n Journal of Public Administration - Research innovation in public and development management : locating Participatory Learning and Action (PLA) in the participatory development debate

Volume 42, Issue 6
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



The article calls for an appreciation of alternative social research methods. In so doing the argument moves away from the dangers of an over-emphasis on quantitative strategies towards action research methodology. Disciplines like Public and Development Management/Public Administration do not have a tradition of alternative research methodology. Participatory Learning and Action is part of a growing family of action research methodology and exposes the researcher to the meaning-giving social context of the beneficiaries of development. In the article the important issue of participatory development management is located in the development theory and strategy debate. Through participatory learning and action strategies the researcher becomes a partner with the research respondents. Public and Development Management/Public Administration researchers and lecturers can only improve their holistic understanding of the multidimensional context in which development research and intervention takes place if they expose themselves to action research methodology.

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