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Critical exploration of researchers’ experiences within the field of participatory research
VID Specialized University (NOR).
University West, Department of Health Sciences, Section for health promotion and care sciences. Jönköping University, School of Health and Welfare, Jönköping (SWE); Oslo Metropolitan University, Department of Behavioural Science, Oslo (NOR). (LINA LOV)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7669-4702
VID Specialized University (NOR).
VID Specialized University (NOR).
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2022 (English)In: International Conference on Work Integrated Learning: Abstract Book, Trollhättan: University West , 2022, p. 50-51Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Research question: Autoethnographic critical scrutiny as a step towards more inclusive research practices in participatory research?

In this presentation we would like to discuss a paper draft. The paper examines the autoethnographic accounts of four researchers to highlight and critically explore our experiences within the participatory action research (PAR) (Schubotz, 2020). PAR is based on the principles of close co-operation between researchers and participants with experience-based knowledge, in this case people with disabilities. Hancock et al. (2012) define three justifications for the participation of people with experience-based competence in research: the ethical, the qualitative and the "therapeutic". The recipients of health and welfare services should have a voice in research in areas that will have a direct impact on their life situation. The qualitative aspect concerns that people with experience -based knowledge can strengthen the quality of the research with new approaches by asking relevant questions or by recruiting participants. This can strengthen the research's relevance, validity and focus on the development of knowledge relevant to those concerned. The third rationale is the therapeutic or empowerment rationale, i.e., that the research can have a positive impact on people who receive services and who are involved in the research (Askheim et al., 2019; Hancock et al., 2012). PAR is connected to democratic values, co-creation of knowledge and the believe that this form of co-operation can influence practice. Participatory action research creates space to develop new research communities where the researcher and the researcher's agenda are pushed aside to create space for the research community that develops as a result of interaction between researchers and participants with different backgrounds (experiences) (Nind, 2014 a; Northway, 2010). PAR is a context-bound research that is most often based on dialogue-based collaboration, and which aims to develop new knowledge or insight that can primarily be recognized in the context in which it takes place (Levin, 2017). It should also be based on local challenges that participants in the research encounter in their everyday lives (Lawson et al., 2015). Collaboration with people with experience-based knowledge in research can be the key to creating opportunities to co -create an inclusive democratic society. All the authors have been doing PAR in different research projects. In various academic meetings, we often discussed methodological approaches, our research role, things not working as expected, or when we felt unsure of whether or what we were doing was right or wrong. This paper will try to bring to light and exemplify some of the tensions and challenges we have met in our research practice with PAR. Based on four autoethnographic accounts and theory on autoethnography as a background, the article will reflect upon, critically analyze, and discuss researchers' roles, power, and epistemic privileges in PAR. The autoethnographic approach is based on the researcher's reflections and critical examination of their identities, roles, power, or penalties within one or several cultural contexts (Hughes & Pennington, 2016). It is a critical reflexive action research in which the researcher takes an active, scientific, and systematic view of personal experience concerning cultural groups identified by the researcher as similar to the self (i.e., us) or as others who differ from the self (i.e., them) (Hughes & Pennington, 2016, s.8).51

Establishing data:

Four of us wrote two reflections each containing autoethnographic thoughts that reflected tensions in our research practice, for example challenging privileged academic discourses or traditional researcher roles. The logs had roughly the following structure: describe the setting (where, when, why) and your reflections/tensions. Then we read all the logs and wrote down our reactions, keywords, and reflections based on our own research experience. We wrote whether the examples sounded familiar or whether they were unfamiliar or differed from our experiences. All researchers presented the reflections they had written based on the logs, and we summarized central themes based on all the logs.By reading the other authors reflections and at the same time reflecting on their texts using our own experience and taking notes, writing keywords to their texts, started the analysis process in familiarizing with the data (Braun & Clarke, 2014). The analysis was conducted by summarizing the material through the active process of identifying similar themes in the texts, using all the keywords and reflections (Braun & Clarke, 2014). The main themes identified so far were power and power (in)balance, researcher’s role, and epistemic privileges in PAR. Next, we discussed these themes, scrutinizing structures and processes that can influence the research or unconscious processes and power relations tipping the research in one particular direction (Alvesson & Sköldberg, 1994, 2017).

Reflections so far

The autoethnographic texts touch upon power and power balance in relationships between researchers and participants with experience-based knowledge. The power connects to decision-making for example who is making decisions, what kind of cooperation and co-production of knowledge is happening, and how deadlines sets premises for collaboration. The topic of power may be described on a micro level, what the researchers intend to do in the meetings but may also be connected to the framework of the research projects such as projects goals and progression within the project. Projects depend on a certain pace and effectiveness to fulfil the goals. This has to do with financing and funds that can run out. This effectiveness might be challenging when we do research with people with experience-based knowledge, especially if there is a gap between researchers' starting position, theoretical background and expectations, and co-researchers' needs, interests, or expectations. Although researchers are aware of their power and try to adapt the process so that co-researchers can experience a real contribution, it might seem that the researchers have the final word in the end, and we should discuss whether and how we should address that. Co-researchers must usually adjust to the academic world rather than vice versa.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Trollhättan: University West , 2022. p. 50-51
Keywords [en]
Participatory action research, autoethnography
National Category
Nursing Pedagogy Learning
Research subject
Work Integrated Learning; NURSING AND PUBLIC HEALTH SCIENCE, Nursing science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-19549ISBN: 9789189325302 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hv-19549DiVA, id: diva2:1725448
Conference
WIL'22 International Conference on Work Integrated Learning, 7-9 December 2022, University West, Trollhättan, Sweden
Note

The general theme of the conference is: “WIL in the service of society”

Available from: 2023-01-11 Created: 2023-01-11 Last updated: 2023-01-30Bibliographically approved

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Areskoug Josefsson, Kristina

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