1st Edition

Peer Research in Health and Social Development International Perspectives on Participatory Research

Edited By Stephen Bell, Peter Aggleton, Ally Gibson Copyright 2021
    286 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    286 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Peer research is increasingly used in international academic, policy and practice environments. It engages members of a group or social network as trusted members of a research team working in communities and settings they are familiar with.

    Critics, however, point to methodological concerns with peer research. These include the extent to which peer researchers genuinely represent the populations under study; data confidentiality; the emotional burden of enquiring into sensitive issues peers may experience in their own lives; and the reliability and credibility of data collected by people who do not have academic training. The book seeks to counter the marginalisation of research experience and skills derived from close relationships with people and communities, while reflecting critically on the strengths and limitations of peer research. Chapters by a wide range of international contributors illustrate the potential of peer research to facilitate an in-depth understanding of health and social development issues and enhance policy and practice.

    This interdisciplinary book provides students and professionals working in health, social science and development studies with a thorough grounding in this new style of research. It will appeal to those interested in research and evaluation; sexual health and public health; mental health, disability and social care; gender and sexuality; conservation and environmental management; migration and citizenship studies; humanitarian issues; and international development.

    Part I- Critical Perspectives on Peer Research

    Chapter 1- Peer research in health and social development: understandings, strengths and limitations

    Stephen Bell, Peter Aggleton and Ally Gibson

    Chapter 2- From the researched to the researcher: decolonising research praxis in Papua New Guinea

    Angela Kelly-Hanku, Agnes Mek, Nalisa Neuendorf, Sophie Ase, Richard Nake Trumb on behalf of the Social and Behavioural Research Team, Sexual and Reproductive Health Unit, PNG Institute of Medical Research

    Chapter 3- Principled tensions when working with peer researchers: community-based participatory research with five Pacific Islander communities in Southern California

    Brian Hui, Anthony S. DiStefano, and 'Alisi Tulua

    Chapter 4- The limits of peer research? Reflecting on analytic challenges during health and social development programme research in Rwanda, Nepal, Ecuador and Uganda

    Ruth Edmonds

    Part II- Working with hard to reach participants

    Chapter 5- People with dementia as peer researchers: understanding possibilities and challenges

    Linda Birt and Fiona Poland

    Chapter 6- Gender diverse equality and wellbeing in Manipur, North East India: reflections on peer-led research

    Paul Boyce, Pawan Dhall, Santa Khurai, Oinam Yambung, Bonita Pebam and Randhoni Lairikyengbami

    Chapter 7- Co-constructing knowledge about the wellbeing outcomes of unaccompanied migrant children becoming ‘adult’

    Semhar Haile, Habib Rezaie, Winta Tewoderos, Gul Zada, Elaine Chase, Francesca Meloni and Jennifer Allsopp

    Chapter 8- Participation and power: engaging peer researchers in preventing gender-based violence in the Peruvian Amazon

    Geordan Shannon and Jenevieve Mannell

    Part III- Understanding diverse issues

    Chapter 9- Participatory visual research exploring gender and water in Cameroon: a workshop model

    Jennifer A. Thompson

    Chapter 10 - ‘I am the bridge’: peer research with women with disabilities in the Philippines and Australia

    Liz Gill-Atkinson, Georgia Katsikis, Rowena B Rivera and Cathy Vaughan

    Chapter 11- Reflecting on the role of peer researchers in collaborative Indigenous food security research in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Canada

    Tiff-Annie Kenny, Sonia D. Wesche and Jullian MacLean

    Part IV- Ethical considerations

    Chapter 12- Socio-ethical considerations in peer research with newly arrived migrant and refugee young people in Denmark: reflections from a peer researcher

    Nina Langer Primdahl, Alaa Nached and Morten Skovdal

    Chapter 13- The ethical dilemmas of working safely with community researchers: lessons from community-based research with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities

    Ashley Lacombe-Duncan and Carmen H. Logie

    Chapter 14- Blurred lines: treading the path between ‘research’ and ‘social intervention’ with peer researchers and participants in a study about youth health in South Africa

    Rebecca Hodes

    Part V- Influencing policy and practice

    Chapter 15- Farmer-led change: addressing environmental and health problems caused by widespread pesticide use in Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Honduras

    Laura Sims

    Chapter 16- Using empowering methods to research empowerment? Peer research by girls and young women in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo

    Lyndsay McLean, Triphène Mpongo, Suzanne-Melissa Sumaili, Naomie Tshiyamba Kabangele

    Chapter 17- Lessons learned from Australian case studies of sex workers engaged in academic research about sex worker health, wellbeing and structural impediments

    Roanna Lobo, Kahlia McCausland, Julie Bates, Linda Selvey, Jesse Jones, Elena Jeffreys, Judith Dean and Lisa Fitzgerald

    Chapter 18- The lasting impact of peer research with Indigenous communities of Guyana, South America

    Jayalaxshmi Mistry, Andrea Berardi, Elisa Bignante, Deirdre Jafferally, Claudia Nuzzo, Grace Albert, Rebecca Xavier, Bernie Robertson, Lakeram Haynes and Ryan Benjamin



    Stephen Bell is an associate professor in the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health and the School of Public Health at the University of Queensland, Australia. He is a social scientist who has conducted community-based research – in partnership with young people and other marginalised populations – in Africa, Asia, Pacific-Asia and Australia. The focus of his work is on sexual, reproductive and maternal health, HIV and other public health issues. His previous co-edited book (with Peter Aggleton), Monitoring and Evaluation in Health and Social Development: Interpretive and Ethnographic Approaches, was published by Routledge in 2016.

    Peter Aggleton holds senior professorial positions in the Centre for Social Research in Health at UNSW Sydney, the School of Sociology at The Australian National University in Canberra, the Australian Research Centre for Sex, Health and Society at La Trobe University in Melbourne, and the Centre for Gender and Global Health at UCL in London. In addition to his academic work, Peter has served as a senior adviser to UNAIDS, UNESCO, UNFPA and WHO. He has worked extensively across Africa, Asia and Latin America.

    Ally Gibson is a lecturer in the School of Health at Victoria University of Wellington – Te Herenga Waka, New Zealand. She is particularly interested in experiences and responses to cancer; sexual and reproductive health; gender, sexuality and identity; and inequity, marginalisation and vulnerability in health. A key priority in her research is to partner with community organisations to promote enquiry driven by the needs and priorities of individuals and community members.