How does PAR work?

Facilitators of participatory action research (PAR) act as low-key ethnographers to conduct field work in local community spaces.  They may perform participatory site assessments or actively facilitate meaningful, homespun dialogue to arrive at 'Uniquely Local™ solutions built on consensus.

epi's Participatory Strategies Group (PSG) focuses on the first two of the following three types of PAR praxis – action and reflection:

  • The process of shared inquiry to inform planning, project management or program development;
  • The research and preparation of socio-cultural and ecological information sets on well-being (social and ecological) and in a range of forms to include maps, diagrams, and reports; and,
  • PAR can also be employed as a conflict resolution tool  downstream of a decision to level the playing field through research and fact finding; to that end, PAR may be employed as a political empowerment tool by underserved, underrepresented or significantly impacted communities.

For case studies of PAR in action, please look at our case library [link].  PAR involves an array of tools for practical community engagement. For specific PAR tools, see PAR Resources  [link]