Participatory Action Research for Positive Change


Training actress Jelka de Jong (left) and interview trainer Madelon Eelderink (right)

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 trainer Madelon Eelderink always work with certified 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.