Negotiating the challenges of participatory action research: Relationships, power, participation, change and credibility

Grant, J., Nelson, G., & Mitchell, T. (2008). Negotiating the challenges of participatory action research: Relationships, power, participation, change and credibility. In P. Reason & H. Bradbury (eds). The SAGE Handbook of Action Research. SAGE Publications.

Abstract: In this chapter we explore some of the issues that researchers and participants face when engaging in participatory action research (PAR). We suggest negotiation processes and skills that may be helpful in co-creating meaningful research accounts that arise from the lived experiences of communities as well as the subjectivity of ourselves as researchers. We reflect on power issues, self-reflexivity and the potential to develop credible accounts that can be transformative and transgressive. We consider PAR challenges, negotiation processes, and identified skills for building relationships, acknowledging and sharing power, encouraging participation, making change, and establishing credible accounts. As we discuss each area of challenge, we present vignettes from our own research that serve as examples of the challenges and possible strategies for achieving the goals of participatory research.

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