Participatory Action Research for Positive Change

Categories , , , , ,


Details Elderly's Joyful Life Project

Loneliness among elderly in Utrecht is a big and growing problem. For years, there has been attention for this problem within the city of Utrecht. However, until now this has not lead to the desired results. Therefore, 7Senses and the municipality of Utrecht have started a Participatory Action Research into this theme, looking into the most important aspects for elderly to have a joyful life and co-creating with them and other stakeholders suitable plans to tackle and prevent loneliness.

This project runs for a longer period of time, intermittantly. We have done interviews and first focus groups to understand the issue and identify potential solutions. Currently, we are awaiting funding in order to be able to continue our project so that elderly, their carers and other stakeholders can co-create and implement the best suitable solutions.

Project name Elderly’s joyful Life
Start date October 2017
Duration Intermittant
Status Finished
Country The Netherlands
Coordinator Madelon Eelderink
Number of action researchers 2

Each Participatory Action Research starts from a community issue, addressed by its problem owners at location. As such, we make sure the action research is based on local demand rather than donor demand. Together with these local stakeholders, we design the action research in a way that fits the local context, from the problem framing up to methodology and concept definitions.

Problem Definition
Main Research Question
Sub Questions

Each PAR-project delivers direct outcomes for the local community on the addressed issue: we can share how many people have been reached, what their perspective is on the current and desired situation and what final Community Action Plan (CAP) they have co-created and implemented. In a later stage, local stakeholders will evaluate the impact of the CAP.

Current situation (baseline) according to local stakeholders
Desired situation according to local stakeholders
Co-created solution

During the action research process, elderly are observed to be more active. They obtained more social contacts and exchanged ideas and advice. Elderly claimed to really enjoy their participation in focus groups and enjoyed seeing each other again. Focus groups in that sense could already on its own contribute to tackling loneliness among elderly as a starting point towards positive change.



Madelon Eelderink

Please specify image url


Friederike Ertmer

Action Researcher
Please specify image url


Rhani Berest

Action Researcher
Please specify image url


Sustainable Development Goals

Sustainable Development Goal 3



Ertmer, F., Berest, R. & Eelderink, M. (2018). Rapport Actieonderzoek bij ouderen in Vleuten. Download here (in Dutch).