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Participatory Action Research at AU

Participatory Action Research Defined

What is Participatory Action Research (PAR)?

Participatory Action Research (a.k.a. collaborative research) is a collaborative approach to community-based research that actively works with involve individuals and communities to address research needs and impact social change. 

For American University, Community-based Participatory Action Research means that:

1. Research is co-designed, co-conducted, and co-implemented with public interest or community-based organizations and AU faculty.

2. A commitment to publically engaged scholarship.

What is NOT Participatory Action Research?

PAR is not scholarly research about the community, but it is research (that may be scholarly) with the community.

On February 6, 2015, a group of dedicated faculty, staff, and graduate students gathered in order to discuss how to strengthen community-based research and PAR methods within AU and improve upon the work that has already been done at the first Community-Based Participatory Action Research Workshop. To this end, the workshop built community among students, scholars, and community partners engaged in PAR research and also discussed the challenges and opportunities we encounter throughout the PAR process.

You can check out Dr. Jonathan Fox's presentation for the workshop here and find other resources and examples of PAR at AU below.

Course-Based Student Products

Presentation by Michael Bard, Kat Diersen, and Leah Germer from Professor Garrett Grady-Lovelace's GEP practicum class at the Dimensions of Political Ecology Conference in February of 2015 about their work on a funding gap analysis of the Farm Bill's Title II Conservation Program. Check out the GEP Blog to read more.  

Faculty Products

Eve Bratman and A. Jadhav, "How low-income commuters view cycling," The Atlantic Citylab. July 15, 2014.


Jonathan Fox, “Ejes estratégicos para influir en las políticas públicas,” Azacuán 1(4), Sept.-Oct,1998.[Guatemala]

Jonathan Fox, “VerticallyIntegrated Policy Monitoring: A Tool for Civil Society Policy Advocacy,” Nonprofitand Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 30(3), September, 2001.

Jonathan Fox, “Transparency for Accountability: Civil Society Monitoring ofMultilateral Development Bank Anti-Poverty Projects,” Development in Practice,7(2), May, 1997. [reprinted in Deborah Eade, ed., Development and Social Action,Oxford: Oxfam GB, 1999] (en español)


Jonathan Fox, “Lessons from Action-Research Partnerships,” Development in Practice,16 (1), Feb., 2006 [abridged version published in LASA Forum, 35(4),Winter, 2005]


Jonathan Fox, “Advocacy Research and the World Bank: Propositions for Discussion,” Development in Practice, 13(5),November, 2003 [also published in Marc Edelman and Angelique Haugerud, eds., The Anthropology of Development and Globalization: From Classical Political Economy to Contemporary Neo-Liberalism,Cambridge: Blackwell, 2004]

Garrett Grady-Lovelace and Alli Harnish, “The Role of Engaged Scholarship inSocio-Environmental Action” in The Environment in Anthropology: A Reader in Ecology, Culture & Sustainable Living, 2nd edition. Forthcoming.New York University Press.

Garrett Grady-Lovelace, “What Is the Use of Calling US Agricultural Policy (Neo)Colonial,” [Presented at 2015 International Studies Association convention; submitted to Social Science Research Network. Forthcoming.]







Community-Based Learning at AU

Learn about other Community-Based Learning initiatives here at AU.

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CBL Related Events and Opportunities

Interested in Community-Based Learning? Follow the link below for information on AU's Annual Community-Based Learning events. 


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