Participatory Action Research San Diego Nutrition & Physical Activity Collaborative Forum: Community Based Participatory Research: Building Capacity of Communities and Organizations to Engage in Authentic Partnerships William T. Oswald, Ph.D. [email protected] September 2012 What is Participatory Action Research? All research is the gathering of information in a systematic and objective way Academic Research: To Understand Participatory Action Research: To Inform action In this presentation PAR is seen as a community organizing & leadership development tool PAR & Public Policy Truly Understanding Policy requires looking at it from three angles: 1. What is the intent? 2. How is it to be implemented? 3. How is it to be received? The voice of the recipient is rarely included in policy analysis PAR is a powerful way to include the recipients’ voice in the policy dialogue PAR is Political Politics is the art of translating the ideal into the real Who gets to decide what the “Ideal” is? Who gets to decide how that “Ideal” is translated into the “Real” – Public Policy PAR challenges the status quo by bringing a new voice to the table Purpose of PAR To Create Authentic Demand ". . . resident voices at decision-making tables, with competence and confidence to participate fully in the deliberations and who understand that they are connected to constituencies in their neighborhoods to whom they are accountable.” Core Questions Who picks the issue? Who creates the questions? Who asks the questions? Who answers the questions? Who gives meaning to the answers? Who owns the knowledge? The earlier and the stronger the role of the “community of interest” in the process the more empowering the process and the greater the capacity developed PAR allows those usually left out of the public dialogue to have their voice heard Geology of Community Large institutions that have investments in the community but are not part of the community - colleges, universities, hospitals, large foundations, some federal and state programs, etc. Local county and municipal government, some foundations, and some state and federal programs, etc Nonprofit agencies that have programs within the community. These organizations are typically referred to as "community-based organizations”. Community-owned institutions as well as the unorganized members of the community. It is a broad band in that ranges from relatively large, stable organizations to small, unfunded community efforts and activities. This layer also includes those residents who live below the Clay Line. What do we mean by “Clay Line?” Not a scientific term Think of community as garden. On the top the soil is soft and easy to work with. Eventually, however, you dig down deep enough to reach the clay line. The soil at that point is like cement and very difficulty to work with. Below the Clay Line Essentially they are people whose present situation and status in society present significant barriers to their engagement in the public dialogue, e.g., people living near or below the poverty line, people who are disabled, immigrants, refuges, victims of domestic violence, etc. GETTING BELOW THE CLAY LINE People living below the clay line are rarely part of the public dialogue • Can’t afford the price of admission • Out of the reach of most pollsters • Underrepresented in the Census SPIN Study: 12 women living near of below the federal poverty line interviewed over 180 households on hunger and the safety net Access to Healthcare Study: 23 women refugees from about 6 countries surveyed over 200 women refugees from East African countries Crawford Community Assessment: 14 students and parents surveyed 100 youth and 100 adults in the Crawford area concerning health, safety, youth, and education Challenges You can’t just do it. Requires an organized “Community of Interest” Community of Interest runs the program – not the researcher Community moves at different pace than “professional” and/or “academic” world Researcher has different role: teaching the skill, guiding and facilitating the process Integrating a different perspective when deliverables are set USES FORM a “Community of Interest” Crawford/Mann Community Collaborative – Bring an organized group of students, parents, residents into the Collaborative IDENTIFY Core Issue City Heights Hope – The cultural gap between parents and children DEVELOP Leaders of a “Community of Interest” SPIN – Conducted over 100 community presentations – met with each of the five members of Board of Supervisors CREATE Plan of Action All three studies have led to focused campaigns: SPIN on food stamps, City Heights Hope on interpretation services in healthcare, Crawford on increasing parent involvement Real Politics PAR provides legitimacy to community voice Community & agencies define problems differently Agencies see need for service. Community sees needs for resources Community not always welcome at the table There can be an uncomfortable relationship between constituent groups and nonprofit and government agencies Power is viewed as finite increase in community power is a loss of power to another All systems resist change The bigger the system, the greater the resistance An Methodology 1 Meet about issue - describe experience Confirm Consensus on description Consensus on Issue Is experience unique or common? 2 Introduce: Reliability, Validity, Generalizability Generate questions to ask in order to answer question #1 Instrument Developed Come to consensus on questions and format Identify source of sample and type of sampling Workshop on interviewing 3 Pilot testing of survey Finalize instrument Trained Interviewers Methodology 4 Collect data Monitor process & sample Data set collected Adjust process as necessary Present data to group 5 Introduce statistics as appropriate [e.g., mean, median, mode, correlation, content analysis, etc.] Data Interpreted Develop the meaning of data, i.e., interpret the data Draw conclusions from the data 6 Develop consensus on set of recommendations Identify institution (s) with authority to respond to recommendations Recommendations Developed Methodology 7 Present the findings and recommendations to the broader community - assessing for consensus on the issue - and engaging them in the issue Campaign Launched Develop and implement strategy/campaign to press for carrying out of recommendations Assess impact of campaign 8 Identify next steps Celebrate Evaluate & Celebrate Closing No one has the corner on TRUTH. Reality is a social construction and PAR brings a new and important voice to the table. Where you stand depends on where you sit – policy does not impact everyone equally. Systems don’t change from the inside. The law of inertia holds: “Things in motion tend to stay in motion. Things at rest tend to stay at rest.” PAR is about bringing change. Democracy is slow, sloppy and full of drama.