Methodological Challenges in Participatory Action Research with Undocumented Central American Migrants
AbstractAn interdisciplinary participatory action research (PAR) project was designed in collaboration with local immigrant organizations to document the impact of deportation policy on Central American immigrant families living in the northeastern U.S. This paper reports on selected methodological challenges of university-based co-researchers in this community-university PAR process which is currently concluding its fourth year. The paper discusses the iterative action-reflection processes focusing on: (1) an overview of the PAR project and its multiple phases within the U.S. and in Guatemala; (2) select challenges and contributions of the PAR approach for participating immigrant families “living in the shadows” and, (3) methodological concerns from the three coauthors, who include a graduate student who joined the early stages of partnership-building; an assistant professor in the early stages of her career; and a senior scholar with many years of experience in activist scholarship. We conclude with thoughts on why, despite these challenges, PAR is “worth the trouble”.
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