Participatory Action Research

During the implementation of the Community-Based Sociotherapy Program, Participatory Action Research (PAR) will form an integral part of the intervention. A team of four PA researchers will be responsible for the constant monitoring and evaluation of the program. At the same time these researchers assist the implementing field teams during the implementation of the program.

 

PAR has as its two main goals the achievement of both action and research. This entails that through the use of PAR, the impact of the CBSP can be evaluated, and at the same time the quality of the intervention will be ensured, as the PA researcher can immediately act when difficulties emerge and give suggestions to the field coordinator on the way the intervention can be improved. Therefore Participatory Action Research is a very effective method as it constantly monitors the intervention and simultaneously the researcher has an active advisory role in the implementation. The researcher can immediately suggest alternative strategies based on his research observations and take the specific context in which the intervention is applied into account.

 

Participatory Action Research has a number of characteristics:

 

  • Participative: all stakeholders are involved in the research, from advisory committee to the sociotherapists at the grass roots level.
  • Qualitative: the main focus lies on descriptions and on understanding social complexities.
  • Reflective: critical reflection on the intervention process and its outcomes are important features.
  • Responsive: the researcher is able to respond to the emerging difficulties during the implementation and immediately take action
  • Emergent and cyclical: the process takes places gradually over a number of cycles so that interpretations of data can be tested, challenged and refined.