Participatory action research: practical strategies for actively engaging and maintaining participation in immigrant and refugee communities

Jeannette van der Velde, Deanna L Williamson, Linda D Ogilvie
Qualitative Health Research 2009, 19 (9): 1293-302
In this research we examined the processes involved in implementing and maintaining a participatory action research (PAR) project by uncovering how theoretical PAR tenets hold up in the reality of a community-based project addressing immigrants' and refugees' mental health needs. Qualitative data from focus groups with these newcomers were analyzed for thematic content. Findings reveal that active participation is seen as the gateway into a PAR project, whereas knowledge attainment and empowerment are the stimuli for continued participation. The data also suggest that newcomers' motivations to participate in a PAR-oriented project might vary across ethno-cultural groups. Practitioners working in community-based initiatives would do well to appeal to the diversity of motivational factors, while endorsing individual and group strengths.

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