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This concluding chapter revisits the key characteristics of participatory research and links them with wellbeing and social justice in order to give the reader a framework within which to create positive social change with communities.

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This chapter is concerned with the practical task in ‘getting on with’ research. Key aspects of research are presented here that are often neglected in other research texts including project management, teamwork and problem solving. These are vital keys to successful research. The chapter also acknowledges the ‘messiness’ inherent in most research rather than making it look neat and tidy. Once you have completed a research project it is important to review how well the process went and how impactful the findings have been in order for everyone to gain the most learning from the experience – tools for evaluation and review are suggested for ease of use.

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This chapter provides a clear and logical set of stages which comprise the research cycle. The rest of the book is organised around each of these stages of research. Working through these stages step by step gives a practical framework to support you and the co-researchers to plan a research project. The chapter provides an overview of what each of the ten stages entail and there is a later chapter focused on each one in more depth. Each of these stages could be the focus of a conversation with your group, or could comprise a workshop and set of formal activities – how much depth and formality is appropriate is entirely up to you.

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This chapter describes a range of audiences for research findings in order to support the reader to tailor communication to their specific needs. The chapter guides the reader through a process of identifying key messages to those audiences and the type of output they would be most likely to pay attention to. A range of different outputs are described and a structure for each is suggested. The importance of disseminating research findings in order to achieve social change and to improve social justice is highlighted as a key aspect of participatory research.

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This chapter presents an overview of the field of ethics and provides a description of the key ethical considerations in all research and through a participatory research lens. This chapter suggests that, whilst pre-planning ethics is important, it is also the ongoing monitoring of ethics throughout the research project that is particularly valuable. This chapter also highlights the potential to be dealing with two sets of levels of ethical considerations – those that relate to the co-researchers and those that relate to the people they wish to participate in their research.

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This chapter provides an overview of common data collection tools to introduce the reader to the wide range of possibilities. A description of each data collection tool is provided along with design tips. The further reading section provides the reader with additional resources to follow up on any tools that are of interest. Attention is drawn to the data collection tools that are particularly good at promoting participation. The chapter highlights potential tensions in who decides on the data collection tools and the amount of knowledge or ‘training’ co-researchers may need in order to do so.

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This chapter outlines the key research approaches associated with participatory research. The chapter gives a brief overview of the building blocks of a research approach which include: participatory methods, participatory sampling, types of participation, engagement and recruitment, participatory data collection and analysis, ethics in participatory research, quality in participatory research and dissemination – or sharing findings. The overview of these areas helps the reader to keep research alignment in mind and to understand the particular demands participatory research makes in each. The following chapters explore each of these areas of the approach in more depth.

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This chapter introduces the concept of participatory research and then sets the scene for the rest of the book. It provides an overview of the contents and style of the book, and tips on how to read it.

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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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Avoiding both over-simplification and jargon-riddled complexity, this book is an invaluable, straightforward guide to participatory research for you and your fellow practitioners working with community groups and organisations.

The book offers a blueprint for your research project, taking you through each stage of the process, from planning your project to disseminating your findings. Keeping in mind imperatives such as engagement, involvement and voice, the book explores how best to conduct your research in ways which are meaningful for the participants.

The book includes valuable resources such as reflection points, chapter summaries and further reading lists. It will encourage and empower practitioners to plan and execute participatory research projects with confidence.

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