Doing Liberation Social Science: Participatory Action Research Strategies
The social science research strategies variously called action research, community action research, participatory research, and participatory action research (PAR) commonly engage social scientists with people in local communities. In this chapter, the authors explore some of these research strategies. Sociologists and other social scientists are making much use of PAR to serve and learn from an array of grassroots people’s organizations. These researchers are often re-creating sociology in new and innovative ways. In many cases, action research undertakings are generated by activist leaders or community organizers who come to social scientists seeking their help in researching local community problems and their possible solutions. PAR with a strong emancipatory cast has other historical and regional roots. In the United States much PAR has dealt with environmental issues, education, health care, racial and class diversity, and community control. Sociologists have been central participants in the expansion of PAR strategies across the United States.