Participatory action research training resources

On this page you will find links to various written and visual resources used for training and capacity building in PAR, including training guides, reports of training resources and links to online training courses and their curricula. The resources are in various languages. The most recently published resources are shown first. Please send us your training materials and resources to include on this page.

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Making Change Visible: Evaluating Efforts to Advance Social Participation in Health, An Implementer’s Resource

Loewenson R; Simpson S; Dudding R; Obando F; Beznec P; TARSC, Shaping health,2021

If you are responsible for—or engaged or interested in—advancing social/community participation in health in your local area, we developed this resource for you. There are a variety of resources available on how to organise SPH, but there is limited guidance on how to evaluate its effectiveness. This publication fills that gap for those in a position to make decisions or take actions to advance SPH. This resource helps you to evaluate your efforts on SPH, to answer the question: what differences are our SPH efforts making, using a range of participatory tools.

Participatory Methods: People working together around the world to generate ideas and action for social change

Participation, Inclusion and Social Change Cluster at the Institute of Development Studies, Sussex University ,2021

This Participatory Methods website provides resources to generate ideas and action for inclusive development and social change. It explains what participatory methods are, where and how they are used, and their problems and potentials, focusing on participatory approaches to programme design, monitoring and evaluation; to learning, research and communication in organisations, networks and communities; and to citizen engagement in political processes. This site is regularly updated and offers access to many useful and thought-provoking resources.

Building a movement for health

Bodini C (edited by), People's Health Movement and Third World Health Aid,2017

This book is an aid in the struggle for health equity, which is the struggle for liberation from hunger, poverty and unjust socioeconomic structures. It's a tool to support movement-building at the country level and contribute to the strengthening of a global movement for health. It can be used by people who want to know more about the struggle for health in the world and about the People's Health Movement, by activists who seek inspiration and want to learn from other's experience, by groups involved in PAR and capacity-building, by scholars who research on civil society engagement in health.

Cómo se construye un movimiento para la salud

Bodini C (editado por), Movimiento para la Salud de los Pueblos y Medecina para el Tercer Mundo,2017

Este libro es una ayuda en la lucha por la salud, que es la lucha por la liberación del hambre, la pobreza y las estructuras socio-económicas injustas. Es una herramienta para construir movimientos a nivel país y mundial. Puede ser utilizado por personas que quieran saber más sobre la lucha por la salud en el mundo y el Movimiento para la Salud de los Pueblos, activistas que buscan inspiración de la experiencia de otras, grupos involucrados en la creación de capacidades y la investigación-acción participativa, académicas que investigan el compromiso de la sociedad civil con la salud.

The Barefoot Guide Connection

The Barefoot Guide Writer's Collective,2017

This site provides free download of a range of interesting, thought provoking manuals which aim to share social change practice from around the world. To date there are 5 manuals : BFG1: Working with Organizations and Social Change; BFG2: Learning Practices in Organizations and Social Change; BFG3: Mobilizing Religious Health Assets for Transformation; BFG4: Exploring the Real Work of Social Change and BFG5: Mission Inclusion: Stories and practices of building a world where all belong.

The Community Tool Box

Center for Community Health and Development,2017

The Community Tool Box is an online resource for work with people from different cultures. It sensitises to and raises strategies and activities for addressing racial prejudice. It provides a step by step guidance on how to conduct a community assessment, develop a strategic plan, write a grant, or carry out a participatory evaluation.

Module 11 / Session 1: Participatory action research - A case study (YouTube)

KEYSTONE HPSR Initiative,2016

This module (shown on YouTube) is part of a larger training programme on Health Policy and Systems Research in India. It focuses on the core concepts and frameworks of the PAR approach, its suitability to address health system problems and issues of rigour and ethics associated with this approach presented in the framework of a case study on water pollution.

Skills building on methods and tools for learning from action in participatory action research: building action learning within affected actors and communities

Loewenson R; Flores W; Amaya A; London L; Koffa Kun K, Report of the workshop at the Global Symposium for Health Systems Research,2016

This three hour participatory skills session at the 2016 Global Symposium on Health Systems Research discussed methods/ tools to build learning from action as a key element of PAR and the implications for what this means for an understanding of ‘resilience’ in health systems. It drew on approaches and experience from Africa, Latin America and globally to discuss the methods/tools, their application and their integration in health systems and input from moderated discussion on the pra4equity list prior to the session.

Investigación-Acción Participativa En Sistemas De Salud: Una Guía De Métodos

Loewenson R; Laurell AC; Hogstedt C; D’Ambruoso L; Shroff Z,2015

Esta Guía de metodos promueve la comprensión del término ‘investigación-acción participativa’ (IAP) y ofrece información sobre sus paradigmas, métodos y usos, particularmente en el ámbito de políticas y sistemas de salud. La Guía recoge experiencias y trabajos publicados de todas las regiones del mundo y explica: las caracaterísticas claves de la IAP así como la historia y los paradigmas de conocimiento que la informan; los procesos y métodos utilizados en la IAP, y asuntos de comunicación, informes, institucionalización y usos de la investigación-acción en política y sistema de salud.

Participatory action research in health systems: a methods reader

Loewenson R; Laurell AC; Hogstedt C; D’Ambruoso L; Shroff Z,2014

The result of team work, this reader draws on experience and published work from all regions globally and explains: • key features of participatory action research and the history and knowledge paradigms that inform it; • processes and methods used in participatory action research, including innovations and developments in the field and the ethical and methods issues in implementing it; and • communication, reporting, institutionalization and use of participatory action research in health systems.

Introduction to Qualitative Research Methodology: A Training Manual

Kielmann, K; Cataldo, C; and Seeley, J Department for International Development (DfID), UK, under the Evidence for Action Research Programme Consortium on HIV Treatment and Care (2006-2011).,2012

This manual is organised around three main goals: to introduce you to qualitative thinking and a qualitative approach in research; to equip you with knowledge to be able to plan and conduct selected qualitative research methods; and to enable you to process the data obtained through these methods, and to undertake preliminary steps towards analysis of qualitative data. The manual emphasises that qualitative research is not just about applying a different set of tools to gain knowledge, but rather, involves a fundamental shift in the approach to research, and description of reality.

A Guide to the Literature on Participatory Research with Youth

Ollner A, The Assets Coming Together for Youth Project York University,2010

This practical tool contains summaries of articles on research that has engaged with youth as active participants. The articles were selected based on the level of participation of youth within the research process; articles describing research in which youth participation consisted of being interviewed were not included. Categories include: innovative arts-based methods; youth as co-researchers; empowerment; youth participation in evaluation of youth services; youth in communities; civic participation/social action; and critical perspectives on engaging youth in research.

Participatory action research approaches and methods

Gibson N,2010

This book offers a critical introduction to understanding and working with PAR in different social, spatial and institutional contexts in three parts. The first part explores the intellectual, ethical and pragmatic contexts of PAR; the development and diversity of approaches to PAR; perspectives on PAR as a form of power. Part two is a critical exploration of the politics, places and practices of PAR.. Part three reflects on how effective PAR is, including its products and processes, participatory learning, benefits and challenges, and working between research, action, activism and change.

Participatory Action Research: An educational tool for citizen-users of community mental health services

Watters, J; Comeau, S; Restall, G. Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Medical Rehabilitation, University of Manitoba,2010

This educational tool is a resource for community mental health citizen-users interested in making a difference in their communities. It aims to increase their knowledge of and involvement in PAR as a tool for change in community mental health services . The manual looks at the link between PAR and community mental health, why and how to use PAR and gives a few examples of how this methodology has been used in Canada to improve mental health services

EQUINET Participatory Methods toolkit: Organising People’s Power for Health

Loewenson R; Kaim B; Chikomo F; Mbuyita S; Makemba A ,2006

This toolkit was produced in response to this need, drawing on the experiences and knowledge of individuals and institutions working in this field. The toolkit shows how participatory methods can be used to raise community voice, both through health research and by training communities to take effective action and become involved in the health sector. Generally, this toolkit aims to strengthen capacities in researchers, health workers and civil society personnel working at community level to use participatory methods for research, training and programme support.

Meeting report: Participatory methods for a people centred health system: Training workshop, Bagamoyo Tanzania, 28 February-4 March 2006


The regional training workshop on participatory methods for a people centred health system was hosted by the regional network for equity in health in east and southern Africa (EQUINET) , TARSC, Ifakara and CHESSORE in Bagamoyo Tanzania from February 28- 3 March 2006. It aimed to build skills, share experiences and strengthen work on participatory methods for people centred health systems.

Reflections on the Uses of the ‘Power Cube’ Approach for Analyzing the Spaces, Places and Dynamics of Civil Society Participation and Engagement

Gaventa, J CFP evaluation series 2003-2006: no 4 Mfp Breed Netwerk,2005

The purpose of this paper is to provide a brief description of the ‘power cube’ approach and to provide reflections on its use as an approach for power analysis in relation to the spaces and dynamics of civil society participation. The audience is primarily trainers, applied analysts, donors and civil society practitioners who want to develop their own approaches to power analysis.

‘Barefoot Research: A Workers' Manual for Organising On Work Security

Keith M; Brophy J; Kirby P; Rosskam E,2002

The manual is a practical tool, designed to be of assistance to workers and union officials, showing how they can probe to discover whether they have work security, and if not how they can go about obtaining it. Information is rarely neutral, and it is rarely appropriate to rely on others to collect, analyse and disseminate information on which practices and policies should be based. If workers want basic security, they must be involved in collecting the information, analysing it and using it in ways they determine, and the manual provides methods for this.

A Handbook for Participatory Action Researchers

Danley, K S and Ellison, M L. Systems and Psychosocial Advances Research Center Publications and Presentations. 470,1999

This handbook provides guidelines for conducting participatory action research (PAR) with people who have psychiatric disabilities. Although the principles, strategies, examples and learning are drawn from a particular PAR project with people who have a particular disability, the strategies described could be applied in PAR with any other population.

Training for Transformation 1-3: A handbook for community workers Books 1-3

Hope, A and Timmel, S; Practical Action Publishing,1984

Training for Transformation consists of three volumes designed to assist field workers who are encouraging the development of self-reliant creative communities. It puts forward methodologies that encourage all to participate in making this world a more just place to live in. The book integrates the approach and methods of Paulo Freire, Manfred Max Neef’s understanding of fundamental human needs, group methods which are essential for participatory education, organizational development which stresses self reliance, and social analysis to help groups find the root causes of problems.