Linking Community, Radio, and Action Research on Climate Change: Reflections on a Systemic Approach

Blane Harvey, Danny Burns, Katy Oswald
Volume 43 Issue 3
Published: 22 January 2016
Abstract: This article reflects upon the opportunities and challenges of using Participatory Action Research (PAR) with community radio broadcasters in southern Ghana to investigate the impacts of climate change. Through a detailed outline of the methodological approach employed in this initiative as well as the findings that it produced, we consider how action research might serve to reveal the power relations, systemic drivers of vulnerability, and opportunities for sustainable action for social change related to climate impacts. As co‐facilitators of this process based in a Northern research institution, we reflect upon the challenges, limitations and benefits of the approach used in order to identify potential areas for improvement and to understand how the dynamics of this partnership shaped collaboration. We also discuss how employing a systemic approach to action research helped to provide insights into the interactions between the physical and environmental impacts of climate change and related systems such as land tenure and agricultural production. A systemic approach to PAR, we argue, lends itself especially well to analysis of climate change adaptation and resilience, both of which are embedded within complex systems of institutions, assets, individuals and structures, and therefore not appropriate for narrow or one‐dimensional analyses. Finally, we consider the specific contributions and challenges that engaging community radio as a research partner may offer to investigations on climate change.
From Issue: Vol 43, No 3 (2012) | Action Research for Development and Social Change