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Participatory Action Research: theories, methods and challenges

June 6 @ 10:30 am - June 7 @ 4:00 pm

A two-day course for doctoral students and members of community organisations
Thursday 6th and Friday 7th June, 2024
Teaching and Learning Centre, Durham University, Durham, UK

Following nine very successful courses in previous years, we are pleased to offer an in-person two-day course designed to develop understanding and skills in the theory and practice of participatory action research (PAR). PAR is increasingly popular, involving people affected by/interested in a research topic taking an active part in designing, carrying out and putting research into practice. The aim of PAR is to bring about change – for example, in people’s living conditions, service provision or public policy. Doctoral students taking a PAR approach face many challenges, including negotiating how to work with partner organisations, handling co-ownership of research findings in relation to the thesis, and responsibilities for working for social change.
The course will cover key values, ethical/political issues, theorising and critiquing PAR, working with partner organisations to influence change, and participatory approaches to research design, process, analysis, dissemination and implementation. The course will be participatory, using small groups to focus on specific questions and evaluate learning. Community partners and academics will act as tutors. Ten places will be reserved for members of community organisations, enabling a process of mutual learning for doctoral students and community partners.

The objectives of the course are to:
1. Enable participants to develop critical understandings of the uses, advantages and limitations of PAR, and an ability to draw on a range of theoretical and practical insights.
2. Develop participants’ awareness of ethical and political challenges in PAR, particularly in community-university partnership working, and strategies for handling these.
3. Facilitate the development of participants’ confidence in working with the complexities of PAR within different disciplines and settings.
4. Offer participants the experience of learning and understanding through active participation during the course, particularly through the co-inquiry group model.
5. Develop participants’ understanding of the impacts that PAR may have, and processes for creating and capturing these.

Facilitators: The course will be facilitated by a team of academic and community-based practitioners of PAR, with a variety of areas of expertise and experience, including: Professor Sarah Banks, Centre for Social Justice and Community Action, Durham University; Professor Mary Brydon Miller, University of Louisville, USA; Professor Tina Cook, Liverpool Hope University; Yvonne Hall, community researcher; and Professor Kristin Kalsem, University of Cincinnati, USA.
Who should come: The course will be of interest to doctoral students and members of community organisations who do, or are interested in doing, research that is participatory. In selecting participants from community organisations, priority will be given to those based in North East England or Northern Ireland. PLEASE NOTE: This course is only available to doctoral students and members of community organisations.

Timing: the course will start at 10.30 on Day 1 and finish at 16.00 on Day 2.
How to apply: Places are limited to 50, so early booking is advisable. Demand is usually high, so selection is based on the case you make in the application for why you will benefit from the course.
If you are a member of a community organisation please complete the online application form for community organisations.
If you are a doctoral student, please complete the online application form for doctoral students.
The closing date is 31 March 2024. Early booking is advisable as the course is likely to fill up quickly.

• The course is free for PhD students from NINE DTP Universities: Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria, Queens Belfast, Sunderland, Teesside and Ulster, and for members of community organisations.
• £60 to attend for postgraduate research students from other Universities. This fee includes meals during the two days, but doesn’t include overnight accommodation.
Accommodation: Upon confirmation of your place, we will provide information on nearby hotels and bed-and-breakfast options. Please make your own reservations and handle payment directly. Please be advised that campus accommodations won’t be available during the workshop, which coincides with the academic term.

Further information: Please email [email protected] regarding bookings. Any enquiries regarding the course content can be directed to Sarah Banks at [email protected]

A copy of the course information can be found here


June 6 @ 10:30 am
June 7 @ 4:00 pm


Learning and Teaching Centre, Durham University
NINE DTP - a collaborative partnership funded by the ESRC