Participatory action research publications in journal papers and reports

On this page you will find links to published journal papers and reports on and about PAR. The most recently published resources are shown first. Please send us your reports and journal paper links. If they are published papers that have been reviewed and finalised but are but not online let us know in the form you send and we will contact you in case we are able to upload them and make them available online.

Elements for harnessing participatory action research to strengthen health managers’ capacity: a critical interpretative synthesis

Tetui M; Zulu JM; Hurtig A-K; Ekirapa-Kiracho E; Kiwanuka SN; Coe A-B,2018

This a review of the elements for harassing PAR to to strengthen health managers' capacity. A critical interpretive synthesis method was used to interrogate eight selected articles. These articles reported the use of PAR to strengthen health managers’ capacity. The findings demonstrated the intricate and complex relations between the elements, which further affirms the need for a systems thinking approach to tackling health systems challenges.

Participatory approaches to strengthening district health managers' capacity: Ugandan and global experiences

Tetui M ,2018

This a PhD thesis undertaken at Umea University in Sweden. The thesis details participatory approaches of strengthening district health managers capacity.

Photovoice and empowerment: evaluating the transformative potential of a participatory action research project

Budig K; Diez J; Conde P; et al: BMC Public Health 18(432), doi:,2018

This study explored the individual experiences of the female individuals who participated in a previous Photovoice project in a low-income area of Madrid, Spain in 2016. Positive changes were found in the three dimensions: 1) participants acquired new knowledge and critical awareness; 2) the social recognition participants received transformed their self-perception; and 3) the project allowed them to expand their social networks and to build new links with different actors.

A participatory action research approach to strengthening health managers’ capacity at district level in Eastern Uganda

Tetui M; Coe A-B; Hurtig A-K; Bennett S;. Kiwanuka SN; George A; Ekirapa-Kiracho E,2017

This an original research publication about the use of PAR to strengthen Health managers capacity in Uganda. This was a qualitative study that used open-ended key informant interviews, combined with review of meeting minutes. The findings indicate that the participatory action research approach enhanced health managers’ capacity to collaborate with others, be creative, attain goals and review progress. The participatory approach to implementation created opportunities to strengthen health managers’ capacity.

Experiences of using a participatory action research approach to strengthen district local capacity in Eastern Uganda

Tetui M; Coe AB; Hurtig AK; Ekirapa EK; Kiwanuka SN,2017

The paper describes how local stakeholders and researchers used of PAR to strengthen local district level capacity to implement and sustain an intervention. The study was undertaken in three rural districts in Eastern Uganda as part of a larger project which aimed at improving maternal and neonatal health outcomes using a more sustainable approach.

Initiating a participatory action research process in the Agincourt health and socio–demographic surveillance site

O Wariri, L D'Ambruoso, R Twine, S Ngobeni, M van der Merwe, B Spies, K Kahn, S Tollman, RG Wagner, P Byass,2017

This work reported on initiating a participatory action research (PAR) process in the Agincourt Health and Socio-Demographic Surveillance Site (HDSS) in Mpumalanga province, rural northeast South Africa. The researchers initiated a PAR process to gain local knowledge and prioritize actions. The process was acceptable to those involved, and there was willingness and commitment to continue. The study provided a basis from which to gain support to develop fuller forms of participatory research in this setting. The next steps are to build deeper involvement of participants in the process.

Introducing visual participatory methods to develop local knowledge on HIV in rural South Africa

Brooks C; D’Ambruoso L; Kazimierczak K; Ngobeni S; Twine R; Tollman S; Kahn K; Byass P,2017

This study aimed to gain insights into the perspectives of rural communities in South Africa on HIV-related mortality. A participatory action research (PAR) process was used, including photovoice, to elicit and organise local knowledge on HIV/AIDS-related mortality and to identify priorities for action. The study concluded that initiating PAR inclusive of visual methods can build shared understandings of disease burdens in social and health systems contexts.

Champions for social change: Photovoice ethics in practice and ‘false hopes’ for policy and social change

Johnston G: Global public health, 11 (5–6), 799–811,2016

This article is part of a special issue on Visual Methodologies. It examines the concerns of raising false hopes or unrealistic expectations among the participants of photovoice projects as they are positioned to be champions for social change in their communities. The paper poses a series of unanswered questions about the ethics of photovoice projects. The ethical concern centres on the focus of policy change as a key initiative; yet, most projects remain vague about the implementation and outcomes of this focus.

Participatory Action Research (PAR) and the Colombian Peasant Reserve Zones: The Legacy of Orlando Fals Borda

Gutiérrez, J. Policy and Practice: A Development Education Review Issue 22 2016,2016

Fals Borda was a Colombian intellectual in the 1970s who became well known for helping give shape to the PAR approach in social sciences. While Colombia has become a conservative country and a staunch defender of the neoliberal creed, the peasantry has become the main actor of an important process of transformation, a central element of which are the Peasant Reserve Zones (ZRC). In the process of researching to implement these, researchers working with the agrarian unions and communities have come to use participatory methodologies which demonstrate the contemporary relevance of PAR.

Power and Glory: applying participatory action research in public health

Baum F: Gaceta Sanitaria 30(6) 405–407,2016

This article describes how PAR has been applied to public health, including in community asset mapping, participatory evaluation of public health programs, community monitoring of health service quality, research documenting and advocating to remove threats to health including poor water and sanitation and environmental pollution and participatory health policy research. A systematic review indicated most health service PAR has been conducted in low and middle income countries. The author observes that PAR holds great, and as yet largely unrealised promise, to support action on public health.