In this paper we explore the ways in which a group of doctoral students grapples with the epistemology of participatory action research (PAR) in relation to their own personal and professional identities and research agendas while taking a course on PAR. As a professor of research methodology and two doctoral students, we examine the entangled and often hidden processes of teaching and learning PAR in order to identify experiences or events that seem to prompt or deepen novice scholars’ understanding and foster confidence in their ability to enact the methodology themselves. Through analysis of participants’ course journals as a type of reflexive researcher identity development record, we draw on narrative inquiry and Carspecken’s concept of identity claims to systematically explore the participants’ experiences and trace their journeys as they encounter concerns about ethics, power dynamics, and the logistics of a “messy” methodology.


Participatory Action Research, Narrative Analysis, Researcher Identity, Reflexivity, Positionality

Author Bio(s)

Meagan Call-Cummings, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Qualitative Methods at the George Mason University’s Graduate School of Education. She writes on critical, participatory, and feminist qualitative methodology, with a specific focus on how validity and ethics are conceptualized. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: mcallcum@gmu.edu.

Melissa Hauber-Özer, M.Ed., Ph.D. student in International Education at George Mason University’s Graduate School of Education. Her research focuses on language and literacy education in migration contexts and employs critical participatory methodology to examine the role of intersectional identities in integration experiences. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: mhauberr@gmu.edu.

Giovanni Dazzo, M.A., Ph.D. student in Research Methodology at George Mason University’s Graduate School of Education. His research focuses on critical, participatory, and emancipatory methodology and how it is operationalized in human rights and peacebuilding initiatives. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: gdazzo@gmu.edu.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.





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