1: Just what is participatory research?

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This chapter introduces the concept of research generically and then participatory research as the focus of this book. The chapter explains how participatory research is situated amongst many other types of research, in order to ease the complexity. The chapter presents a clear definition of participatory research along with its benefits and challenges. Key roles of researcher, co-research and participant are explained. Attention is drawn to the way participatory research aims to contribute to social justice. The chapter is designed to help the reader to understand and in turn communicate to others why this type of research is so important.

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