Action Research for Citizen-Led Change

Action Research for Citizen-led Change

June 14 – July 30, 2021
Applications for this program are now closed

Facilitator: Veronica Torres

Online delivery

The process of undertaking research is designed to build knowledge. In almost all types, citizens should be consulted and invited to participate, and they should find some the process and results useful. But whose knowledge is built in the process, how are they acknowledged, and how is the knowledge shared? Who is involved in the analysis of the data? Who retains ownership of the knowledge, who is using it, and who is affected by it?

This course covers the fundamentals of action research for citizen-led change. This course will accompany you in identifying and undertaking research that engages citizens more fully from the outset in a spirit of co-learning. Focused at the community level, we will be examining research designs that incorporate an intersectional and gendered approach, and that build knowledge among local citizens so that they have the power and confidence to effect change, alongside allies and partners. As part of this course, you will develop a community action research initiative step-by-step over seven weeks, learning about the principles and methods appropriate for different action research purposes.

Benefits and Learning Objectives 

During this course, you will:

  • Learn about the range of possibilities and purposes for action research in local and international contexts.
  • Understand the action research cycle and the role of community members and other stakeholders in designing, conducting, and producing action research.
  • Articulate your own assumptions to be challenged or confirmed during action research.
  • Test a range of tools for sharing with your community.
  • Evaluate different research methods for their contribution to citizen action.
  • Understand and act on the ethical issues relevant to action research.

Your organization will:

  • Increase capacity to design and co-ordinate research that contributes to citizen-led action and considers gender equity, diversity, and inclusion.
  • Improve its ability to critically evaluate research and researchers.
  • Exercise greater influence as stewards of ethical and effective research practice.

Time Requirement

As a course participant, you can expect to spend approximately 8 hours per week, over seven weeks.

Technology Requirement 

  • Computer or laptop 
  • Reliable internet access (high speed is recommended) 
  • Speakers and microphone 

Online Learning Experience

As a blended model of delivery, you will have the opportunity to engage in learning activities through asynchronous discussion forums (Moodle) and also through live discussions (Zoom).

Each week, you will engage online in small and whole group forums. Once per week, there will be a one-hour session in Zoom where we will gather for a real-time, facilitated discussion with peers and the course facilitator(s). If unable to attend the live session, you will be expected to download the recording and to engage in follow-up conversation on the session topic in the asynchronous forum before the end of the week. As a participant, you are expected to engage with your peers in the online space at least two or three times per week, and to complete course assignments on time. Course readings can also be downloaded to read offline. There will be an opportunity for some follow-up mentorship support for those implementing their research following the course completion.

Who Should Apply?

This program is designed for experienced practitioners who are interested in developing skills in action research practice for citizen-led development. English language proficiency is required.


The tuition fee for this course is $850. Coady Institute strives to ensure change leaders working in communities around the world have access to its courses. This is made possible through the provision of bursaries that are funded by many individual and institutional donors. Partial bursaries of up to $475 are available for qualifying candidates. Through Coady’s Circle of Abundance, a limited number of full bursaries are available to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit participants residing in Canada. Those receiving a bursary will be responsible for paying the balance of their tuition before the designated deadline.

Full bursaries are available from the Centre for Employment Innovation (CEI) for eligible applicants from Nova Scotia. This includes applicants working for a program or agency engaged in employment services delivery, or engaged in social innovation activities to alleviate poverty, strengthen livelihoods, and create more equitable employment and entrepreneurial opportunities with and for systemically oppressed groups. For more information, visit the CEI Bursary Program page.


Please Note

Please note that Coady Institute does not accept third party applications. Individuals need to submit their application via Coady’s website and should use caution when approached by those offering services to complete the application and admissions process.