Participatory Action Research (PAR) is a type of research that involves all parties who are considered relevant in the issue in examining together current action- considered as the source of the problem, for the promotion of change and improvement of such current situation. It is not the type of research that precedes future actions. It is an action which is researched, changed and re-researched, a continuing process by and for its participants. It may not be used by one group of people for their own benefit versus other groups that are also involved in the issue.
It is genuinely democratic by nature and is non-coercive. The people who the research aims to help are also active participants to the research process (Wadsworth, 1998). Action research or participatory action research for the past few years has come out to be a significant methodology for intervention and developmental change programs within different communities and groups. It has been implemented and promoted by many agencies and programs, also by countless local community organizations around the globe which attests to its effectiveness (Checkland & Howell, 1998).
The many theories and research in social psychology, such as action research, among others, that put all theories into practice has certainly effected positive change. They have helped in ascertaining reasons behind the surfacing of various problems- whether it be on the individual or societal level. Knowing the source or sources of the problems and the factors that come into play has helped in coming up with feasible solutions to such through intervention methods or coming up with community programs.
There have been changes in the type of methods employed in social psychology research as the years go by. From seeing participants in research as the “other”, a “subject” which is reminiscent of scientific research methods, as gleaned above in the definition of Active Participatory Research, there comes a shift in the treatment of participants in the study as not merely passive subjects/objects but as co-researchers themselves.
This has been seen to yield a richer understanding of the issues at hand and provides for easier enactment of proposed intervention programs. As such, it is my belief that future research in social psychology would veer towards this direction due to its effectiveness in pinpointing specific problem areas and formulating innovative solutions to such. This social psychology course has made an impact in my life in many ways. Studying theories and methods on human behavior has helped me become more aware of my own behavior and how it affects others.
Knowing the detriment that my behavior may cause gives me the ability to slowly change my approach in interacting with others so as I will be able to have a more harmonious relationship with everyone around me. That said, this course in Social Psychology has not only helped me understand the world around me, but myself as well, that may yield positive changes not only in my life, but that of others’ around me as well. REFERENCE LIST Wadsworth, Y. (1998). What is Participatory Action Research?
Australia: Institute of Workplace Research, Learning and Development, Southern Cross University Press. Checkland, P. , & Holwell, S. (1998). Action Research: Its Nature and Validity. Systemic Practice and Action Research, Volume 11, (Issue 1, Feb), p 9-21. Jenner, E. A. , Watson, P. W. B. , Miller, L. , Jones, F. , & Scott, G. M. (2002). Explaining hand hygiene practice: an extended application of the Theory of Planned Behavior. Psychology, Health & Medicine, 7(3), 311-326.