Dr. David M. Smith of Anglia Ruskin University, United Kingdom will deliver a lecture entitled, “Participatory Action Research – Strengths and Limitations: A case study with Roma Gypsy migrants“, on 1 March 2024 (Friday), 10:00am-11:30am at Palma Hall 207, College of Social Sciences and Philosophy, UP Diliman.

The abstract of his paper reads:

Participatory research is an approach that stresses direct engagement with those directly affected by the issue under investigation, it prioritises local issues and attempts to capture the perspectives of various stakeholders.[1] This approach is argued to break down the traditional divisions and knowledge hierarchies between researchers and researched and its most basic premise is that research should be in respectful partnership with people not about working on, for, or about people.[2] This presentation will start by addressing some of the concerns around the ‘politics of representation’ in social research underpinning critiques of ‘traditional’ research approaches made by proponents of participatory research. Following this, the presentation will outline the general principles of participatory research and one of its variants Participatory Action Research (PAR). It will then report on a study funded by the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) Local Engagement for Roma Inclusion in 22 localities across 11 EU nations. Against a growing critique by Roma activists of Gadje (non-Roma) dominated research and policy development and the exclusion of Roma from policy discussions this was the first attempt to pilot PAR with Roma communities to inform the design of future EU Roma programmes.

The paper will report on the positives of using a PAR approach at the grassroots level in terms of identification of key issues and the quality of data, as well as the challenges encountered when implementing participatory methods given the local contextual and wider structural factors framing the project. The presentation will conclude by arguing that the advent of participatory methods complements the current preoccupation in western social sciences with identity politics and ‘lived experience’ thus limiting its application by excluding certain populations from the field of enquiry, before considering the more general limitations and potential of such approaches. 

[1] Vaughn, L.M. and Jaquez, F. (2023) Participatory Research Methods – Choice Points in the Research Process, JPRM. Available at: https://jprm.scholasticahq.com/article/13244-participatory-research-methods-choice-points-in-the-research-process

[2] Andersson, N. (2018) Participatory research – A modernizing science for primary health care. Journal of General & Family Medicine. 19 (5), pp. 154-159.

This event is open to the public. Interested participants, especially graduate students, may also join via Zoom by registering here: http://tinyurl.com/dps-smithlecture2024

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