Participatory Research in Cross-Cultural Contexts (522X8)

15 credits, Level 7 (Masters)

Spring teaching

There is a common perception that there are many opportunities for those based in an academic environment to get involved in research relating to different aspects of organisational and community development, but in practice many communities are dissatisfied with 'research as usual', often because of raised and unmet expectations, and complexities emanating from widely different cultural contexts. The course responds to this situation, and motivates researchers to come up with something different: research that is purposeful and empowering of the communities they work with within a specific context. The realisation of the limitations of traditional research in community development has resulted in increasing interest in participatory research (PR). But many researchers enter the practice of PR with little or no training, even if they are guided by a personal belief and set of values in participation for development and social change. This course will explore the basic principles that underpin PR, and examines the pitfalls that researchers may come across when using PR approaches, particularly in terms of their relationships and accountabilities to the communities they work with in a wide range of cultural contexts.

The course will explore the different responsibilities and expectations that arise amongst different stakeholders in the research process and outcomes, and also the range of strategies, approaches and methods which may be appropriate in different contexts. It will include some hands-on practice of specific participatory research methods, and highlight some possibilities for synergies between PR approaches and other forms of research.


100%: Seminar


100%: Coursework (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 10 hours of contact time and about 140 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

This module is running in the academic year 2020/21. We also plan to offer it in future academic years. It may become unavailable due to staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of such changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: