MEDFL5265 – Community-Based Participatory Action Research

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

In Community-Based Participatory Action Research (PAR), production of knowledge is carried out in partnership between community members and researchers. Representing an orientation to research rather than a research method in its own right, participatory research approaches have grown rapidly in the medical and health science in recent years. Collaborative research approaches positon researchers and communities as partners who engage jointly and equitably in the formulation, execution and utilization of research. The research venture aims to become a co-learning process and foregrounds capacity building, empowerment and power sharing. Participatory research can be carried out with groups and communities of many different kinds, including grassroots organizations, groups sharing a certain disease or infirmity (e.g. a patient interest group or a disability association), groups with shared risks or vulnerabilities, geographically defined communities, minority populations (e.g. an ethnic or sexual minority community), groups with shared circumstances (e.g. an age-based group or a community of nursing home residents), or groups engaging in similar work (e.g. a community of co-workers, professionals or students). Through a mix of lectures, discussions, case studies and group work, this course will aim to provide participants with knowledge about the principles of community-based participatory research, the epistemological underpinnings of such research, and the practical conduct of such research in the context of medical and health research.

Learning outcome


This course will give you knowledge about

  • the characteristics and principles of community-based participatory action Research,

  • the settings in which PAR may be productivly used,

  • the epistomological underpinnings of PAR,

  • methodological consideration in PAR, and

  • the Development and conduct of PAR in the context of Medical and Health research


This course will give you the skills to

  • identify and discuss important issues that may be productively addressed through the use of PAR

  • engage With and critique astudies that uses PAR

  • use elements of PAR in Your own research

  • critically discuss other (non-PAR) Research in the light of rational and approaches deriving from PAR

Generel competence

This course will provde you With competence and skills to

  • reflect on and discuss relations between knowledge and action

  • reflect on and discuss relations between researchers and researched

  • critically assess Research employing(and not employing) participatory approaches


The course is restricted to students at the Medical Student Research Programme at the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Dentistry, UiO.

Students can apply in StudentWeb from 1 December until 1 February.

The courses MEDFL5265 and HES9265 have common admission.

Applicants will be notified by email 1 - 2 weeks after the final date for registration.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

Passed exam in another subject or equivalent.

Mandatory work/activity conducted in advance.

Recommended previous knowledge

Familarity with methods used in community-based/population-based research.

Overlapping courses

5 credits overlap with HES9265 – Community-Based Participatory Action Research



A mix of lectures, discussions, case studies, group work and course readings.



Language of examination

You may write your examination paper in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English.

Explanations and appeals

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Facts about this course






Every spring

29 March 2017 - 31 March 2017



Every spring

Teaching language


English, if English speaking participants. Otherwise, Scandinavian.