chapter
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Introduction: Engaging with participatory action research

To achieve our purpose, we question the split between theory (epistêmê) and technique (technê) or the notion that inquiry essentially divides into substance and process. From this conventional viewpoint, substance stands as the subject matter of thought, that which is to be known, has real content and feeds into existing bodies of knowledge, theoretical or empirical. This is truth understood as cognitive output, the end-goal of the inquisitive mind – the research outcome that matters, is actively pursued and has value in the end. By contrast, process speaks to the journey, not the destination. It is the path to knowledge guided by ‘small-m methods’ and devices, the technical ways, step-wise procedures and technology used to gain a solid grasp over phenomena that are deemed to be real. When split from substance, tools to investigate reality cannot be ends in themselves. Rather, they are the instruments and means of advancing knowledge of the world.