These methods focus on the emancipation, collaboration and empowerment of the participants. This methodology is appropriate for collaborative research with groups, especially marginalised groups, where there is more flexibility in how the research is conducted and considers feedback from the participants.
Has three primary characteristics:
Action oriented, participants are actively involved in the research.
involvement by participants in the research, collaborative process between participant and researcher - empowerment of participants. The participants have more of a say in what is being researched and how they want the research to be conducted.
cycle is iterative so that it is flexible and responsive to a changing situation.
Produces knowledge from marginalised people's point of view and can lead to more personalised interventions.
Provides a voice for people to speak about their issues and the ability to improve their own lives. People take an active role in implementing any actions arising from the research.
Transforms social reality by linking theory and practice.
Open ended questions are mainly used, and these can be misinterpreted by researcher – data needs to be cross-checked with other sources.
Data ownership between researcher and research participants needs to be negotiated and clearly stated from the beginning of the project.
Ethical considerations with privacy and confidentiality.
This method is not considered scientific as it is more fluid in its gathering of information and is considered an unconventional research method – thus it may not attract much funding.
(Department of Social Services)