African Journal of Health Professions Education

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Participatory action research: The key to successful implementation of innovations in health professions education

AG Mubuuke, B Leibowitz


Background. Health professions training is undergoing major innovative changes aimed at improving the quality of health professionals.
Unfortunately many of these innovative changes in training have met resistance from lecturers and students simply because they are just imposed on them. One way of ensuring acceptability and success of innovative and evidence-based training methods in health sciences could be the use of participatory action research approaches.
Objectives. To explore the experiences of students and lecturers as well as identify potential benefits regarding the use of a participatory action
research approach in a real learning context.
Methods. This was an action research study using a participatory approach.
Research findings. Participants reported satisfaction with the action research process and said it was a valuable learning experience. Key benefits of participatory action research identified included: empowering and actively engaging participants, combination of scholarly work, learning and immediate action, promotion of collaborative inquiry and team-work in initiating changes in training.
Conclusion. Participatory action research has the potential to result in acceptable and sustainable educational innovations because it involves the
active involvement of all stakeholders affected by these interventions.
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