Connecting Different People's Stories And Experiences

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Connecting different people's stories and experiences

Connecting Different People's Stories and Experiences

Action research is often characterized as a combination of theory and practice or the methodology which links theory and practice, connecting thinking and doing and thereby achieving both practical and research objectives (Susman, 1983). Drawing upon emancipatory educational and social transformation movements, action research is focused on addressing issues through inquiry into human problems in the real context (Freire, 1970; Schon, 1983, Gaventa, 1988), in order to liberate the human body, mind and spirit in the search for a better, freer world (Reason & Bradbury, 2001, p. 2). Action research is often called applied research as it involves the community at all stages. Community-based action research focuses on methods and techniques of inquiry that take into account people's history, culture, practices, and emotional lives. According to Stringer (1999), action research is a collaborative approach to inquiry or investigation that provides people with the means to take systematic action to resolve specific problems. The collaborative approach and ascription to the participatory worldview mandates action researchers to consider participants as a collaborative resource and agents of cyclical transformation who bring to the table practical knowledge and experience about situations while the recurring pattern of reflection, analysis and action contributes to the constant evolution and redefinition of the original goal (Elliott, 1995; Reason & Bradbury, 2001). It is believed that participation in action research aims to restore the ability of the 'oppressed' to create knowledge and practice in their own interests, concomitantly engaging them in consciousness raising and action (Freire, 1970). Typically, participatory action research involves creating spaces in which participants engage together in cycles of critical reflection and action. However, it is best understood, not as a methodology or a set of techniques, but as an approach or orientation to inquiry.

Participatory action research is a way for a group of people to investigate issues of interest or concern. To do this research, people first describe the issues as thoroughly as possible and then brainstorm solutions. Then they try out some of their solutions to see if they are effective. After giving these solutions some time to work, the researchers get back together to reflect on what happened and to make a decision about what else needs to be done. For this research, students used PAR, and digital storytelling to report on college. Both these methods encourage participants to take and share photographs that help other people understand their college experiences.

In participatory action research, researchers empower participants to become research partners (Piercy & Thomas, 1998). The advantages of a collaborative, less hierarchical approach to research are that the practical knowledge that emerges is usually a better fit for those for whom it is intended, since they helped generate and make sense of the findings. In this case, since farmers, Extension agents, and specialists have been part of the planning and research processes, they are also more invested in the dissemination and implementation of the findings, and feel ...
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