2nd Edition

Participatory Action Research Theory and Methods for Engaged Inquiry

By Jacques M. Chevalier Copyright 2019
    434 Pages 92 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    434 Pages 92 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Fully revised and updated, this second edition of Participatory Action Research (PAR) provides new theoretical insights and many robust tools that will guide researchers, professionals and students from all disciplines through the process of conducting action research ‘with’ people rather than ‘for’ them or ‘about’ them.

    PAR is collective reasoning and evidence-based learning focussed on social action. It has immediate relevance in fields ranging from community development to education, health, public engagement, environmental issues and problem solving in the workplace. This new edition has been extensively revised to create a user-friendly textbook on PAR theory and practice, including:

    • updated references and a comprehensive overview of different approaches to PAR (pragmatic, psychosocial, critical);
    • more emphasis on the art of process design, especially in complex social settings characterized by uncertainty and the unknown;
    • developments in the use of Web2 collaborative tools and digital strategies to support real-time data gathering and processing;
    • updated examples and stories from around the world, in a wide range of fields;
    • critical commentaries on major issues in the social sciences, including stakeholder theory, systems thinking, causal analysis, monitoring and evaluation, research ethics, risk assessment and social innovation.

    This modular textbook provides novel perspectives and ideas in a longstanding tradition that strives to reconnect science and the inquiry process with life in society. It provides coherent and critical treatment of core issues in the ongoing evolution of PAR, making it suitable for a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses. It is intended for use by researchers, students and working professionals seeking to improve or rethink their approach to co-creating knowledge and supporting action for the well-being of all.


    Module 1: Advancing Theory

    1. Ins and outs of Participatory Action Research

    2. Pragmatic, psychosocial and critical PAR

    Module 2: Design and Facilitation

    3. Planning systems that learn

    4. Participatory Action Monitoring and Evaluation

    5. Measuring with measure

    6. Skills, process design and ethics

    Module 3: Exploring Problems

    7. Getting to the roots

    8. Participatory mapping and Citizen Science

    9. Factors at play

    10. Paradox

    Module 4: Knowing the Actors

    11. Stakeholder basics

    12. Critical stakeholder thinking

    13. Social Analysis CLIP

    14. Positions and values

    Module 5: Assessing Options

    15. Thinking outside the box

    16. Reconciling differences

    17. Anticipating the future

    Module 6: System Thinking

    18. System Dynamics

    19. Domain Analysis

    20. Breaking the dependency on tobacco production



    Jacques M. Chevalier is Chancellor's Professor Emeritus in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, and an independent consultant.

    Daniel J. Buckles, formerly with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), is Adjunct Research Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, and an independent consultant.

    "This groundbreaking book is a rich resource of concepts and tools for all who are engaged with the practice and theory of Participatory Action Research. Drawing on their lifetimes of experience and innovation, the authors take an open and inclusive approach to strengthening the foundations and diversifying the methods of engaged research. The extraordinary scope of this book and the new perspectives it offers, together with an accessible style, will inform, provoke and inspire field practitioners and academics alike to creatively design research for the many challenges of the 21st century." - Robert Chambers, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, UK 

    "Chevalier and Buckles have improved on an already exceptionally helpful book I used in my teaching at Cornell University, with great success. They now combine thoughtful explorations of mid-range theories on problem-solving, stakeholder analysis, risk assessment and other foundational concepts with a wide variety of practical methods and tips for designing meaningful research. Their overview of PAR theory and guidelines on how to bridge distinct traditions now offer a well-rounded and complete teaching text." - Davydd J. Greenwood, Goldwin Smith Professor of Anthropology Emeritus, Cornell University, USA

    "This is a wonderful book. Its overview of participatory action research, including the insights of French psychosociology, is unparalleled. It bridges traditions that have operated in silos for far too long. Chevalier and Buckles also provide a wide range of ‘skilful means’ to effectively meet and reconcile the requirements of democratic participation, transformative action in concrete settings and the advancement of general knowledge." - Christian Michelot, École Centrale-Supélec, France

    Praise for the first edition

    "This book is a must for anyone seriously committed to research that ensures the authentic participation and empowerment of people from all walks of life, be they from oral or textual traditions, women or men, old or young, articulate or hesitant, outspoken or reserved." - Farida Akhter, UBINIG (Policy Research for Development Alternative), Bangladesh

    ". . . a wonderful compendium, replete with practical tools and techniques that bring rigour and vigour to the international dialogue among action researchers . . . This is a serious volume worth the time of any action researcher who is curious about how western (including francophone) perspectives on PAR come alive. This volume makes a significant contribution to the collective craft of scholarly practice among action researchers." - Hilary Bradbury-Huang, Oregon Health & Science University, USA