Participatory Action Research and the "Right to Research"

Thursday, Nov 19, 2015
5:00 - 6:30 pm
Room 9-451

Presented by Dr. Alethia Jones, 1199SEIU Director of Education and Leadership Development and Dr. Sasha Costanza-Chock, Associate Professor of Civic Media, MIT

The production of scholarly research can reflect the status quo and reproduce inequities in society.  Those with more education, more resources, and more power are inherently given the right to explain why the world functions the way that it does.  However, these explanations may be biased or even incorrect because they lack other needed viewpoints.  Dr. Jones, the Director of Education and Leadership Development at 1199SEIU and Dr. Constanza-Chock, and associate professor at the MIT Center for Civic Media will discuss how PAR and the incorporation of different types of knowledge has fueled activism regarding labor rights in their own work.  With the goal of achieving social justice, these activist scholars will explain what the "right to research" means and requires.


MIT CoLab invites you to a weekly Participatory Action Research (PAR) speaker series on Thursday from October 15th - November 19th, 2015 from 5:00-6:30 PM in Room 9-451.  These talks are free and open to the public. 

PAR is a collaborative approach to inquiry, scholarship, and social justice in which the boundaries between "subjects" and "researchers" are blurred.  The subjects are no longer objects and become partners in the research process, which includes selection of the research topic, data collection and analysis, as well as decision-making about what action should happen as a result of the research findings.  Since PAR values situated knowledge and lived experience, innovation research methods outside the standard scientific framework are crucial to obtaining and analyzing information.  

In this series, we will explore how different individuals and organizations are practicing elements of participatory action research in their work to fight for labor rights, promote economic democracy, and organize against racial discrimination in the United States and abroad.  Futhermore, we will learn about creative methods to capture and disseminate knowledge with the aim of advancing social justice.