FASS644: Participatory Research: Achieving Impact

Module description

Participatory research has gradually gained traction as a viable cross-sector method in the Social Sciences and Humanities. It emphasizes the importance of collaboration between academics and communities in the development and production of research aimed directly at understanding and responding to an issue of importance to both. Today, the impact agenda increasingly underpins evaluations of research and plays a significant role in the allocation of grants and jobs. This module outlines the potential for students within a range of fields to apply participatory elements to explore diverse social phenomena, leading to peer-reviewed publications, research grants and demonstrable impact.

Educational Aims

The main aim of this module is to enable students to understand and apply, where relevant, participatory methods in their research. This will be achieved by introducing: the concept and background of participatory research; means of identifying and communicating with community partners; ethics processes and approaches to governing projects, and the outputs and outcomes which result from such work.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • understand participatory research and apply the approaches practically within their own work
  • be more creative in their work and appreciate the importance of innovation approach
  • engage in professional self-development with regard to research methods
  • appreciate ethics, principles and sustainability and legal responsibilities
  • solicit research funding for participatory work


There are three parts to the module:


Day-long workshop (six hours) consisting of the following sessions examining the four module topics:

  • Session 1:            Introducing Participatory Methods: Origin, rationale and application
  • Session 2:            Preparing: identifying partners and developing a shared language
  • Session 3:            Processes: ethics and governance
  • Session 4:            Outputs and outcomes: Recording, documenting and publishing research

Independent Study

Produce 3,000 word mock grant proposal for formative feedback within 2 weeks of the workshop. Written feedback provided by course convenor in Feedback session.

Feedback Session

Two hour group meeting within 4 weeks of the workshop, including peer-to-peer feedback on mock grant proposal.

Introductory Reading

Bennett, F. and Roberts, M. (2004) From Input to Influence: Participatory Approaches to Research and Inquiry into Poverty, York: JRF, 15–20, https://www.jrf.org.uk/file/37008/download?token=YIv3XPhB.

Bergold, J. and Thomas, S. (2012) ‘Participatory Research Methods: A Methodological Approach in Motion’, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 13, http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/1801/3334.

Cornwall, A. and Jewkes, R. (1995) ‘What is participatory research?’. Social Science & Medicine, 41.12, 1667–76.

Durose, C., Beebeejaun, Y. Rees, J., Richardson, J. and Richardson, L. (2012) Towards Co-production in research with communities, AHRC online, available from: http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/documents/project-reports-and-reviews/connected-communities/towards-co-production-in-research-with-communities/.

Israel, B. A., Schulz, A. J., Parker, E. A. and Becker, A. B. (2001) ‘Community-based participatory research: Policy recommendations for promoting a partnership approach in health research’. Education for Health, 14.2, 182–97.

Kemmis, S., McTaggart, R. and Nixon, R. (2013) The Action Research Planner: Doing Critical Participatory Action Research. London: Springer, 1–32.

Kindon, S. and Elwood, S. (2009) ‘Introduction: More than methods – reflections on participatory action research in geographic teaching, learning and research’. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 33.1, 19–32.

Timing and Location




30/01/19 and 27/02/19

Number of sessions:

4 x 1.5 hour sessions and 1 x 2 hour session

Timing and Location:

Wednesdays, weeks 13 and 17

Week 13: 10.00-1.15 and 1.45 - 5.00, Charles Carter A19

Week 17: 3.00-5.00, Bowland North Seminar Room 23


Additional information

Minimum quota: 6