Participatory Action Research links research directly to action. Researchers work closely with program staff and participants over the life of a project adjusting research priorities to fit the changing needs of the project as it develops. Clients and staff are empowered and have increased control over the project’s direction.
At Rainbow Research, we take great pride in our commitment to participatory approaches across all our services – from initial design through execution and sharing results. Engaging stakeholders not only ensures that we are always measuring the most important indicators as a project progresses, it also helps build staff capacity to collect and use information effectively in their programs.
One excellent example is the support Rainbow Research provided to the Ramsey County Permanent Families Recruitment Project. Rainbow staff worked with foster care and adopted youth to design and administer focus groups and analyze the results. The discussions revealed ‘tips’ that were shared widely with case workers and professionals and policy makers in the field.
Working from the sidelines throughout, Rainbow staff helped ensure the youths’ success as project leaders, building their self esteem and gaining insights from their perspectives.