Colchester, United Kingdom

Using Participatory Research Methods in Political Science Research

online course
when 29 July 2024 - 2 August 2024
language English
duration 1 week
credits 4 EC
fee GBP 492

Learn to adeptly apply narrative, visual, and creative participatory research methods in your research, addressing ethical challenges and acquiring the tools for effective design and implementation.

Need to Know

No prior experience in participatory research methods is required, but some knowledge of qualitative research methods is recommended.

In Depth- Key topics covered

Day 1: Introduction
- Introduction to key theories and approaches in PR
- Analysis of the key concepts (in particular, participation, power, complexity, change)
- Case study (cooperative inquiry)
- Introduction and practice of a participatory research method

Day 2: Presentation and discussion
- Practice and reflect on the research method.
- Visual methods, ethics and care in PR
- Case study (peer researchers and narrative methods)

Over days 1 and 2, you will analyse two case studies of participatory research and the specific methods used in them. One case study will focus on international development, using storytelling and collective analysis, while the other will be based on a UK context and will utilise cooperative inquiry with visual methods. These case studies will draw on the Instructor’s own experiences in participatory research, addressing issues such as discrimination in Bangladesh, and citizenship in the UK and Nicaragua.

Day 3: Practice
- Practice of using PMs
- Collective analysis
- Working with co-inquirers/ peer researchers
- Design principles

You will participate in small group work to practise group-based methods such as causal mapping and collective analysis. The Instructor will provide you with practical and interactive guidance on facilitation and research design. After the class, you will sketch out your initial ideas for your PR design.

Day 4: Facilitation and Design surgery I
- Principles and practice of facilitating research inquiry groups
- Practical method for group analysis
- Case study (peer researchers and narrative methods)

We will discuss a question from your research connected to the methods presented, followed by a practical training session in design and process principles. You will further develop a plan for your participatory research process, with after-class support from peers and the Instructor.

Day 5: Design surgery II
- Quality and validity in participatory research
- Presentations and feedback on your research designs

How the course will work online

The course consists of asynchronous pre-class assignments such as readings, individual reflection/journalling, and small peer-group discussions on emerging research plans, and daily 3 hour in-person sessions on Zoom. Presentations will be combined with Q&A sessions and small-group work.

Throughout the course, you will work collaboratively in Miro. If you are unfamiliar with this software, there will be a one-hour introductory session in advance of the course.

The instructor will also offer designated office hours for one-to-one consultations.

Course leader

Jo Howard - Research Fellow and Leader of the Participation, Inclusion & Social Change Cluster, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex. Jo focuses on participatory and action research processes with people in poverty and marginalisation.

Target group

Researchers and doctoral students seeking to develop participatory research skills.

Course aim

By the end of this course, you will:
- understand and practise how to use appropriate narrative, visual and creative PR methods within a research process
appreciate the ethical, political and practical challenges involved;
- learn the conceptual and practical tools necessary for designing and carrying out participatory research in your PhD or research project.
- design a participatory research process relevant for your own work, and receive feedback.

The highly interactive sessions allow you to share knowledge with other researchers, providing space to generate new ideas and solutions. The course will be delivered synchronously online. Between each session, there will be additional tasks for both individuals and groups.

Prior to the course, you’ll be given some essential readings and asked to write a short journal entry. You are also invited to come to the course with a critical question you are addressing in your research project. Over the week, you will explore this question and practice designing your own participatory research process. Case studies of PR in different contexts will be provided.

Credits info

4 EC
You can earn up to four credits for attending this course.
3 ECTS credits – Attend 100% of live sessions and engage fully with class activities.
4 ECTS credits – Attend 100% of live sessions, engage fully with class activities and complete a post-class assignment.

Fee info

GBP 492: ECPR member - check whether your institution is a member here:
GBP 985: ECPR non-member


Funding applications for the 2024 ECPR Methods School summer programme are now opening for applications. Apply before mid-April 2024. For more details on funding opportunities for ECPR's other events, please visit