to increase correctional participatory action research. Qualitative data were gathered from 94 prison administrators, Institutional Review Board throughout the Abstract section.] members, prisoner representatives, research ethicists, and correctional researchers; quantitative data were collected from 1228 correctional and noncorrectional mental health researchers, correctional and noncorrectional Institutional Review Board members, and prisoner representatives. Qualitative data revealed lack of understanding of participatory action research concepts and advantages along with disagreement about whether prisoner involvement is desirable. Quantitative data revealed that respondents were most supportive of involving incarcerated individuals in contributing ideas for future research, planning recruitment procedures, developing participant protection procedures, and disseminating information to correctional populations. Respondents least supported involving adults in custody in disseminating findings to scientific venues, designing research and protocols, interpreting data, and setting research agendas. Combined, findings indicate efforts are needed to educate stakeholders about participatory action research’s value in correctional settings. This is particularly true related to soliciting prisoner voices in proactive and meaningful ways and moving beyond simply seeking input about measures selection or recruitment advice.
This paper presents an approach to analyzing action research data which navigates a key challenge; how to convey both the texture and the quality of experience in order to develop theory and practice, where the texture describes individual themes and issues and the quality describes the holistic, rich, felt experience. The examples used in this paper are drawn from a co-operative inquiry group which was exploring the quality of encounter between leader and follower. The aim of this project was to contribute to relational leadership theory and practice through deepening our understanding of moment-by-moment experience in the ‘space-between’ leader and follower. In order to facilitate this, two specific methods called five-column analysis and key moment analysis were developed. They are recommended in this paper as practical approaches to address the desire to both develop theory explicitly through identification of themes whilst doing justice to the richness of experience.
Photovoice involves participants using cameras to document their thoughts and experiences related to an important theme in their everyday lives. Photovoice places the critical data collection tool, a camera, in the control of the participants themselves. Thus, the knowledge that is generated from a photovoice project is likely to directly reflect the interests and concerns of the participants. This project offers a unique view of how participants’ varying approaches to photography influenced their experiences of participation as well as the photographs they took.
This article investigates participatory action research workshops from the perspective of feminist new materialism by asking, how we came to know ageing in the smart city of Oulu in northern Finland through collaborative workshops which aimed to include seniors into public service design. The most meaningful socio-material components in this knowledge-making are argued to be the shifts in social power relations, particular spatial and material practices, and the participant assemblage. These components intra-act transferring our understanding on ageing: ageing becomes a creative state where the seniors are included in the problem-solving instead of being citizens to be looked after, and thus being merely a socio-economic problem. The power dynamics are essential in participatory action research, therefore, the accountability of all agents should be carefully analysed to understand the impacts of epistemology both in design and social change.
In recent years, there has been rapid growth in community–university partnerships. As part of this trend, emerging scholars, including graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, have demonstrated significant interest in being part of community-engaged research projects. However, while there is a growing body of literature on the general subject of CU partnerships, the perspective of emerging scholars is not adequately addressed. In this paper, we aim to address that gap by presenting the case of a specific partnership – one that focused on the issue of community food security – and highlighting the role played by emerging scholars. We suggest that some of the challenges and opportunities characteristic of CU work affect emerging scholars, and the partnerships in which they are involved, in unique ways. Because we view emerging scholar participation in engaged research as valuable for both researchers and community partners, we argue in favour of developing institutional spaces that can support their involvement in CU partnerships by providing opportunities to do the work, facilitating skill building and creating communities of practice.
The aim of the paper was to show how opportunities provided by Action Research models could solve problems related to procurement management in three selected lower local government authorities in Tanzania. It builds on Marja Liisa Swantz’s participant research. Three phases of Action Research were adapted from Lewin’s spiral framework. Purposive technique was used to select members of Action Research groups for the lower local government authority. It was revealed that problems were mainly in planning, managing records, bid evaluation, knowledge on legal framework and contract management for works. Attitudes on transparency and accountability among actors were also not in line with principles of public procurement. Action plans developed were implemented and evaluated. Three components, i.e. research, actions and training were combined to improve procurement planning, records and contract management. There were remarkable improvements in planning, record keeping and contract management. Positive attitudes towards equality, transparency and accountability were also reported for villages which participated in Action Research. A need for integrating Action Research with lower local government authorities’ procurement activities is recommended. However, there are challenges such as building culture of self assessment, frequent transfer of personnel to other government departments and the temporary nature of village project committees.
This study aimed at developing a new nursing handover program in pediatric ward in Iran through action research. Nursing handover is the handover of patient information among nurses between shifts. The participants, including 12 nurses, 2 assistants, a head nurse, and academic researchers as facilitators, worked through two cycles of reflection and action for change over a period of 20 months from 2012 to 2014. The data were collected and analyzed using the concurrent mixed method. Reflection on actions in two cycles resulted in designing and implementing action plans for change, learning in both participants and facilitators, and improvement in nurses' satisfaction with the new nursing handover program. Furthermore, the quantitative data showed a significant decrease in time and cost of nursing handover. This study resulted in the participants' deep understanding about the principles of nursing handover in real world, applicable knowledge through action for change, and reflection on it. Finally, the nurses could establish the foundation of sustainable nursing handover successfully.
This paper reports an action research program designed to develop new approaches for a locally based Swedish R&D unit’s task to facilitate improvement in partner organizations, and to provide guidance on how to manage challenges in action research programs focusing on development in health and social care. Data were gathered from interviews with R&D members’, managers representing the two embedded pilot cases, as well as from the lead action researchers. Key findings were the need to continually monitor and revise the action research plan and that each step should be given specific weights based on the conditions at hand. As the action program evolved the participants were given autonomy to take action in the partner organizations and the role of the action researchers became advisory and consultative. These findings accentuate the emergent nature of action research and the need for flexible and dynamic intervention planning, especially when multiple level actors and several organizations are involved. Based on these findings we discuss some implications for the action researcher’s role and how similar programs can be designed to manage change in complex health and social care systems reaching various stakeholders at many levels.
Written patient education material, for example, discharge-information is commonly used in hospital settings. Despite following guidelines on how to best present text and using patients as consultants, improvements can still be made from a patient’s perspective.
Here, we describe the process of developing patient education material using a participatory design methodology, with patients, clinicians, researchers and designers working as co-designers following a structured process map. The method emphasises coping with conflicting interests and using this as a source of development. The philosophies behind action research and person-centred care were combined in a practical setting, enhancing both perspectives and generating actionable knowledge to be further used in patient involvement projects. The results reveal that predominant areas of tensions focused on power, organization, content and clinical usability. This study is one of the first to involve patients as co-designers of education materials in the health care context, and not only as consultants. Working as co-designers was found to be productive and in line with person-centred care philosophy, with focus on partnership and equality. The results of this study can therefore benefit both patients and other relevant stakeholders in the healthcare system in developing written patient education materials.
When considering Karl Marx’s conception of praxis, numerous relations between it and action research come to the surface. These relations are not only important for understanding the roots of action research, but also future directions of the methodology. Marx’s short, but important text, the Theses on Feuerbach, not only constructs the foundation for Marxian praxis, but also can be read as an action research text, for it stands as an example of how to transform knowledge generation into a practical and active process. Moreover, praxis functions as a mode of epistemology and a revolutionary system that espouses human agency. One can further draw connections between Marxian praxis and action research in terms of how praxis requires researchers to be critical of dominant ideologies and methodologies. Therefore, revisiting Marxist theory, particularly its specific conception of praxis, is a crucial exercise for action researchers, particularly in a context where problems associated with the capitalist political economy continue to profoundly affect people’s lives.
This paper promotes the value of including many stakeholders in service development. The experience of co-creative service development is examined through the lens of action research. Engaging multiple stakeholders in face-to-face, in simultaneous joint activities, from various organisations, with different levels of hierarchy, and dissimilar positions, may increase the diversification through the broadness of the information, knowledge, and experiences, and increase the amount, and quality of the development suggestions. This paper is an attempt to tell the story of action research, and how it was applied to increase the understanding of the usefulness of multiple stakeholders in service development. Outcomes of a research project are presented. The paper ends with discussion of the theoretical and practical implications of the conducted research.
The study of sex trafficking, prostitution, sex work, and sexual exploitation is associated with many methodological issues and challenges. Researchers’ study designs must consider the many safety issues related to this vulnerable and hidden population. Community advisory boards and key stakeholder involvement are essential to study design to increase safety of participants, usefulness of study aims, and meaningfulness of conclusions. Nonrandomized sampling strategies are most often utilized when studying exploited women and girls, which have the capacity to provide rich data and require complex sampling and recruitment methods. This article reviews the current methodological issues when studying this marginalized population as well as strategies to address challenges while working with the community in order to bring about social change. The authors also discuss their own experiences in collaborating with community organizations to conduct research in this field.
This article uses an evocative autoethnographic approach to explore the experience of being an insider-researcher in a community-based participatory research setting. Taking a holistic perspective and using the form of narrative story-telling, I examine the dynamics between the typically marginalizing (but sometimes empowering) experience of being an autistic woman and the typically privileging (but sometimes oppressive) experience of being an engineering professional, during a time of career upheaval. Themes of motivations and mentors, adversity from social services and the academy, belonging, the slipperiness of intersectional positioning, feedback cycles of opportunity, dichotomies of competence and inadequacy, heightened stakes, and power and resistance are explored through the narrative. While primarily leaving the narrative to speak for itself per the qualitative approach taken, the article concludes with a discussion of how the personal experiences described relate both to the broader work of insider-researchers within disability-related fields, and to misconceptions about self-reflection and capacity for story-telling in individuals on the autism spectrum.
Within the Active Ageing context (WHO), enhancing older peoples’ quality of life by focusing on their participation is essential. Although Active Ageing is relevant in nursing homes, the nursing home residents’ autonomy and participation on organizational level are often restricted. New ways to structurally enhance their participation must be found. This article discusses possible contributions of participatory action research as structural method in a new Active Ageing-envisioned nursing home, enabling residents’ participation and focuses on the practicalities of its implementation process. During an implementation project in the nursing home, participatory action research was introduced in the nursing home as weekly activity where residents assembled to observe the nursing home operation, identify problems and make suggestions for improvement. Based on the researchers’ experiences, implementing participatory action research needs a preparation and adaptation period for the nursing home staff, the participatory action research moderators and the residents to cope with the experienced challenges. Nevertheless, participatory action research appeared feasible and can bring added value to residents’ living conditions. This article contributes to the development of the participatory action research theory and the Active Ageing implementation in nursing home, since it shows the possibilities, challenges and assets of participatory action research towards a more frail population in the nursing home environment. Participatory action research might in turn lead to the realization of Active Ageing nursing home who endeavours to optimize residents’ quality of life.
The complexity of modern interdisciplinary health care practices, where different specialties work together to solve complex problems, challenges traditional approaches to organizational development and quality improvement. An example of this is surgery. This article describes and evaluates an action-oriented method to facilitate organizational development and innovation at an operating unit, centered on interprofessional aspects of health care, a method that shares some features with action learning. At its core the method had a group with members from all specialties in an operating team, who participated in regular meetings facilitated by a process leader, according to experiential learning principles. The group was evaluated using mixed methods (including interaction process analysis (IPA)), of which video recorded group meetings and interviews constituted the main sources of data. Results showed that the group achieved a successful organizational change. Indications of the success of the group process were the low level of conflicts and the high level of task focus. Interprofessional boundaries appeared to be bridged as all members participated in formulation of both problems and solutions while not being afraid to voice different opinions. Problems could be attributed to lack of awareness of the group at the operating unit at which the intervention took place.
This piece is an attempt to synthesize our learnings about poverty and action research using the financial diaries methodology among the urban poor at Ramanagaram, a town 60 km away from Bangalore, India. We introduced a participatory component in the financial diaries methodology by asking our respondents (all women) to be the diary writers. This helped narrowing the gap between the researchers and researched towards understanding data on the lives of the poor. It spurred an on-going relationship with our diary writers and enabled us to take a critical look at several mainstream conclusions about poverty. For example, eating out and expenditure on snacks by women, especially in women-headed households is not to be considered a temptation good but an expense arising from the informal nature of her employment, allowing her little time towards household chores. Similarly, buying a TV (sometimes by borrowing money) was often prompted by the drudgery of onerous job–work done from home, rather than from the need to emulate the Joneses. A small self-help livelihoods venture grew out of the interaction, which we helped setup. This study reinforces the need to have more action research with the poor, if meaningful solutions need be sought to their problems.
Action research (AR) can be an effective form of ‘on the job’ training. However, it is critical that AR cycles can be appropriately recorded in order to contribute to reflection and learning. One form of recording is for coresearchers to keep a diary. We found no previous literature describing the use of diaries in AR in sub-Saharan Africa. We therefore use this paper to reflect on how diaries were used by district health management teams in the PERFORM project. We share five lessons from our experience. First, it is important to foster ownership of the diary by the people who are responsible for filling it in. Second, the purpose of keeping a diary needs to be clear and shared between researchers and practitioners from the very beginning. Third, diaries should be allowed to evolve. Fourth, it is a challenge for busy practitioners to record the reflection and learning processes that they go through. Last, diaries on their own are not sufficient to capture reflection and learning. In conclusion, there is no best way for practitioners to keep a diary; rather the focus should be on ensuring that an AR recording process (whether diary or otherwise) is locally owned and complements the specific practice setting.
In the context of a call for public health research to address social challenges and transform communities and society, research translation has increasingly become an imperative in South Africa. Research translation seeks to improve real-world settings and enhance quality of life by applying research-generated knowledge. These goals are shared by proponents of participatory action research (PAR). However, the way in which research is pursued constitutes a major focus for PAR, where the paradigmatic position influences how we relate to knowledge and people, and whether and how we achieve the goals concerned. This article contrasts the meta-theoretical positioning of PAR with that of research translation as it is pursued within public health circles, and then argues how PAR both challenge and optimise the espoused goals of research translation through its accent on co-learning, knowledge co-construction, social action and the dialectic between research and action. We offer two African-centred examples of community-engaged research focusing on violence prevention, and safety and peace promotion to illustrate how the participatory mechanisms of empowerment and agency, knowledge co-construction and knowledge sharing foster research translation. Attention to power dynamics, exemplified through researcher reflexivity is emphasised as a key challenge for researchers wishing to address public health challenges.
This article describes the use of participatory visual and multimedia methods as part of a participatory action research carried out in a highly degraded urban area of a metropolis. The project was developed by the ‘I love Portacapuana’ committee in collaboration with community psychology lab and 180 undergraduate psychology students of the University of Naples Federico II. The joint use of visual tools such as photographs and videos with Internet-based collaborative work groups – through social networks such as Facebook – has proved effective in interpreting the needs of local citizens. This process has also involved a thorough analysis in terms of strengths and weaknesses as well as opportunities and threats in the local context. Indeed, the integration of visual tools into the broader framework of community diagnosis has fostered an interactive dialogue between the local community, researchers and local authorities. This, in turn, has lead to the outlining of a series of intervention strategies for local urban regeneration.
This study discusses Karen refugees and their education experiences in the United States via a participatory action research. A White male American English tutor and three adolescent Karen brothers took a road trip and visited with the Karen diaspora communities throughout the United States. Researchers in collaboration designed the study, collected qualitative data (interviews, participant observations, artifacts), and analyzed the data and identified five challenges facing Karen youth in- and out-of school: English language divide, parental involvement in their children’s schooling, bullying, gangs, and gender. We discuss how involvement in such a participatory action research can promote new awareness and agency for minority youth. Furthermore, we suggest ways for teachers, school administrators, and community members to help refugee youth better adapt to their communities and schools.
Based upon expansions of indigenous research methodologies in the literature, researchers are encouraged to understand indigenous research conceptualization and implementation within various communities. The purpose of this review is to outline six tenets or principles that are intended to engage researchers in practices that privilege the voices and goals of indigenous populations: indigenous identity development; indigenous paradigmatic lens; reflexivity and power sharing; critical immersion; participation and accountability; and methodological flexibility. Future research directions for expanding and operationalizing principles of indigenous research practices are also provided.
This study examined how children’s participation can be actualized, and their perspectives respected, through an action research project that engaged them in the development of an outdoor play area in a child care center in South Korea. An educator devised a broad plan and invited children to participate and take the initiative in leading the project. Young children were capable of expressing their points of view and could contribute directly to issues that mattered to them if they worked in accordance with "child-centered" methods and were appropriately supported by adults. Communication with children was also identified as an important means of clarifying their true perspectives, also allowed for the formation of shared meanings. The children perceived themselves as confident learners, developed the ability to communicate and negotiate with other children and adults, showed initiative and enthusiasm, and acquired democratic attitudes and skills. The educator also changed her perspectives and attitudes toward children’s rights and capacities as well as toward outdoor play and learning and maintained these changes in her pedagogy and management of the classroom. An inclusive context and sustainable implementation of child participation are recommended for the purpose of realizing children’s rights and transforming education and child care practices.
Mainstream knowledge production and communication in the academy generally reflect the tenets of positivist research and predominantly embody hierarchical processes of knowledge transfer. In contrast, a transformative research paradigm is rooted in knowledge mobilization processes involving close collaboration between researchers and community actors as co-enquirers as a part of a broader agenda for progressive social change. They also involve strategic communication strategies that mobilize knowledge beyond those directly involved in the research process. We illustrate the cyclical pattern and transgressive potential of knowledge mobilization processes through a reflective case study of a participatory action research program in the Canadian Prairies. Based on this work, we present three key knowledge mobilization strategies. These include: using transmedia to exchange knowledge across a range of communication media; building bridges to invite communication amongst diverse knowledge communities; and layering to communicate knowledge at varying levels of detail. We critically examine our own practice as a contested and partial process in tension with the institutional and cultural durability of the more linear knowledge transfer paradigm. Knowledge mobilization strategies provide a framework to implement research methods, communication processes, and outcomes that are high in impact and relevant in struggles for a more just and resilient society.
This paper highlights the possibilities for transformation that exist when a diverse group of participants interested in working together to change the culture of dementia care in long-term care and community care settings use appreciative participatory action research to guide their culture change efforts. These transformations happened throughout the culture change process using appreciative participatory action research. For instance, using appreciative participatory action research to guide the culture change process provided participants with the opportunity to build stronger professional and personal relationships in their respective care communities. Culture change transformations also stemmed from the appreciative participatory action research process, as participants recognized the importance of finding ways to include persons with dementia/residents in the process and they developed an appreciation for the valuable contributions persons with dementia/residents can make to culture change work. These culture chance possibilities demonstrate the value in using appreciative participatory action research to guide culture change in long-term care and community care contexts. These possibilities also illustrate the importance of paying closer attention to the culture change process itself, rather than solely the outcomes of the process, given that the possibilities for transformation that can take place throughout the process can help to build momentum, propelling culture change efforts forward in healthcare contexts.
This article reflects on a methodological research proposal developed from the perspective of interdisciplinary action research in the context of fear-coping interventions for older people in seven rural areas of southern Chile, following the earthquake and tsunami of February 2010. First, we used interventions based on music and art therapy to gather information on their emotional condition. We not only identified high levels of psychological stress, but also that their strengths were related to the Chilean culture and folk traditions. The creative strategies used proved to be therapeutic and healing, since participants reported they were able to express their fears, giving new meaning to their experiences in a collective context. The results highlight the importance of engaging with community members in the production of knowledge, and in defining collectively the cultural pertinence of interventions. It concludes with a discussion about the possibility of replicating this proposal in post-disaster intervention contexts.
This paper highlights the potential for basing participatory action research on priorities identified by communities. The case builds on a research project by the Social Science Medicine Africa Network (Soma-net) focusing on AIDS prevention among school youth in Kajiado in Kenya during 2003–2006. It became clear from that study just how complex it is to promote open communication on issues of sexuality considered critical for sexual health promotion. Towards the end of that study a spin-off in the form of a concept "a child, a tree" or tree planting evolved and the research thereafter continued as a partnership between the school community and the researchers. The focus then was on understanding how health promotion could be integrated into other aspects of community life. The concept and tree planting when implemented created a sense of ownership among the pupils largely because they were placed at the centre of the development activities. The story illuminates the nature of change developing in the course of the project, but also the challenges and complexity of creating and maintaining collaborative relations in the face of cultural and gender power dynamics and interventions imposed from outside the community.
Participatory action research (PAR) facilitates the change process in clinical practice and promotes knowledge development. This paper highlights the potential of PAR to implement changes in healthcare oriented for the development of self-care management skills in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In COPD patients, the preservation of self-care autonomy and quality of life depends on the patients’ ability to adopt pharmacological treatments and behavioural changes. In a Portuguese central hospital nurses (n = 52) have identified a gap between the nursing care and the perceived needs of the patients, and developed a healthcare solution based on a PAR methodology supported by an overlapping cycle of action and research. The PAR took place during 14 months. The PAR allowed the change in the care model in use, in the organization and the nursing care documentation. This change was focused on the development of self-care management skills, responding to the needs and expectations of those involved. The PAR proved to be an appropriate methodology to identify and implement changes that contribute to the safety, quality and access to healthcare.
The aim of this paper was to describe the first person perspective of being a peer midwife and a novice researcher initiating collaborative AR in her own organization to develop knowledge about the first encounters between the labouring woman and her care-givers in a hospital birthing context. It was motivated by the author’s longstanding professional clinical experience of observing and hearing parents’ stories of vulnerability and fear of childbirth, and how staff’s attitudes affected the childbirth experience negatively. Data were collected between 2010 and 2013 and included the researcher’s log with reflections from clinical work, as well as interviews, participant observation, and research group communications. A reflective interpretative lifeworld research approach was used to analyze the data. The experience of being a novice insider action researcher (IARr) consisted of three thematic meanings: "the struggle to initiate a clinical insider action research project," "standing alone at the messy front line," and "being a catalytic counterbalance to the prevailing medico technical focus." The comprehensive understanding was "learning how to clinically reflect on and to voice the tacit components of care." The strategy used in undertaking this study was influenced by the philosophies of both midwifery care and AR.
Action research was chosen to investigate the interface between economic and environmental factors in the aviation sector. A variant of the methodology was developed which combined the ethos of action research with the prescriptive mechanism of case study analysis. This was found to be particularly appropriate for the situation encountered, where the parameters of the central problem are clearly defined and an outline solution can be identified but how to persuade stakeholders of a way forward is uncertain. The research had three phases beginning with the preparatory phase which examined the situation in depth to be able to propose a feasible solution. The second phase involved seeking ideas from another sector with similar characteristics. The third phase consisted of engagement with stakeholders across six stakeholder groups. It is suggested that the ‘action research case study’ is particularly suited to the challenge of sustainability and may have wider utility.
This insider action research project aimed to improve interprofessional team performance at a surgical ward. The purpose of the project was (1) to critically appraise potential deficiencies in staffs’ identification, clinical judgment, and management of deteriorating ward patients, (2) to develop an interprofessional change model, and (3) evaluate the impact of the change model and the AR process. The insider AR project took place at a large Danish surgical ward with 60 participating physicians and nurses. The study was conducted in three interconnected action and reflection cycles using mixed methods. Staff viewed the co-creation and co-inquiry as important resources in transforming the ward into a better microsystem. Microsystems as a theoretical framework was used to conceive the success of health system redesign as a matter of enabling the clinical team to meet patient needs. By combining insider AR with microsystems, this study highlights the importance of senior leaders to recognize the nature and power of using the microsystem approach for strategy, excellence, innovation, and research. Staff was able to formulate an overarching vision of interprofessionalism and this helped inspire changes in clinical practice for the benefit of our patients.
Although action research uses both qualitative and quantitative methods, few contributions have addressed the specific role of the latter in this kind of research. This paper focuses on how quantitative methods can be integrated with participatory dynamics in action research designs. Four types of integration are defined and exemplified. The paper concludes with some reflections on how the integration of quantitative methods in these designs must address epistemological and methodological issues.
Do-it-yourself biology, or garage biology, is a set of practices through which lay people can practice biotechnology and thus also challenge the exclusive control exercised on biotech R&D by Big Bio. This article describes how garage biologists aim to radically transform biotechnological socio-material products and indicate a way of engaging with science and technology that is praxis oriented and builds on sharing, participation, and creativity. We argue that these do-it-yourself biology practices contain significant epistemological similarities with the well-established tradition of action research and indicate that both practices share the political objective to empower individuals to actively build their own future but that they prioritize different strategies. Action research investigates opportunities for empowerment in typical social domains while do-it-yourself biology focuses on the material dimension of socio-technical realities. By reviewing some do-it-yourself biology practices from the core basic principles of action research, the article aims to develop insight whether and in which forms a connectivity can be realized between these different practices leading to future collective actions among these practices.
The police have underdeveloped links with mental health and social care services despite daily contact with mentally ill individuals. They struggle with identifying and managing the mentally ill in custody, and consistently express a lack of support from partner agencies. In 2010, our research team developed a mental health screening tool and pathway for use by police custody officers, The Police Mental Health Screening Questionnaire (PolQuest). However, due to the large number of agencies with different organisational goals and responsibilities that deal with mentally disordered offenders, the introduction of a screening tool alone was considered insufficient. Thus, an action learning group comprising key professionals from relevant services in one geographical area was tasked with developing a manual and training materials to support the implementation of PolQuest by frontline staff. This paper reflects upon the key themes that emerged from the experience of action learning as a method for engaging multi-agency staff, operating under different occupational goals and cultures, to develop shared practice-oriented outcomes. Data analysed include the facilitator’s reflective notes, meeting minutes and emails. The action learning process was considered a useful method for engaging multi-agency stakeholders in developing materials to support PolQuest’s implementation in vivo.
This study demonstrates action research’s emancipatory traditions in enabling community stakeholders in rural Thai settings to increase self-reliance and collaboration in improving primary care occupational health services. Most of the Thai workforce are informal sector workers outside Thai labor law protections, health and safety regulatory frameworks, and without specific occupational health services to provide for work-related health needs. This project brought together community leader teams, village health volunteers and informal workers themselves to collaboratively develop community services for this underserved group. Significant changes were effected at community team level, with improvements in networking and community nurses’ health care for the workers and in their oversight and supervision of village health volunteers (VHVs) in the community. Most notably, VHVs’ self-confidence improved at providing illness prevention and health promotion support in workers’ homes and work settings congruent with their daily lifestyle and work schedules. Informal workers’ health self-care behaviors improved.
This article reports on the development of critical subjectivity, in a cooperative inquiry study, which aimed to use principles of consumer participation to explore and develop recovery-oriented care in a regional mental health service in rural Australia. The development of critical subjectivity occurred when the lead researcher began to understand her role as an ‘insider’ in perpetuating dominant institutional culture through her work practices. The findings illustrate the way lived experience perspectives were excluded, invisible and considered ‘outsider’ in relation to dominant biomedical epistemology. As the researcher participated in a more relational participatory process and documented her thinking, her knowledge of her work practices began to change and this contributed to the transformation in her practice. Action research is a tool that supports shared dialogue to enable culture change necessary for recovery-oriented practice.
This study involved six Swedish and Canadian doctoral students who shared interests in using action research in professional education in different disciplines. We employed Noffke’s three dimensions of action research as a theoretical framework (i.e., the Professional, the Personal, and the Political). Using collective biography as a methodology, we cooperatively examined how our personal and professional agendas and macro-level structures have been shaping our intentions to conduct action research projects in our respective disciplines. The key findings of this international and interdisciplinary collective biography relate our growing awareness of the intimacy between research and life in various professional and geographic contexts. Collectively addressing our shared frustrations, we celebrated action research as a methodology that attends to the dynamic and concrete lived experiences of our participants in various spatio-temporalities. Reflecting upon the hybridity of our own researcher identities, we were also able to see the intimate relation between ourselves as active citizens and critical action researchers who are determined to take up the challenges and engage in critically oriented action research that could nurture more "caring," "empowering," and "transforming" public spheres.
Generalization in research takes the form of statements where knowledge is claimed to be valid for objects beyond those actually studied. Can action research knowledge, with its emphasis on cooperation between research and those concerned, apply this notion? Several action researchers seem to answer this question in the negative in the sense that they introduce specific measures to support the broad application of knowledge emanating from action research, such as locating projects within networks, working with leaders who can carry the knowledge to further users, organizing the project as large scale events, and more. The purpose of this article is to discuss some of these measures with a view to bringing them together in a broader perspective on how to make action research knowledge reach out in society, with participative constructivism as the core concept.
Natya yoga therapy is an integrative approach that combines yoga with movement, music, and conventional psychotherapy. The word natya refers to movement and music while yoga refers to practice of the eight guiding principles of yoga (ashta anga yoga) that lead to meditation. Individual psychotherapy includes cognitive restructuring of self-concept strengthened by behavioral discipline that builds self-competence. Concurrent group therapy offers meditative relief and intuitive reiteration of a strong self. This study is dedicated to developing a group meditation model that includes natya and yoga practices, specifically for patients with schizophrenia. Action research methodology is used to include the voices of administrators, staff, therapists, researcher, and patients as co-creators of an effective meditation model that feels comfortable and safe. Data analysis and knowledge creation reflect a reiterative cycle of practical, experiential, and presentational epistemology. Study validated that for this population, practices of natya and yoga did create inner meditative calm, free from agitation and anxiety.
Action research is potentially a useful method for changing clinical practice by involving practitioners in the process of change. The aim of this study was to explore the utility of action research in bridging the gap between research and practice. Diabetes educators in collaboration with researchers developed and implemented a participatory, group-based diabetes education program in a diabetes clinic in the Danish health care system. The research process included a variety of qualitative methods: workshops, classroom observations, video recordings and semi-structured interviews. These methods aimed at obtaining contextual sensitivity, allowing dynamic interactions with educators and people with diabetes. Despite challenges, the study demonstrates how action research methods contribute to development and change of diabetes education practice while simultaneously adding knowledge to the action research community.
This paper demonstrates that local knowledge systems are inherent elements of people's capacity to forecast natural hazards and thereby reduce disaster risk. It describes the local knowledge systems prevalent among traditional fishworkers in Kerala to predict and forecast coastal hazards. Apart from diverse techniques of participatory inquiry, in-depth interviews were carried out with 400 fishing households across 20 marine fishing villages of the state. The socially constructed nature of coastal hazards is demonstrated as a holistic phenomenon namely kolu. The empirical knowledge related to forecasting and prediction of kolu is thus explained in terms of biotic, oceanic, atmospheric and celestial spheres. This paper asserts the need for effective community-based early warning systems that are deeply embedded in the livelihood struggles and life-world of marginalised resource-dependent communities.
Recovery as a social justice framework addresses how people who experience mental illness can increase being active agents to assist in improving their quality of life. Similarly, co-operative inquiry challenges the power imbalances that exist among marginalized and vulnerable groups by seeking to create relevant platforms for equality. The intention of this current study was to explore the relationship between art making and the mental health recovery process. This article describes a multi-faceted approach to action research by using the concept of the bricoleur to piece together co-operative inquiry and art-based research with the mental health recovery values. In particular, a relational layer of knowing was brought forward through the making of art-based intersubjective responses of the data collected. By integrating the knowledge gained from this first-second-person relational knowing with the findings from participant interviews, the overall the trustworthiness of the study was enhanced. For this type of co-operative inquiry, trustworthiness was determined by whether engagement in the study led to the development of relationships built on mutual respect and how a shared understanding enabled further validation of the participants' experiences.
To address gender relations, sexual violence, and differing cultural masculinities, we collaborated with a community organization and young, male stakeholders at a mid-sized public university in the Northeast United States. We employed a directive inquiry method to design, assess, and critique a participatory action research pilot program for young men renegotiating masculinities in a primary prevention context. Our process expanded upon ‘healthy relationships’ programs, but was distinctive in its focus on the challenges and resiliencies of young men in diverse communities. Specific process strategies are discussed critically in terms of feasibility for future full-scale programs and contributions to theory-based participatory research on masculinities and violence.
This article explores the use of an action research (AR) approach with a marginalized population of people who trade sex and as a modality to engage diverse stakeholders to work together to reduce harm caused by sex trading. As a trained academic anthropologist thrust into leadership of a community research project, I cobbled together my own self-reflexive praxis and working method with the experts all around me – people who trade sex, police, residents, and more. In the process I discovered that involvement of women who traded sex in the project’s research design created a respectful, humane, connected, and acceptable research process in which participants felt comfortable sharing personal information. AR was better for participants and more useful in surfacing better and deeper knowledge of sex trading. It was also a cost-effective way to design a successful recruitment strategy to broaden the participant base of the study contacting participants not typically involved in research on sex trading. This is important because sampling is a perennial problem in studies of sex trading, prostitution, and sex trafficking. Our research led to new knowledge that formed the basis for action to reduce the harms of sex trading.
This article explores the findings from an action research project which tracked the evolution of The Executive Program (EP) (a pseudonym), a four-week open enrollment senior executive program at a major university in the United States. The decade-long journey grew from a program redesign initiative to a process of ongoing change through insider action research. Through the process the faculty director and collaborating faculty unexpectedly experienced an epistemological shift. The EP was transformed from a traditional ‘teacher as expert’ model with a focus on cognitive learning to a holistic learning community that emphasized broader participant involvement and a wider range of learning approaches. This article is the product of the authors' collaborative meaning-making through the lens of developmental action inquiry and adult learning theory.
Vernacular architecture is suffering all over the world and Egypt is one of the countries where the desert vernacular is facing a great risk of disappearance. The aim of the research is to introduce a methodological approach applying participatory action research (PAR) as a tool to help save the future of the currently deteriorating desert vernacular architecture. The aim was to help prevent further loss of desert vernacular architecture knowledge and to encourage vernacular know-how in becoming a living part of future building practices. To benefit from local know-how, a desert vernacular model house was constructed using PAR methods that engaged the local community throughout the design and building phases. The model house was constructed based on an understanding of desert vernacular architecture as well as of the urban fabric and building technology. The town of Balat in the Western Desert of Egypt was chosen as a location for this research work application. As this is an international problem the research developed several techniques within PAR, applied in a flexible way, giving the opportunity for further application in similar vernacular settlements suffering from similar problems.