Scope and continuum of participatory research.
As wider social and societal changes have led to moves towards equality as a response to a better understanding of inequalities, ethical considerations in research are now more consciously focussed on power dynamics. As a consequence, participatory research methods have gained traction. Simultaneously, artistic and creative methods are used within such projects to such an extent that arts-based, creative research has become equated with participatory research. In this article, I draw on three case studies to pursue three arguments: Firstly, I argue that the current understanding of community-based participatory action research is not the only potential for participatory methods, and indeed should not be. Depending on the design participatory research needs to be seen as a continuum from being minimally participatory to being fully egalitarian, whereby realistically most participatory research designs are situated somewhere in between the two with the level of participation changing throughout the process. Secondly, I argue that the employment of arts-based methods for data collection or dissemination does not automatically translate into a participatory research design. Thirdly, I argue that for ethical reasons researchers should not aim for fully egalitarian research to maintain participants’ interests and wellbeing.
Brown, N. (2021). Scope and continuum of participatory research. International Journal of Research and Method in Education. https://doi.org/10.1080/1743727X.2021.1902980