Cooperation in research – here’s how it works

Jan 27, 2015 | Research/Cooperation

”Participatory Research”, an open course for doctoral students and practitioners at MDH, offers an introduction to research based on cooperation between researchers and practitioners, for the benefit of both. The course will start on 16 February.

– MDH has coproduction as its top priority, and here is a course that presents strategies and working methods for coproduction in research. Participatory research constitutes an important tradition, where cooperation between researchers and practitioners benefits both parties, says Erik Lindhult, who is the course coordinator together with Pirjo Lahdenperä.

Participatory research, also known as action research or, in Swedish, deltagarbaserad forskning, has a tradition of wanting to make research and research education more democratic.

– Through participatory research, universities open up for joint projects with organizations and other parties in society where people want to improve their situation. Coproduction strengthens the links between the tertiary education sector and society at large, says Erik Lindhult.

The researchers become more interactive with respect to people in society, which makes the research relevant, as it focuses on concrete problems. The researchers need to reconsider their role and how it changes in cooperation with practitioners, who often will have an active role themselves in the project. This, too, contributes to more relevant and useful research. At MDH, there are several good examples of such projects, for example within Samhällskontraktet (‘the Social Contract’).

– By being closer to reality, it is often possible to contextualize one’s project in a better way and to collect more relevant data, which will result in better research, says Erik Lindhult.

Those interested in applying for the course – or learning more about it – can contact Erik Lindhult or Pirjo Lahdenperä.

The course starts on 16 February and comprises a total of four full days spread out over the year. Both Swedish and English can be used in course work and group discussions. Lectures and joint sessions will be held in English. The course is offered in cooperation with SPARC, the Swedish Participatory Action Research Community, and is worth 7.5 credits.