‘Participatory Action Research’ – what does it mean?
Also known as PAR, Participatory Action Research is based on community-based research that encourages the community to participate and engage, as a “co-researcher”. The research is made up of the participants’ society, knowledge and life experiences. The PAR sessions aim to understand the individual’s world, through collaborative activities and reflection. It aims to connect academic interests, with education and community development, highlighting and addressing questions that are significant for those who participate.
What are the benefits?
Techniquest have led sessions using this research model for almost 2 years, having had specialist training on PAR in May 2017. Since the launch of the sessions in 2017, Techniquest have engaged over 690 individuals and 14 organisations from the local community. These engagements and research findings have supported Techniquest to:
- Form Content for Shows
- Understand our Communities interest in STEM related topics, such as Environment Science
- Understand our audience demographic
- Shape our Community & Partners Projects
- Adapt our Marketing Material
- And much more!
The sessions have not only supported Techniquest’s content creation and services to be community led but it has also encouraged our local community to visit and build long-term relationships with STEM, some of who had not previously engaged with Techniquest or with STEM.
How are the sessions run?
The sessions can be run with any group or individual and in any setting. The activities are carefully planned for each audience prior to the session and delivered using various techniques. Most sessions are made up of at least two tasks that ask the participant(s) an open-ended question. This allows the participant to build their research and answer purely from their experiences. The second task usually generates a new question, that has been led by the answer of the previous task. There are hundreds of activity methods but some that we use to encourage action participation are:
- Discussion Carousels
- Informing the Alien
- Prioritising Grid
Stages of PAR
Who have we worked with?
We’ve worked with a wide range of people and organisations such as Tenant Participation Cardiff’s 65+ group, BAWSO building’s “Friends” group, South Riverside Community Development Centre, YMCA Cardiff, Grangetown Library, Cardiff University Student Union, among many others.
How can I participate?
Whether you’re an organisation or individual, you can be involved in our Participatory Action Research. All sessions have different themes and needs, therefore we can discuss with you the best activities and content for your learner group. If you’re interested in finding out more, contact our Engagement & Partnerships Team at [email protected]