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Collaborative inquiry weaves together participatory action research, planning, and evaluation. It builds on insights from many disciplines and lessons from the pioneering work of Kurt Lewin and the Tavistock Institute and the seventy-year history of Participatory Action Research (PAR) and French psychosociology.
The ongoing evolution of PAR has had a lasting impact in fields ranging from community development to education, public engagement, and organizational life. All formulations of collaborative inquiry have in common the idea that research must be done “with” people and not “on” or “for” people. Inquiry of this kind makes sense of the world through efforts to transform it, as opposed to simply observing and studying human behavior and people’s views about reality in the hope that meaningful change will happen somewhere down the road.
This website and its related publications contribute many new ideas and practical tools to this longstanding tradition. They are grounded in genuine examples of collective fact-finding and analysis facilitated by the authors and colleagues from around the world. The material shows how to move beyond the narrow set of qualitative (focus group, interview, story telling) and quantitative (survey) methods commonly used in action research, and illustrates the integration of key theoretical insights into the practice of collaborative inquiry.