Participatory Action Research for Positive Change

Educational institutions

Participatory Action Research in education

We are happy to see that educational institutions are more and more open to alternative approaches to ‘traditional’ qualitative and quantitative research such as Participatory Action Research. Where traditional approaches’ end product is often a research report, the end ‘product’ in Participatory Action Research is societal change. A research report is then more of a ‘side product’. Universities increasingly embrace Participatory Action Research in education as an academic approach to achieve more with research results at location. 7Senses offers opportunities to integrate Participatory Action Research in education by developing curricula for Participatory Action Research and by offering international internships for students.

 

7Senses Challenge partnership

Yearly, 7Senses offers several international internships for students in the form of a 7Senses Challenge. This Participatory Action Research programme is ideal for students who aim to finalize their studies with PAR in an international, multi-disciplinary team in a different country. Challenge Teams consist of maximum four participants from the Netherlands and two participants from the local community. 7Senses is at location to coordinate the Challenge and to offer intensive guidance in the field of PAR and personal- & professional development to the participants.

 

Public talks & lectures

7Senses gives inspirational public talks and lectures about Participatory Action Research, using many examples from their PAR-projects the field. Talks & lectures are mostly interactive and are often combined with workshops and interviewtraining.

 

PAR-trainings & workshops

In order for students to become acquainted with Participatory Action Research, we offer trainings and workshops in Participatory Action Research. Depending on the available time, we offer tailor-made sessions ranging from training basic PAR skills to deepening methodology trainings and customised PAR-design workshops.

 

Interview training

PAR-projects always consist of semi- or unstructured interviews. Through this ‘loose’ interview structure and improvisation of the interviewer during the interview, respondents get full opportunity to talk about what they feel is important to them. This is how we can unravel, together with the respondent, cause-effect relations and respondents’ deeper underlying values. These are crucial in Participatory Action Research, but also other types of qualitative research. 7Senses has over a decade of experience in this type of interviewing. Our trainers always work with training actors to facilitate role playing, thereby practicing cases which come as close to reality as possible. Training actors can sense verbal and non-verbal communication better than any other and can provide valuable feedback on this. Educational institutions often send us their list of research subjects, so we can prepare cases students may encounter in the field.

What Roy Kemmers, lecturer at EUC, says about our interview training:

Participatory Action Research in education7Senses (Madelon and Jelka) have provided Interview Training sessions for the course I teach on Qualitative Research at Erasmus University College for 3 years now. And each year they prepare our students very well for doing their own interview-based research, and in every session they stun our students with their acting talents designed (but still improvised!) to create / enhance students’ skills. Rather than a one-way instruction, the learning experience they provide is designed as a co-creation, building on the knowledge and insights of the specific people in the room. The students learn hands-on that good interviewing requires preparation, listening, and adjusting to the situation in order to make the interviewee comfortable, and to end up with rich, relevant data. Madelon and Jelka adjust seamlessly to any topic our students come up with, and improvise with both laughs and (acting!) tears to make students think twice before engaging, turning them into responsible, and enthusiastic interviewers.”

Roy Kemmers, lecturer in Sociology at Erasmus University College, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

 

PAR as a course

Among educational institutions, we also see there is more and more interest in offering Participatory Action Research in education, as a course integrated in the current curriculum. 7Senses offers the opportunity to either develop a full course among ourselves or to guide educational professionals in developing a PAR course. We can integrate the PAR-course in traditional curricula as well as blended learning and flipped classroom constructions. In addition, we either train professionals in educating students in PAR or we give the PAR-course ourselves.

 

Video lectures

7Senses offers a range of video lectures on Participatory Action Research methodology, filmed (mostly) in Uganda in 2014. Libraries take a license for 1, 2 or 5 years on the full range or a selection of the videos. The video lectures can be integrated in PAR-courses as described above. See an example of one of our video lectures below.

Semi-structured interviewing for Participatory Action Research