Where Participatory Approaches Meet Pragmatism in Funded (Health) Research: The Challenge of Finding Meaningful Spaces


  • Tina Cook Liverpool Hope University




participatory research, authentic involvement, user involvement, transformational, judging


The term participatory research is now widely used as a way of categorising research that has moved beyond researching "on" to researching "with" participants. This paper draws attention to some confusions that lie behind such categorisation and the potential impact of those confusions on qualitative participatory research in practice. It illuminates some of the negative effects of "fitting in" to spaces devised by other types of research and highlights the importance of forging spaces for presenting participatory research designs that suit a discursive approach and that allow the quality and impact of such research to be recognised. The main contention is that the adoption of a variety of approaches and purposes is part of the strength of participatory research but that to date the paradigm has not been sufficiently articulated. Clarifying the unifying features of the participatory paradigm and shaping appropriate ways for critique could support the embedding of participatory research into research environments, funding schemes and administration in a way that better reflects the nature and purpose of authentic involvement.

URN: http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs1201187


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Author Biography

Tina Cook, Liverpool Hope University

Tina COOK is a Reader in Inclusive Methodologies at Northumbria University, UK. At the core of her work is a focus on inclusive practice. Using participatory research, particularly collaborative action research, she seeks ways of facilitating the inclusion, as research partners, of those who might generally be excluded from research that concerns their own lives. She has published on both methodological issues and issues related to research in practice. She is a member of the International Collaboration on Participatory Health Research.




How to Cite

Cook, T. (2012). Where Participatory Approaches Meet Pragmatism in Funded (Health) Research: The Challenge of Finding Meaningful Spaces. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 13(1). https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-13.1.1783