Resident experts: The potential of critical Participatory Action Research to inform public housing research and practice

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Action Research

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Policies affecting those living in poverty are often created without the direct and meaningful participation of the people meant to be served. This has been especially the case with public housing. To contextualize the need for alternative approaches to inquiry, we begin by examining the history of public housing through the lens of oppression and present critical Participatory Action Research as an alternative approach to research and policy-making. We provide a case study of a critical Participatory Action Research project sited in a public housing project slated for redevelopment. We conclude that engaging ‘‘resident experts’’ in the research process heightened the validity and credibility of the findings, amplified residents’ self-determination, and provided greater congruence between the researchers’ social justice values and our research methods.


Amie Thurber was affiliated with Vanderbilt University at the time of publication.

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