Participatory research, calls for participants, and ‘the usual suspects’

In my post on ALPS last week, I wrote about how participatory research can be a beneficial active learning experience for students. In a recent project that I ran at the University of York, student partners came away from the research process reporting that they had a much stronger knowledge of research methods and delivery than they had before. However, as I also noted in that post, this is, for both methodological and practical reasons, an exclusive form of learning.

Nicole Brown (an Associate Professor at UCL’s Institute of Education) has made the case that student partnership research is vital in developing and delivering innovations in teaching, which in turn can boost student engagement and satisfaction. Brown is not alone in this assertion – a quick Google Scholar search will return a wealth of literature that details the benefits of student partnership research. Importantly, this literature also shows that, largely, students simply enjoy getting to be involved in the research process.

From this, an important question emerges – which students get to be involved in participatory research? Answering this question is important both to the students that get to be involved and to the conclusions that will result from the research. 

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