Considers the potential use of operational research for strengthening community participation – terms that have formerly been employed ambiguously or with a variety of meanings. Begins by providing some explanation of “operational research”, identifying specifically those factors which have prompted the development of a “new paradigm” operational research. Of these, considers the need for new practices and particularly the value of operational research adopting practices derivative from participatory research. Outlines development of community operational research as an example of new paradigm operational research; some of the work of the Community Operational Research Unit in the UK is illustrated. Concludes by examining the value of community operational research as a potential tool for strengthening community participation.
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