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Participatory Action Research

Ethics and Decolonization

Caroline Lenette

Publication Date - 17 May 2022

ISBN: 9780197644966

160 pages
6 1/8 x 9 1/4 inches

In Stock

Synthesizes key learnings in contemporary research, with a distinct focus on the challenging aspects of undertaking PAR in practice and strategies to address these.


Participatory Action Research (PAR) privileges the involvement of participants as co-researchers to generate new knowledge and act on findings to effect social change. In PAR projects, academic researchers collaborate closely with co-researchers, working from the idea that these individuals, especially those who are usually marginalized from institutions, can be engaged in meaningful research activities to achieve social justice outcomes in addition to answering research questions. When deployed ethically in collaboration with co-researchers, PAR's participatory element facilitates a 'bottom-up' approach where knowledge is co-created through grassroots or community-based activities.

This book goes beyond a PAR 'how to' manual on the methodology. Rather it synthesizes key learnings in contemporary research, with a distinct focus on the challenging aspects of undertaking PAR in practice and strategies to address these. It provides a clear and user-friendly collection of practical and contextual examples and presents key pointers on the implications of PAR methods, their strengths and weaknesses, and strategies for the field. These examples will be useful for critical class discussions, as well as to anticipate fieldwork pitfalls and pre-empt challenges through collaborative approaches.


  • Devotes significant content to the challenging aspects of Participatory Action Research
  • Addresses contemporary gender diversity considerations, such as how to challenge exclusionary forms of feminism
  • Includes vignettes from diverse researchers who are women, written especially for this book

About the Author(s)

Caroline Lenette is Associate Professor in the School of Social Sciences and Deputy Director of the Big Anxiety Research Centre at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Sydney. She is a leading interdisciplinary scholar on participatory, trauma-informed and community-engaged research, and knowledge co-production.


"Every now and then, a book comes along which is full of such sheer practical wisdom, determination and meticulous scholarship that it takes your breath away and has you shouting sentences aloud in affirmation." -- Professor Alison Phipps, UNESCO Chair for Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts, University of Glasgow

"An unflinching exploration of the joys and messy challenges of engaging in participatory action research that will compel novice and more seasoned researchers alike to critically assess both their practices and their promises." -- Associate Professor Susan Cox, University of British Columbia.

"This accessible book engages with often opaque elements of participatory research. Through highly accessible writing and reflective vignettes, it encourages us to reflect on how to decolonize and sensitize collective research practice. It should be on all research methods course lists!" -- Professor Sara Kindon, Te Herenga Waka, Victoria University of Wellington

Table of Contents



    Chapter 1: What is Participatory Action Research? Contemporary Methodological Considerations

    Chapter 2: Why decolonize? Participatory Action Research's Origins, Decolonial Research, and Intersectionality

    Chapter 3: What does participation entail? Challenges to Genuine Participation in Participatory Action Research

    Chapter 4: How do we engage in co-research? Co-Production and Mess

    Chapter 5: Participatory Action Research is Ethical, Right? Ethics in Practice and Institutional Ethics

    Chapter 6: What of Gender Equality? Feminist Participatory Action Research and Gender Diversity

    Chapter 7: How do we influence policy? Challenges to Knowledge Translation



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