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Participatory Action Research(PAR), according to  ParticipatoryMethods.Org, is an approach to the inquiry which has been used since the 1940s. It involves researchers and participants working together to understand a problematic situation and change it for the better. There are many definitions of the approach, which share some common elements. PAR focuses on social change that promotes democracy and challenges inequality; is context-specific, often targeted on the needs of a particular group; is an iterative cycle of research, action, and reflection; and often seeks to ‘liberate’ participants to have a greater awareness of their situation in order to take action. PAR uses a range of different methods, both qualitative and quantitative.

On attending the PhotoVoice workshop hosted by Brac Uganda at the Silver Springs Hotel in Kampala Uganda, (check link to previous Article), I had the first opportunity to be officially introduced to the term PAR ( Participatory Action Research), and I have to admit that it really revealed to me that sometimes not knowing the technical term used might scare you off the topics, but it doesn’t have to especially since you might after all already be applying the knowledge, without having  a particular name for the concept, but you obviously do what it may require.

In PAR, a researcher combines the normal research methods of Traditional Research, (More applied in the Academia), Reflective Practices, Agency Inquiry Processes(more likely to be done by managers), and the Emancipatory Action Research to generate a more result oriented, and more accurate research. Unlike the other forms which are independent, in PAR, the research brings all these together, to generate an enormous result. The researcher is at the center applying all these methods and what surrounds him or her is the action.



Study the images above.

In short, the PAR is

  • Cyclical
  • Participatory
  • Systematic
  • Dynamical
  • Developmental

This especially is the experience for the researcher. In the same PAR sections also, attendees discussed

  1. Why do we do qualitative research with the youth? Difficulties in working with them, and as well the benefits of involving youth in Qualitative research.
  2. The Role of Youth Researchers
  3. An Overview of Qualitative Methods.
  4. In-depth Interviews by Youth Researchers
  5. Focus Group Discussions by Youth Researchers (The Advantages and Disadvantages of FGD’s)
  6. Matching methods to research objects. (Comparing FGDs & In-depth Interviews)

This way, the attendees could have an insight into how Brac was working with the youth who are also its beneficiaries. At the same time, I could also see that our contributions were part of an ongoing research ha-ha! Nevertheless,  there is a lot to learn whether you are a journalist, writer-blogger, researcher, or photographer, and I learned all these from this workshop.

See more images below and in case you did not read the previous article on Photo-Voice, here and enjoy your read.

Attendees sitting in for PAR session


A diagram was drawn by one group of attendees concerning what happens when researchers are involved in PAR


Comparing the Advantages and Disadvantages of Focus Group Discussions


Discussion on skills development and its benefits for youth Participants Involved in PAR



A picture showing references/sources for shared data









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