Participatory Action Research

What Is Participatory Action Research?

Engaging research subjects in the development of research projects is known as participatory action research (PAR). PAR is based on reflection, data collection, and action. PAR aims to improve health and reduce health inequities by involving the people receiving treatment. Through involvement in the PAR process, individuals are, in turn, empowered to take actions to improve their own health.

Defining features of PAR include the following:

  • PAR advocates for power to be deliberately shared between the researcher and the individuals who are the subjects of the research. This ensures that both parties become partners in the research process—including selecting the research topic, collecting and analyzing data, and deciding what action should be taken as a result of the research findings.
  • PAR concentrates on research that has the purpose of enabling action. Action is achieved through a reflective cycle, where participants collect and analyze data, then determine what action should follow. The resultant action is then further researched, and an iterative reflective cycle perpetuates the data collection, reflection, and action process.
  • PAR emphasizes the importance of keeping the data in, and sharing it with, the community in which it was collected.  
Last Updated: 06/15/2017