Social change research focuses on changing something in a social situation to lead to a positive change (Gruman, Schneider, & Coutts, 2017). Using participatory research gets into the root of the problem to start finding a solution and create that positive impact. First, what is Participatory research? It is when researchers are a part of the community or a social situation and involved in learning something about an issue in that specific community. Also, most of the time, it is intended with the goal of solving the problem (PSU WC, 2019, L.13). This personal immersion of research and community can gain a critical insider perspective (Pain & Francis, 2002).
Being part of that community or social situation can be a great way to help solve the problem in question and create a solution to create a positive behavioral, social change. It gives a new and reliable perspective to the issue in question by making the researcher completely aware of the specifics. Once this data and research is gathered, there can be genuinely effective interventions as a result of participatory research.
Pain, F., & Francis, P. (2003). Reflections on participatory research. Area, 35(1), 46-54. doi:10.1111/1475-4762.00109
Schneider, F.W., Gruman J.A., & Coutts, L.M. (2017). Applied Social Psychology: Understanding and Addressing Social and Practical Problems (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.
Pennsylvania State University World Campus (2019). PSYCH 424 :
Applied Social Psychology, Lesson 13: Social Change/Participatory Research. Retrieved on November 19, 2019 from: https://psu.instructure.com/courses/2008549/modules/items/27030759
Image: Diagram adapted from Chevalier, J. M. and Buckles, D. J. (2013) Participatory Action Research: Theory and Methods for Engaged Inquiry, Routledge UK