Collaborative research offers an opportunity to access experiential knowledge, rooted in a process that aims to move beyond traditional research relationships and boundaries. Collaborative research does not always change the power differential; nonetheless, it has the potential to lead to ethical relationships and for partnership working that supports ‘change’. Working in this way aids in understanding and advancing ideas for change, grounded in the views and experiences of all involved. In this article, we share our experiences of carrying out two collaborative land-based prison-based evaluations. These programmes, delivered by third sector organisations, have both worked with men in prison but differed in relation to focus, approach, timescale and the specific group of men targeted within the prison population. This work highlights how working collaboratively lends itself to a way of engaging, through building a range of relationships with key stakeholders, men in prison, prison staff and practitioners, a channel to ‘knowing differently’ and potential for creating humanising spaces within the prison environment. This article details the rewards, tensions and challenges we have encountered when carrying out land-based studies, illuminating additional dimensions for consideration when adopting this approach.
Bibliographical noteThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).
- Collaborative research
- participatory methods
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)