How can participatory research methods be used to improve research with refugees?
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Participatory research methods have been successfully implemented with multiple refugee communities and have covered various topics.
General principles of participatory research include viewing community members as co-researchers, creating advisory boards, involving community members in all steps of the research project, and highlighting community expertise on their own lived experiences
Community empowerment and skill building should also be central themes to participatory research: Researchers should encourage community members to share their strengths and build new skills that could lead to better understanding of community needs and potential solutions to address community-identified issues
Refugee service providers can use the elements of participatory research in programmatic development.
Participatory research methods are adaptable by nature, allowing providers and researchers to change the project direction as needs are identified
Partnerships should involve an iterative process that allows community members to provide feedback and guidance in programmatic development
Power dynamics and the ethics of participation for community members need to be closely watched and controlled for through open communication and mitigation of any potential negative impacts