Sunday, 3 June 2012

Research Changes Things: Community-Based Participatory Action

I got approached by a lovely student today who was keen to do a project looking at parenting in Kenya, wanting to see how TripleP might be adapted to be culturally sensitive...what an excellent project and one that immediately brought Community-Based Participatory Action to mind..research that actually joins with communities to do something about a local problem rather than simply counting heads or words and producing a paper..

Here is a really great manual on how to do it...produced Published by the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Australian Government

Here is a definition from it

PAR is emancipatory to the extent that it includes as active participants those who are most affected by the issues under investigation, especially the least powerful. In human services this is typically the clients and target groups of service delivery. Social programs should benefit those vulnerable individuals, groups and communities who experience the issue being targeted by the intervention. PAR conceptualises the participation of service users and other target groups of intervention as important for philosophical reasons (respect, voice, rights), to ensure the most responsive strategies are developed and to achieve the best possible outcomes. 4 On PAR   Using Participatory Action Research to Improve Early InterventionPAR, in a human service context, is practical.  There are typically a variety of factors which contribute to a particular social problem (such as youth homelessness).  Responding in a way that improves the situation of service users often requires support or change from a variety of agencies. Many of you will be familiar with the phrase ‘joined up problems require joined up solutions’. The involvement of a diversity of stakeholders, who may have a wide range of values, institutionallocations, and organisational interests, means that PAR in human services will need to have a practical as well as inclusive character.  PAR undertaken as part of government funded social programs could be argued as containing an element of technical Action Research. Those funding the program (usually governments) will have broad goals and legitimate interests in understanding how to improve policy and practice. Whilst the specific questions pursued by a PAR process are left to the funded services and their co-researchers, the institutional context does have an interest in what it takes to achieve the programs goals and objectives

Here's a great piece of work as an example

Sexual health through the eyes of Indigenous youth

Report prepared by Julie Mooney-Somers, Wani Erick, David Brockman, Robert Scott and
Lisa Maher on behalf of the Indigenous Resiliency Project.

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