The methodological approach we adopt in most of our research can be described as participatory research. In the research area of environmental governance, our inquiry is more theory-driven and fundamental research-oriented.

The goal of participatory research is to gain a deep understanding of the concrete logics of action of individuals, groups and organizations in a discursive or decision-making process through a critical analysis and diagnostic reflexivity. Here, theory development occurs through an iterative process of research, consulting and joint reflection. The kind of interaction between researchers and research ‘objects’ during a study is therefore the main difference between participatory and fundamental social research. 

Participatory research implies that people, i.e., individuals, groups and organizations, engage in defining and analyzing a problem and developing a response to it through appropriate tools and measures. The researcher takes a role of a consultant, crisis manager and sometimes promoter of the ‘solution’. Contrary to action research, the researcher does not participate in the implementation of a solution, but seeks to adopt the position of external evaluator or possibly mediator. 

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