1. What were/are the major characteristics of that approach?
In “Participatory Research”, participation is the key of vehicle that drive by the community. A community comprised on different types of people including key infected and affected people, local elites, social leaders, followers etc. irrespective of socio-economic, political and cultural background. On the other hand, different types of service providers, GoB bodies, political and ethnical perspective are also factor for participatory research issue especially in participation.
However, the following characteristics could be considered in Participatory Research approach although there are other factors which should be considered like what PR method, we supposed to be facilitated, community dynamics, facilitator’s expertise, environment/context etc.
- People centered approach: This is the heart of the PR approach as they are the people (community and relevant stakeholders) to whom information will be generated, validated, analyzed, interpreted, recommended and decision making process.
- Community ownership with the PR process: This is one of the vital characteristics of Participatory research approach as community is the most important source of information, therefore their ownership has to be ensured of PR process. It has to be realized to the community that this Participatory Research is not only meet the purpose of the researcher (development Organization/academician or any other researcher) but also explain what their benefit.
- Creating enabling environment and rapport build up: Creation of enabling environment and rapport building is the pre-requisite ingredient of any PR approach. Until or unless successfully done this, collected information may not be authentic as information authenticity is crucial elements of PR.
- Scope of triangulation of data/information: It is one of the major characteristics of PR approach to make sure data/information triangulation by the different methods of participatory research. - Knowledge management and reflection: Participator Research approach should give knowledge management and reflection pathway in-between and among research participants, community people, stakeholder and service providers including researcher.
- Flexibility and adaptability: There should be appropriate flexibility and adaptability in PR approach as people’s knowledge, skills and attitude are different from individual to individual.
- Facilitator’s expertise: This is one of the characteristics of PR approach as Facilitator is the initiator and or standing in the central point to collect authentic data/information, validating, analyzing, and interpreting to achieve the goal and objectives of the PR.
2. Why are participatory approaches to analysis, dissemination and utilization to research so critical to your work in the community?
Participatory Approach in Analysis: Data itself does not mean anything unless it appropriately analysis, interpret, disseminate and above all utilize. Therefore data analysis is the important part of Participatory Research. Data analysis mostly depends on characteristics of data, objective of data collection, focus of the researcher as well. In data analysis, participatory approach is vital as the source of data comes from the community people, stakeholders and other respondents of PR methods which supposed to be used in a PR. They knows what point of view and or what experience and practice based results i.e. data they are providing. They knows the background of their provided data/information. If we do not ensure their participation in data analysis the real meaning could be differ.
Participatory Approach in Dissemination: Dissemination is an important part of PR process. Dissemination is the vehicle which leads to make in action by the different users including researcher, community, decision makers, policy makers and so on. The primary goal of dissemination is to share the knowledge, analysis and findings that the research generated among different stakeholders including community. But it should be considered in PR approach- how and what process/methods are using to disseminate to whom ? If it is with community, we should consider easy, understandable and user-friendly process/methods considering on community knowledge, practice and experience. If it is with policy makers, we should think in their perspective i.e. what are the thirsty areas that a policy makers usually wants to know from our Participatory Research. Therefore audience of dissemination is key factor that depends on sharing process and methods, materials and communication means. In addition, purpose of dissemination has to be considered In PR approach. In PR approach, whatever and whichever communication channel, methods, approaches supposed to be used for dissemination, we should be ensured participation in all level especially community.
Participatory Approach in Utilization of Knowledge: Participatory research approaches is the process of enquiry, dissemination and utilization of information in collective action for change in individual, community and as a whole in society level. Participatory research is about social transformation and change. Social transformation requires a number of interventions viz., organizing, mobilizing struggle and knowledge. Participatory research recognizes popular knowledge; and facilitates people’s control over the processes of inquiry, education and action.