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KEYSTONE / Module 11 / Slideshow 1 / A peek into Participatory Action Research


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KEYSTONE HPSR Initiative // Module 11: Participatory action research // Slideshow 1: A peek into Participatory Action Research
This is the only slideshow of Module 11: Participatory action research, of the KEYSTONE Teaching and Learning Resources for Health Policy and Systems Research

To access video sessions and slides for all modules copy and past the following link in your browser:

Module 11: Participatory action research
Participatory action research (PAR) seeks to understand and improve the world by changing it, but does so in a manner that those affected by problems collectively act and produce change as a means to new knowledge. It specifically, recognizes the wealth of assets that community members bring to the processes of knowing, creating knowledge and acting on that knowledge to bring about change. This module focuses on the core concepts and frameworks of the PAR approach, its suitability to address health system problems and issues of rigour and ethics associated with this approach.

There is 1 slideshow in this module.

Module 11: Participatory action research
-Module 11 Slideshow 1: A peek into Participatory Action Research

The other modules in this series are:
Module 1: Introducing Health Systems & Health Policy
Module 2: Social justice, equity & gender
Module 3: System complexity
Module 4: Health Policy and Systems Research frameworks
Module 5: Economic analysis
Module 6: Policy analysis
Module 7: Realist evaluation
Module 8: Systems thinking
Module 9: Ethnography
Module 10: Implementation research
Module 12: Knowledge translation
Module 13: Research Plan Writing

KEYSTONE is a collective initiative of several Indian health policy and systems research (HPSR) organizations to strengthen national capacity in HPSR towards addressing critical needs of health systems and policy development. KEYSTONE is convened by the Public Health Foundation of India in its role as Nodal Institute of the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research (AHPSR).

The inaugural KEYSTONE short course was conducted in New Delhi from 23 February – 5 March 2015. In the process of delivering the inaugural course, a suite of teaching and learning materials were developed under Creative Commons license, and are being made available as open access resources. The KEYSTONE teaching and learning resources include 38 videos and 32 slide presentations organized into 13 modules. These materials cover foundational concepts, common approaches used in HPSR, and guidance for preparing a research plan.

These resources were created and are made available through support and funding from the Alliance for Health Policy & Systems Research (AHPSR), WHO for the KEYSTONE initiative.

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KEYSTONE / Module 11 / Slideshow 1 / A peek into Participatory Action Research

  1. 1. Building the HPSR CommunityBuilding HPSR Capacity KEYSTONE Inaugural KEYSTONE Course on Health Policy and Systems Research 2015 A peek into Participatory Action Research (PAR)
  2. 2. A peek into PAR with rakhal gaitonde
  3. 3. A Worker's Speech To A Doctor Brecht When we come to you Our rags are torn off us And you listen all over our naked body. As to the cause of our illness One glance at our rags would Tell you more. It is the same cause that wears out Our bodies and our clothes. The pain in our shoulder comes You say, from the damp; and this is also the reason For the stain on the wall of our flat. So tell us: Where does the damp come from?
  4. 4. Objectives • An appreciation of the “participatory” perspective. • The imperative for the “action” turn in research. • The core philosophy of PAR. • The core methodology. • Issues of ethics and reliability.
  5. 5. A participatory approach to a dengue epidemic • Setting – post-tsunami rehabilitation work, building up a dynamic group of community health workers. • Discussion and the recognition of the simple prevention strategy. • Education strategy. • Feedback and the inevitability of stored water. • Drinking water or mosquito spray?
  6. 6. A story in Cuddalore • W9vjQ
  7. 7. PAR is…. • participatory; • cooperative, engaging community members and researchers in a joint process in which both con- tribute equally; • a co-learning process for researchers and community members; • a method for systems development and local community capacity building; • an empowering process through which participants can increase control over their lives by nurturing com- munity strengths and problem-solving abilities; and • a way to balance research and action.
  8. 8. The development of PAR • Two broad streams: • Action Research of Kurt Lewin. ‘‘pioneering approach toward social research which combined generation of theory with changing the social research system through the researcher acting on or in the social system’’. • Participatory development – of the Latin American struggle / Africa - Paulo Friere and others. “the dialogical method …….with its accent on co- learning and action based on critical reflection”
  9. 9. List of Core Principles • Emergent development form. The concept of co-creation. Multiple Epistemologies.
  10. 10. • Practical issues as the core for research. The goal of research usable knowledge. “not being a simple mirror held up to reality but a hammer with which to shape it” – Brecht
  11. 11. • Participation and democracy – the distribution of power.
  12. 12. • Knowledge in action – to understand a system one must act on it and try to change it. • .
  13. 13. • Human flourishing – “as the peoples’ memory is only liberating when it registers the substantial side of their pains and happiness, when it nourishes and celebrates a different tomorrow”. From the Latin America Alternative Health Report
  14. 14. The PAR cycle (O’Hara, P. (2006)
  15. 15. PAR • Participatory Action Research sees that action and reflection must go together. Praxis cannot be divided into a prior stage of reflection and a subsequent stage of action. When action and reflection take place at the same time they become creative and mutually illuminate each other. • Through praxis, critical consciousness develops, leading to further action through which people cease to see their situation as ‘dense, enveloping reality or a blind alley’ and instead as ‘an historical reality susceptible of transformation’. This transformative power is central to participatory action.
  16. 16. Issues of Bias • Fair subject selection requires that the goals of the research, not the vulnerability or privilege of the individuals and groups involved.
  17. 17. Issues of validity • Outcome validity – who benefits from the resolution of the problem. • Democratic validity – are all relevant stakeholders participating fully. • Process validity – the way problem is investigated and process allows for ongoing learning and improvements. • Catalytic validity – extent to which research collaborators are invigorated to understand and change social reality. • Dialogical validity – review from critical dialogue with peers about research findings and actions.
  18. 18. Validity depends on… • How relevant the community involved perceives the issues to be. • How far the processes engage experiential knowledge without losing information. • Whether the research takes into account the cultural context. • Whether the collective process of analysis is well-facilitated and rigorous.
  19. 19. Generalizability
  20. 20. Ethics in participatory research • Community level risks as distinct from individual level risks. – Bias in who represents communities. – Tension over whose interests are driving the process. – Managing privacy and protecting information (DWT). – Tension over how evidence and analysis is documented and reported. Especially unfavorable and negative information. – Social Risks.
  21. 21. The Nobodies - Galeano • Fleas dream of buying themselves a dog, and nobodies dream of escaping poverty: that one magical day good luck will suddenly rain down on them- will rain down in buckets. But good luck doesn't even fall in a fine drizzle, no matter how hard the nobodies summon it, even if their left hand is tickling, or if they begin the new day with their right foot, or start the new year with a change of brooms. The nobodies: nobody's children, owners of nothing. The nobodies: the no ones, the nobodied, running like rabbits, dying through life, screwed every which way. Who don't speak languages, but dialects. Who don't have religions, but superstitions. Who don't create art, but handicrafts. Who don't have culture, but folklore. Who are not human beings, but human resources. Who do not have names, but numbers. Who do not appear in the history of the world, but in the police blotter of the local paper. The nobodies, who are not worth the bullet that kills them
  22. 22. The divorce of research and analysis from pragmatic efforts to remediate inequalities of access is a tactical and moral error – it may be an error that constitutes, in and of itself, a human rights abuse. Paul Farmer
  23. 23. I referred to the following for my presentation • speech-to-a-doctor/ • eduardo-galeano/ • Reason, P. and Bradbury, H. eds., 2001. Handbook of action research: Participative inquiry and practice. Sage. • Lewenson R, Laurell AC, Hogstedt C, D’Ambruoso L, Shroff Z (2014) Participatory action research in Health systems: a methods reader, TARSC, AHPSR, WHO, IDRC Canada, EQUINET, Harare.
  24. 24. Open Access Policy KEYSTONE commits itself to the principle of open access to knowledge. In keeping with this, we strongly support open access and use of materials that we created for the course. While some of the material is in fact original, we have drawn from the large body of knowledge already available under open licenses that promote sharing and dissemination. In keeping with this spirit, we hereby provide all our materials (wherever they are already not copyrighted elsewhere as indicated) under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license visit This work is ‘Open Access,’ published under a creative commons license which means that you are free to copy, distribute, display, and use the materials as long as you clearly attribute the work to the KEYSTONE course (suggested attribution: Copyright KEYSTONE Health Policy & Systems Research Initiative, Public Health Foundation of India and KEYSTONE Partners, 2015), that you do not use this work for any commercial gain in any form and that you in no way alter, transform or build on the work outside of its use in normal academic scholarship without express permission of the author and the publisher of this volume. Furthermore, for any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work. This means that you can: read and store this document free of charge distribute it for personal use free of charge print sections of the work for personal use read or use parts or whole of the work in a context where no financial transactions take place gain financially from the work in anyway sell the work or seek monies in relation to the distribution of the work use the work in any commercial activity of any kind distribute in or through a commercial body (with the exception of academic usage within educational institutions such as schools and universities However, you cannot: