Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Kenneth Williamson, Ph.D.


Community development, Educational anthropology, Non-governmental organizations


The present study investigates the instructional and organizational strategies used by participatory action research (PAR) facilitators at the Summer Youth Research Institute of the Institute for Community Research in Hartford, Connecticut (US), a six-week program that engages urban multi-ethnic teenagers in youth participatory action research (YPAR) for social change. During the last three decades, PAR has proven to be a very effective methodology for creating sustainable solutions to social problems by involving community members in the process of identifying, investigating, and collectively resolving them. In particular, YPAR provides young people with the opportunity to study social problems that affect themselves and their communities. Through experiential learning, YPAR allows youth to understand that structural injustices are produced, not natural, and can be challenged. Youth discover spaces for hope and resistance and become agents of change for their own communities. While recent years have witnessed an increased effort from researchers and practitioners alike to apply PAR approaches to various fields within community and international development, little has been written addressing educators about the designing and implementation process of a curriculum in PAR methodology. The present exploratory ethnographic study aims to address the theory-practice gap of PAR literature, which offers only a limited number of case study analyses of the facilitation and implementation process of PAR projects, and offer advice for PAR facilitators which is currently lacking.