I was able to base parts of my webinar on my knowledge of Participatory Action Research (PAR) gained through my Ph.D. work, delve deeper into PAR as a method and approach to research, and learn about how PAR fits with AGE-WELL as a whole. Ultimately, this was a great opportunity to grasp and disseminate the importance of the work we do in OA-INVOLVE. To me, one of PAR’s greatest strengths is that it aims to prioritize participant/advisor/co-researcher perspectives (in this case, older adults), by co-creating parts (or all) of the research.
Since then, I’ve really experienced our improvement as a group in increasing our Older Adult Research Partner Group’s (OARPG) involvement. Being able to be at the AGE-WELL conference in Winnipeg and watch the OARPG’s conference presentation was a really wonderful experience for us, as well as others in attendance. We were able to learn from the OARPG, as they discussed their experiences and insights, and we were also able to increase the participatory nature of our work, as we began to include older adults as co-researchers in OA-INVOLVE. Since then, we continue to gain insights from the OARPG and understand how we can improve the participatory nature of our work. The OARPG is definitely key to our success as OA-INVOLVE.
By Oriana Vaccarino, University of Gueplh