Engaging Youth in Participatory Research and Evaluation
Participatory approaches such as “action research” and “empowerment evaluation” have gained increasing recognition and use among scholars and practitioners across a wide range of disciplines.1 Although they have evolved over the past several decades from various traditions of theory and practice, participatory approaches share common underlying themes. They encourage oppressed or marginalized groups to collectively study the issues and conditions that affect their health and well-being, while also encouraging respect for, and use of, multiple perspectives and methodologies. By promoting critical thinking and the exploration of the social circumstances related to research questions, participatory research goes beyond mere fact-gathering and report-writing and uses the knowledge gained to guide and energize collective change in communities, organizations, programs, and the research participants themselves. It relies on local knowledge and emphasizes the involvement of nonacademics who have expertise as individuals who live the research issue. 


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