Participatory action research methods, tools and ethics

On this page you will find links to materials, videos and other resources on the methods used in PAR. Links are provided to examples of the tools used, and to discussions and guidelines on ethical issues in PAR. The resources are in various languages. The most recently published resources are shown first. Please send us your resources to include on this page.

‘Barefoot Research: A Workers' Manual for Organising On Work Security

Keith M; Brophy J; Kirby P; Rosskam E,2002

The manual is a practical tool, designed to be of assistance to workers and union officials, showing how they can probe to discover whether they have work security, and if not how they can go about obtaining it. Information is rarely neutral, and it is rarely appropriate to rely on others to collect, analyse and disseminate information on which practices and policies should be based. If workers want basic security, they must be involved in collecting the information, analysing it and using it in ways they determine, and the manual provides methods for this.

How to make a pocket chart and more examples of how to use it


This text explains how to use a pocket chart, a participatory investigative tool used to collect and tabulate data from the community level, such as where people collect water within networks of information exchange. Poster-size charts contain "pockets" of cloth or paper inserted in each cell in a matrix, with simple drawings identifying the subject of each row or column. Participants can also use it to "vote" on topics, such as health service features, by placing counters in the pocket that indicates their situation or preference.

Pair wise ranking made easy

Russell T,1997

This text explains how to do pair wise ranking, a participatory method for deciding on shared priorities. Each item on a list is compared with the other items on the list in a systematic way. Each choice is compared with all others, one by one. The final ranking and the information shared during implementation both contribute to learning.

Participatory research on workers' health

Laurell AC, Noriega M, Martínez S, Villegas J ,1992

This paper presents action oriented participatory research using a collective questionnaire on characteristics of the labour process, risks and health damage for workers in a steel factory in Mexico. It was implemented by research institutions and trade unions. The paper presents a comparison between the information found on risks, health damage and the risks-health damage relationship found with the collective questionnaire and the findings from use of an individual questionnaire applied at the same steel factory. The results from the two methods were very similar.

The Application of Participatory Action-Research in Latin America

Fals-Borda O,1987

This paper draws on field studies in Nicaragua, Colombia and Mexico to explore the theory and action of PAR as a methods used since the 1970s that challenges established academic routines while also generating and systematising knowledge. It identifies PAR as a comprehensive and human paradigm in the social sciences using a series of techniques to combine knowledge and power.