Graduate students seeking the Certificate must complete the following requirements (or have the approval of the Advisory Board for any substitutions):


1) The 1-Hour Course: Current Issues in Participatory Research (for Fall 2020 the course is listed under COMM 900 – we are working on correcting the cross listing)

  • A required one-credit course entitled Current Issues in Participatory Research will be offered each fall semester. This course is taught on a rotating basis by faculty across various departments, so the specific course number will be posted on the website the semester before it is offered.
  • The primary goal of this course are to make students aware of current debates within participatory research, build their ability 4to converse about approaches and issues, and contribute to the building of a participatory network on the UNC campus.
  • The second goal is to provide intellectual events for the participatory research community.  Course participants will work with the instructor and community experts to organize events for a “seminar series” for the semester in which they are enrolled. This seminar series will be comprised of intellectual activities (e.g., a speaker series, reading group meetings) for the participatory research community at UNC.

2) The Core Course: Decolonizing Methodologies

  • The core course is a three-credit course that will occasionally rotate.  The course that will serve as the core course will be announced by the GCPR Advisory Board at the beginning of the semester before the course is offered. For the AY 2019-2020, the core course will be ANTH 898/GEOG 804 Decolonizing Methodologies co-taught by Patricia McAnany (Anthropology) and Andrew Curley (Geography). This course will be offered in the spring of 2020.
  • The core course will introduce students to the history of participatory reImagesearch and explore a range of participatory research approaches. The commitment to democratizing research and the importance of respect for the knowledge, understandings and values of the community are emphasized.  Different means of ensuring community input into the steps of the research, and of increasing the value of the research for the community will be explored in this course.  Ethics, IRB and other training for research with human subjects will be explicitly addressed. A major aim of the course is to convey the complexities and dilemmas of such research.

In the interest of maintaining widespread faculty interest and involvement in the core course, and in giving a range of faculty across the departments involved in the certificate program the chance to teach the core course, the Advisory Board for the GCPR hopes to rotate the core course at least every four years. Still, regardless of which department hosts the course, and which instructor leads it, the core course will cover theory, rationale, core competencies, and ethics of participatory research methods.

3)  The Elective Course

  • Students are required to take 1 approved elective course that will provide additional in-depth exposure to participatory research and methods, and is meant to enrich each student’s specific interests in participatory methodologies and theories.
  • The Advisory Board will designate an updated list of courses satisfying the elective requirement. This list is posted under the “Courses” tab of our website.
  • Faculty teaching participatory research courses will include community experts as speakers in their courses when possible.

4) The Practicum in Participatory Methods

  • The practicum involves the student in a supervised, hands-on experience with participatory research. It is arranged by the student and can take place at any point in the student’s career after they have taken the core course. Within the first two weeks of the semester, the student will develop a research contract with the supervising faculty that outlines the sco12pe of work, approach/methods for working with the community, learning objectives, and
    anticipated products.
  • As part of the contract, the student will need to submit regular reports to the faculty supervisor on their progress and any dilemmas they are facing in their project.  In advance of the first day of final exams for the semester, the student must submit an electronic portfolio to the supervising faculty with e-copies of 1) these reports, 2) a reflection on the overall experience, 3) any products submitted to the community, 4) at least two responses from community members about the student’s efforts, and 5) an executive one page summary of the project goals, outcomes, and lessons learned.
  • The evaluation of the student, made by the supervising faculty will be based on whether and how well the student completed his/her contract, the statements from the community, the quality of the reports, and the strength of the reflection.
  • The research can be associated with ongoing participatory research such as that being conducted by the Warren County/UNC-CH SPARC (Sustained Participatory Research Collaborations).  Or, it could be designed in relation to a field site of the students own choosing.
  • The practicum should be arranged as an independent graduate research course with an affiliated faculty member of the CIPR or an approved member of the student’s committee chair or dissertation advisor. The course number will be that of the independent graduate research course associated with the department of the supervising faculty.  For example, if the supervising faculty is in Geography, the course will be GEOG 900: Special Work in Geography.

5) Workshops

  • Students are required to participate in at least two workshops on some facet of participatory research. These workshops are offered by Centers on campus, e.g., the Carolina Center for Public Service, the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevent in collaboration with NCTRACs, the Stone Center, the American Indian Center, the Institute for the Study of the Americas, and the Odum Institute.  Students are also encouraged to attend workshops offered by nearby institutions such as Duke University, North Carolina Central University, North Carolina State University, UNC-Charlotte, and UNC-Greensboro.
  • The student will be responsible for documenting their completion of two workshops by obtaining a signed description of the date, place, and focus of the workshop from the instructor.  These signed sheets are to be submitted to the Certificate Director with the student’s list of courses for completion of the Certificate.