Collaborative Research

This group is intended as a discussion space for collaborative research projects where people in different contexts work together to address issues they are interested in.

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Latest Activity: Feb 15, 2022

Introduction to participatory action research (for complex adaptive problems)


PAR in the WASH sector 1 Reply

Here a link to PAR work initiated by IRC International Water and…Continue


Started by Peter J. Bury. Last reply by Philipp Grunewald Feb 10, 2014.

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Comment by Nancy White on September 25, 2014 at 3:50pm

I don't know, but I suspect that discreet projects with timelines help me! :-)_

Comment by Philipp Grunewald on September 25, 2014 at 10:04am

Hi Nancy,

agreed. How can a space create little enough workload, short term rewards and yet be set up in the spirit of long term learning and development?

Where to put the lever?


Comment by Nancy White on September 25, 2014 at 4:54am

Hi Philipp

I think it is a tough boundary because in some ways it asks people to turn a bit away from their main focus, and people in development seem to be challenged by that -- for lots of reasons. So good intentions don't translate into action. 

The opportunities for engagement are short, versus long term committed, in my experience. I think we still need to challenge this.

Comment by Philipp Grunewald on September 24, 2014 at 11:13am

Hey Guys,

just thought about having been eager to take this forward a few months ago.

I have to say, I made a few more attempts offline to engage people at the boundary of academia and practice to come up with some new ways of going about things but I have been remarkably unsuccessful.


I was wondering if anyone else here is actually doing some stuff at that boundary with regards to KM4Dev?

If so, are you doing it with more than one organisation at a time? Is there an element of cases feeding from each other?


Just curious.




Comment by Philipp Grunewald on February 6, 2014 at 9:17pm

Short and readable: Collective impact. On collaboration:

Comment by Nancy White on February 6, 2014 at 8:03pm

Living. Magic.

Comment by Philipp Grunewald on February 6, 2014 at 6:21pm

I think so. Their underlying philosophies and values are very similar to what we are looking for I believe.

However, they struggle as much with conventional thinking as we do (funding, demonstrating impact, etc.). It is those boundaries where different ways of thinking meet that I think the magic happens. I am trying, sort of, to find the middle way.

Comment by Nancy White on February 6, 2014 at 6:15pm

Isn't this what movements like Transition Towns are all about? Living it, vs making something an empheral project? 

Comment by Philipp Grunewald on February 6, 2014 at 6:08pm

Hello all,

Nancy, I am in a position where I think that I do not want to engage in something where I feel I foster dependencies. Whenever we do not address unequal relationships we are (unconsciously) reinforcing them and I think there is plenty about without me adding. So, if PAR does not happen on an equal contribution basis I just feel I should stay out of it.

This is where John's comment comes in; not many consultants get to play that role. You are making this call now (we will go away if not...) but that is possible because you can!

I agree with John and would say that actually most learning happens when we look away. The things we take for granted are the things that have the biggest impact on who we are. But then how do we imagine a different future and change things if conscious commitment does not play a role?

Comment by Nancy White on February 6, 2014 at 6:03pm

Scroll down to "A new way of learning" and read...


Participating is learning. By observing and chiming in with your ideas in an online community, over time you’re learning several things: the domain of the community (i.e. code, techno, lolzcatz), and how to communicate within it (i.e. communication tools, but also etiquette, are emotiji appropriate?). An online presence is a blend of “soft” and “hard” skills, and they are interconnected.

Communities decide what’s acceptable. Voting an answer up-or-down, liking a post, or remixing a project--these are different levels of granularity, but anyone in the community can give feedback on any project. The community decides what’s good and what’s not, and folks who make stellar contributions are celebrated.

Feedback is key. It’s actually a core skill in a community of practice. Whether it’s leaving a comment on a post, suggestions on a project, or answering an open question, giving feedback is a way to apply the norms and values of a community. Giving feedback is also a kind of learning--in and of itself."


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