Over the last fifteen years I have been using participatory research in many areas, and especially to look at problems and opportunities for girls' education in developing countries. In this paper, I want to share some ideas about what I think needs to happen if participatory approaches are to grow and flourish in the future. The questions I am asking are, "what is participatory research? is it a sunflower, getting stronger as it pushes toward enlightenment? Is it kudzu, omnipresent and sometimes out of place? Is it a rootless creation, a carbuncle grafted on to the conventional trunk of research? or is it something else entirely?" More specifically, I am asking, "Can we examine the methods used in participatory research to get some insights into is nature, underlying assumptions and philosophy of inquiry? Can we share what we learn from this examination so that practitioners from a variety of culture around the world can challenge adapt or accept these assumptions?"
Center for International Education
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