Participatory research in community development

Parker, George Gian (2000-12)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2000.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study focuses on the use of participatory research in community development settings. Participatory research, which is normally referred to by the abbreviation PR, is a relatively new social research methodology that arose out of a general sense of dissatisfaction with the way that traditional research was being conducted in development. Participatory research consists of a large variety of related research methodologies that emphasize participation, social learning and action. Epistemologically it is founded on the metatheories of critical theory and to a lesser extent phenomenology and feminism. It is primarily based on the idea of allowing people to participate as full researchers in their own research process so as to create knowledge about their own social reality with which they can initiate change. By creating their own social knowledge, which they use to address and change their social reality, participants become part of a continuous cycle of analysis - action - reflection. By participating as full co-researchers, participants become part of their own dialogical process of social praxis that allows them to enter into a continuous cycle of social learning, capacity building and conscientisation that gives them an increased sense of empowerment which in turn makes them able to engage in their own selfreliant sustainable development initiatives. Both community development and participatory research are grassroot level development initiatives. They both form part of the people-centered, participatory and social learning process - approaches to development. Both share a commitment to: realizing concrete and abstract goals, a social learning process, participation, empowerment, conscientisation, and sustainability. Both these development initiatives are orientated around operating in small homogenous groups as opposed to working with the whole community. In both participatory research and community development the person from outside the community who is initiating the development is required to fulfil the role of guide, advisor, advocate, enabler, and facilitator. Community development and participatory research share a similar research cycle that consists of the following stages: contact making, formal need identification, planning or analysis, implementation or action, and evaluation or reflection. Both research cycles are also committed to the same objectives namely: creating a community profile and need and problem profile, to draw up strategies to address some of the needs and problems, and to monitor and evaluate the strategies that were implemented. Both community development and participatory research therefore share a number of similarities in their objectives and goals, the most important of which is their shared commitment to development in which participation leads to an increase in social learning, capacity building and conscientisation that in tum results in participants experiencing an increased sense of empowerment which allows them to undertake their own self-reliant, sustainable development initiatives. Consequently this study concludes that participatory research is suitable for and beneficial to the practice of research in community development.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie fokus op die gebruik van deelnemende navorsing in gemeenskapsontwikkelling. Deelnemende navorsing, wat alom bekend staan as PR, is 'n relatief nuwe sosiale navorsingsmetodologie wat ontstaan het uit "n algemene gevoel van ongelukkigheid met die beoefening van tradisionele navorsing in ontwikkeling. Deelnemende navorsing bestaan uit "n wye verskeidenheid navorsingsmetodologieë wat klem lê op deelneming, sosiale leer en aksie. Epistemologies is dit gebaseer op die metateorieë van kritiese teorie en tot 'n mindere mate fenomenologie en feminisme. Dit is primêr gebaseer op die idee dat mense volledig moet deelneem as navorsers in hulle eie navorsingsproses sodat hulle, hul eie kennis kan skep van hul eie sosiale realiteit waarmee hulle dan sosiale verandering kan meebring. Deelnemers in hierdie proses word deel van "n aaneenlopende kringloop van ontleding-aksie-refleksie. Deur hulle plek vol te staan as navorsers word deelnemers deel van "n proses van eie dialogiese sosiale praxis wat hulle toelaat om deel te hê aan 'n aaneenlopende siklus van sosiale leer, kapasiteitsbou en psigologiese bewuswording wat hulle "n groter gevoel van selfbemagtiging gee wat hulle dan toelaat om hul eie selfonderhoudende ontwikkelingsinitiatiewe te loods. Beide gemeenskapsontwikkeling en deelnemende navorsing vind plaas op grondvlak. Dit vorm altwee deel van die mensegesentreerde, deelnemende en sosiale leerprosesse van ontwikkeling. Beide is gemik op die realisering van konkrete en abstrakte doelstellings, 'n sosiale leerproses, deelname, selfbemagtiging, psigologiese bewuswording, en selfonderhoud. Beide hierdie benaderings tot ontwikkeling geskied in klein homogene groepsverband. In beide deelnemende navorsing en gemeenskapsontwikkeling is dit 'n persoon van buite die gemeenskap wat die proses inisieer en "n rol speel as voog, adviseer, advokaat, daarstelIer en fasiliteerder. Gemeeskapsontwikkeling en deelnemende navorsing deel "n navorsing siklus wat bestaan uit die volgende stadiums: kontak maak, die identifisering van behoefte, beplanning of ontleding, implementering of aksie, en evaluering of samevatting. Beide hierdie ondersoeksiklusse deel die volgende doelstellings, naamlik: die opstel van 'n gemeenskapsprofiel sowel as "n behoefte en probleem profiel, die optrek van "n strategie!:! om behoeftes en probleme aan te spreek, en laastens om die strategie!:! wat geïmplementeer is te monitor en evalueer. Beide gemeenskapsontwikkeling en deelnemende navorsing deel "n verskeidenheid ooreenkomste in terme van hulle doelstellings, waarvan die mees belangrikste 'n gedeelde toewyding tot ontwikkeling is waarin deelname lei tot "n toename in sosiale leer, kapasitieitsbou en psigologiese bewuswording wat tot gevolg het dat deelnemers "n toenemende sin van hulle eie selfbemagtiging kry wat hulle toelaat om hulle eie selfonderhoudende ontwikkelingsaksies te loods. Hierdie studie kom tot die gevolgtrekking dat deelnemende navorsing geskik is en bevorderend is vir die proses van navorsing in gemeenskapsontwikkeling.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/51869
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