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Voicing researched activists with responsive action research

Orestis Varkarolis (Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK)
Daniel King (Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK)

Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management

ISSN: 1746-5648

Article publication date: 13 November 2017



What it is like to experience being the subject of the research process when you are an actor within a new social movement organization? And what lessons can be learned for researchers engaging with members of New Social Movements? Debates on engagement and the relationship between the researcher and the researched so far have taken the perspective solely of the researcher. Based on insights gained by full participation in a horizontal worker cooperative, the purpose of this paper is to contribute to the facilitation of more fruitful, mutually engaging research relations between organizational theory scholars and members of New Social Movement organizations by voicing the researched in this debate.


After providing some accounts from the researched point of view, the paper focuses on crafting an appropriate research process based on participatory action research (PAR) ethos and experience.


Since the research findings suggest that PAR combines elements that both trouble and inspire research participants, namely, workload/availability and relevancy/contribution in practice, the authors introduce and provide a case study of responsive action research that emphasizes adaptation and responsiveness in the research process instead of shared governance.


The originality of this paper lies in voicing the research participants with the aim to aid both scholars and social movements adopt appropriate research designs for the mutual benefit of both theory/action and researchers/researched (even when researchers are already active in the field).



Varkarolis, O. and King, D. (2017), "Voicing researched activists with responsive action research", Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management, Vol. 12 No. 4, pp. 315-334.



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