Abstract

This paper argues that participatory research is an approach to developing knowledge that can make significant contributions to occupational therapy. One project, working with older adults in Toronto to organize a new seniors’ organization, is used to illustrate the ways in which this approach is participatory and how it can be understood as research. Other examples of participatory research from the occupational therapy literature are then presented. These include research among occupational therapists and research with participants who are typically clients of occupational therapy services. The examples are used to illustrate the conceptual links between client-centered, occupation-based occupational therapy and participatory research. Challenges of adopting a participatory research approach in occupational therapy are discussed, although many of these can be addressed through open discussions with participants. The paper concludes that participatory research is an approach to research that should be pursued more actively in occupational therapy.

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