Eileen Kane

Publication Date



The David Kinsey Dialogue Series was established in memory of our beloved colleague, David Chapin Kinsey. David touched countless lives in the course of his 40 years as a dedicated, brilliant and outstanding educator, helping people everywhere to inquire, explore and discover the world and themselves. Since 1975, David Kinsey served as a faculty member of the School of Education in the Center for International Education at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. It is our hope that the Kinsey Dialogue series will uphold his legacy, keeping alive his passionate vision for a better world.


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