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Principles of Participatory Research

Wilkinson, Catherine and Wilkinson, Samantha (2018) Principles of Participatory Research. In: Being Participatory: Researching with Children and Young People: Co-Constructing Knowledge Using Creative Techniques. Springer. ISBN 978-3-319-71227-7

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Abstract

This chapter details the participatory approach to research, with an emphasis on active participation. The authors recognise the charm of participatory research as a process of mutual learning, whereby researchers become co-learners in children and young people’s everyday lifeworlds, and children and young people become knowledgeable about social research methods, thereby developing their capacity and competence. Despite the benefits of participatory research, including claims that it is a more fair and equitable approach to research, the authors remain critical of the unresolved challenge of creating research equity. In particular, the authors are mindful of power structures in participatory research between adult researchers and children/young people participants, which are difficult to negotiate. This leads the authors to argue that participatory research should not be considered a cure-all for adult-dominated research processes. The concerns documented throughout this chapter do not devalue the important role a participatory approach can play in knowledge exchange and action. Rather, they emphasise that implementation should not be without careful implementation.

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