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Participatory Action Research

Thomas Jacobson


Participatory action research (PAR) is a methodological approach to research that breaks with standard social scientific practice in a number of ways (→  Research Methods ). In standard practice, research into the behavior of social groups is conducted by university-trained scientists, while in PAR research is conducted by the social groups themselves with the assistance of university-trained scientists. In standard practice, research into the behavior of social groups is conducted with an attitude of scientific objectivity (→  Objectivity in Science ), while in PAR research processes are conducted with a less objectivist attitude. Finally, in standard social scientific practice, the primary aim of research is the accumulation of knowledge, while in PAR the primary aim of research is improvement of social conditions, or social change (→  Communication Strategies for Empowerment ; Social Mobilization ). Given the aim of improving social conditions, much of PAR is conducted in the conditions of developing countries (→  Development Communication ). However, action research approaches have been found useful worldwide in a broad range of contexts including education, urban planning, environmental conservation, and others. Journals, handbooks, and collected works on the subject are readily available. PAR is not really a single method, but rather one of a family of research approaches ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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