Reflections on the potential (and limits) of action research as ethos, methodology and practice: A case study of a women’s empowerment programme in the Middle East

Abstract provided on behalf of the authors: Suzanne Hammad, Alice Alunni, and Tamara Alkhas

This paper argues that an evidence-based approach to advocacy led by and targeting women could amplify women’s positioning in the political and economic realms. Participatory Action Research is examined as a process for mobilisation, coalition-building and evidence-based advocacy and action, through a case study of a multi-country British Council supported programme that incorporated an action research approach.1 Drawing from the experiences and perceptions of its participants, it offers reflective insights into the theory and practice of action research and its empowerment potential. The findings confirm a widespread support for the use of Participatory Action Research as a starting point for stronger advocacy work, showing its positive transformative effects on individuals, groups and coalition. Participatory Action Research contributes to evidence-based advocacy that is more relevant and inclusive, and arguably empowering for women advocates.

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