Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Ó hAdhmaill, Féilim;
NAIRTL 5th Annual Conference and Galway Symposium on Higher Education, June 9-10. Engaging Minds: Active learning, participation and collaboration in Higher education
Participatory research as a teaching and learning tool for voluntary sector management students
NUI Galway
Invited Oral Presentation
Optional Fields

This paper provides an analysis of the incorporation of a participatory research project into the curriculum of a Masters programme at U.C.C.  The aim is to promote teaching and learning for the student, on a number of different levels, while at the same time encouraging civic engagement and social responsibility.


Participatory Research, (Sarri and Sarri, 1992; Park, 1993; Chambers, 1997; Herr & Anderson, 2005; Reason & Bradbury, 2001) in this case, involves the student working with a community/voluntary sector organisation to develop a research proposal of relevance to that organisation and then designing and conducting the research in participation with the organisation.  The student is faced with challenges over and above the development, design and management of a social science project.  The process may involve a range of group work skills, including facilitation, negotiation, problem solving, capacity building and conflict management.   Indeed, the research process is in many ways part of the `outcome¿ as it requires not just an ability to carry out research along social scientific lines but an ability to work with members of a community/voluntary sector organisation at each stage of the research process. 



Ultimately, the research process must follow social scientific lines but issues around what should be researched, the emphasis on what questions should be asked  and how the results will be used, need to include participation and ownership by the community/voluntary sector organisation.  A research report of relevance and use to such an organisation must be produced while along with a dissertation which fulfils the requirements of a social science Master¿s Degree.




This paper explores some of the benefits and disadvantages of incorporating participatory research into the curriculum both for the management student, the community sector, the University and for the promotion of teaching and learning in general.