Participatory action research and impact: an ecological ripples perspective

Edison J. Trickett, Sarah Beehler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Assessment of the impact of varied forms of participatory research is enhanced by specific attention to the ripples, such work initiates in the social context. Ripples are defined as consequences either unintended or unanticipated by those carrying out the participatory research. Following a brief documentation of the range of reported ripples in reports describing participatory research, an ecological perspective drawing on the interdependence principle of ecological systems theory is presented as a framework for assessing impact by attending to ripples in the local context. Community asset mapping and social network analysis are described as examples of ways of describing and documenting environmental ripples, and strategies for both anticipating and reviewing ripples post hoc are discussed. The importance of developing cognitive maps of local ecology is stressed as critical to the assessment of the multiple potential impacts of participatory research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)525-540
Number of pages16
JournalEducational Action Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 8 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Educational Action Research.


  • Ecology
  • asset mapping
  • community assessment
  • participatory research
  • social networks
  • unanticipated consequences


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