Approaches: Some Key Concepts
Participatory research has three key elements: people, power and praxis (Finn, 1994). It is people-centered (Brown, 1985) in the sense that the process of critical inquiry is informed by and responds to the experiences and needs of people involved. Participatory research is about power. Power is crucial to the construction of reality, language, meanings and rituals of truth; power functions in all knowledge and in every definition. Power is knowledge and knowledge creates truth and therefore power (Foucault, 1980). Participatory research is also about praxis. It recognizes the inseparability of theory and practice and critical awareness of the personal-political dialectic.
Participatory research makes a participatory approach to learning as a central part of a research process. Research is not done just to generate facts, but to develop understanding of oneself and one’s context. It is about understanding how to learn, which allows people to become self-sufficient learners and evaluate knowledge that others generate. Good participatory research helps develop relationships of solidarity by bringing people
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Publication information: Book title: Participatory Research and Development for Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resource Management: A Sourcebook. Volume: 1. Contributors: Julian Gonsalves - Editor, Thomas Becker - Editor, Ann Braun - Editor, Dindo Campilan - Editor, Hidelisa De Chavez - Editor, Elizabeth Fajber - Editor, Monica Kapiriri - Editor, Joy Rivaca-Caminade - Editor, Ronnie Vernooy - Editor. Publisher: International Development Research Centre. Place of publication: Ottawa. Publication year: 2005. Page number: 75.
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