Participatory Action Research: Challenges and Rewards in Fifteen Field Lessons

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter is a distillation of my own experiences of participatory action research (PAR) in Zimbabwe, divided across five broad themes. Of course, I share some of my expectations and the tools I adapted, but also my own limitations as the process unfolded. The enduring lessons that stand out continue to resonate in my work today, not least: the need to remain true to the emancipatory ethic of PAR; being mindful of any unintended consequences of interventionist approaches; constantly being alive to one’s own assumptions; and respecting the time and needs of participating co-researchers. As such, this chapter hopes to encourage others to immerse themselves in, and fully embrace the messiness of PAR as a lesson in re-humanising our work in ways that transcend the notion of ‘the field’ as if divorced from our own reality.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Companion to Peace and Conflict Fieldwork
EditorsRoger Mac Ginty, Roddy Brett, Birte Vogel
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-46433-2
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-46432-5
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


  • Zimbabwe
  • Participation
  • agroecology

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