PRARI workshop on participatory methods

Report
Participatory Action Research:
a methodology for impact?
Ana B. Amaya and Nicola Yeates
http://www.open.ac.uk/socialsciences/prari/
ESRC/DfID Poverty Alleviation Conference
9/9/14
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Poverty Reduction and Regional
Integration (PRARI)
- What regional institutional practices and
methods of regional policy formation are conducive
to the emergence of embedded pro-poor health
strategies, and what can national, regional and
international actors do to promote these?
- Comparison of UNASUR and SADC
- Development of a ‘toolkit’ of input, process,
output and outcome indicators that capture
regional policy change and pro-poor regional health
policy success ESRC/DfID Poverty Alleviation Conference
9/9/14
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What is PAR?
“PAR is a reflective and collaborative process of problem-solving.
It generally applies within social learning contexts, where
multiple actors collectively define the problem and objectives,
and work towards solutions. Iterative cycles of action and
reflection make change processes more robust by ensuring that
learning and sharing take place, that actions are adjusted to align
with objectives, and that the actors themselves learn and adapt”
(New pathways to resilience IDRC/CRDI/DfID).
• PAR is an orientation, not a method. What distinguishes it
from conventional research is:
– the methodological contexts of the application of methods and
– the location of power in the stages of the research process
(Cornwall and Jewkes 1995)
ESRC/DfID Poverty Alleviation Conference
9/9/14
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Participatory and conventional research: a comparison of process
(Cornwall and Jewkes 1995)
What is the research
for?
Participatory
research
Action.
Who is the research for? Local people.
Whose knowledge
counts?
Local people’s.
Topic choice influenced
by?
Local priorities.
Conventional research
Understanding with
perhaps action later.
Institutional, personal and
professional interests.
Scientists.
Role of researcher
Funding priorities,
institutional agendas,
professional interests.
Facilitator, catalyst. Director.
Methodology chosen
for?
Empowerment,
mutual learning.
Disciplinary conventions,
‘objectivity’ and ‘truth’.
ESRC/DfID Poverty Alleviation Conference
9/9/14
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Who takes part in the stages of research process?
Problem identification
Local people.
Researcher.
Data collection
Local people.
Researcher.
Interpretation
Local concepts and
frameworks.
Local people.
Disciplinary concepts and
frameworks.
Researcher.
Locally accessible
and useful.
Integral to the
process.
By researcher to other
academics or funding body.
Separate and may not happen.
Who takes action?
Local people,
with(out) external
support.
External agencies.
Who owns the results?
Shared.
The researcher.
What is emphasised?
Process.
Outcomes.
Analysis
Presentation of findings
Action on findings
ESRC/DfID Poverty Alleviation Conference
9/9/14
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People are contracted into projects
directed by researchers to take part in
their enquiries or experiments
Consultative
People are asked for their opinions and
consulted by researchers before
interventions are made
Researchers and local people work
together on projects designed, initiated
and managed by researchers
Collaborative
Collegiate
Researchers and local people work
together as colleagues with different skills
to offer, in a process of mutual learning
where local people have control over the
process
ESRC/DfID Poverty Alleviation Conference
9/9/14
Ownership devolved----------------Researcher-controlled
Contractual
Deep ------------------------------> Shallow
Continuum of participation in research projects
(Cornwall and Jewkes 1995)
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What about impact?
1. How is PAR relevant for research uptake and
impact agendas?
2. What are the opportunities, tensions, and
dilemmas of PAR in impact contexts?
ESRC/DfID Poverty Alleviation Conference
9/9/14
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Why are we using collaborative
PAR for PRARI?
• Co-production enhances potential for impact
• Development of a useful tool that responds to
expressed need, priorities and available data
• Project team bring expertise and experience and
can; and can also learn from partners
• Ownership
• Capacity building
• Generating dialogue and partnerships
• (democratic) accountability
• Project timeframe
- funder priorities
ESRC/DfID Poverty Alleviation Conference
9/9/14
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How will we use collaborative
PAR?
• Collaborative work with identified partners in
South America and Southern Africa involving
• Intensive and iterative processes of identifying
needs, data, priorities through
• Interviews, focus groups, workshops; pilot
• Research team-managed communication
(face-to-face, ICTs), with and among partners
• Workshops, Briefings and conference for
uptake, dissemination and impact
ESRC/DfID Poverty Alleviation Conference
9/9/14
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Challenges
• Collaboration is time-intensive, requires trust
• Mobilising and sustaining partner participation, trust, and
commitment to the process and results of the research
• Differences of expectations, opinion, interpretation,
institutional agendas, desirable outcomes
• Power imbalances
• Toolkits need to be implementable and endure over time;
context-specificity vs generalisability
• Impact tends to be seen in the long-term (whereas short
project lifespan)
ESRC/DfID Poverty Alleviation Conference
9/9/14
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Conclusions
• PAR methods have tangible relevance for uptake and
impact agendas
• The research ‘problem’ of creating and sustaining a
participatory community supportive of research
objectives takes a distinctive turn in an impact
context
• Different modes of PAR bring different benefits and
challenges
• Importance of impact planning and flexibility
ESRC/DfID Poverty Alleviation Conference
9/9/14
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