Participatory Research in HP SIG


Participatory (action) research is a promising and innovative approach to increase the effectiveness and impact of health promotion and to address public health “wicked” problems (such as the obesity epidemic) which are particularly resistant to resolution, specifically in vulnerable and difficult to reach populations. The underlying assumption is that the persons whose life or work is the subject of the research actively collaborate with academic researchers throughout the research process. This requires a power-sharing governance between academic and non-academic stakeholders and is believed to result in increased feelings of empowerment, mutual learning and innovative insights that are helpful in gaining an in-depth understanding of specific health promotion issues and potential solutions. The use of participatory research in health promotion has grown in recent years, with many researchers being convinced about its value. It is currently also expected, and often demanded, by funders, governments and policy makers to democratise and accelerate the impact of research and projects. However, researchers also struggle with challenges related to how participatory research should be planned, conducted, evaluated and governed to ensure participatory research is trustworthy, equitable and improves the quality of research towards effective solutions for public health problems (e.g. what are the optimal circumstances, environments and processes for successful participation; how to deal with ethical issues such as unintended consequences and conflicts; what level of participation is needed/desirable throughout the different phases of participatory research projects”; how to engage stakeholders for an active commitment), suggesting exchanging and advancing knowledge would be of added value.


Therefore, this SIG aims to build a community of ISBNPA members who conduct or have an interest in using participatory research in health promotion focusing on nutrition, physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep. We will provide a forum to (a) exchange views and experiences, (b) discuss challenges that comes along with participatory research, (c) promote and support high-quality participatory research, and (d) encourage and organize activities at the annual ISBNPA meeting (e.g. symposia and workshops), i.e. supporting the aforementioned activities. We will communicate with the SIG members through webinars, social media, ISBNPA newsletter and face-to-face events at the annual ISBNPA meetings.

SIG Chairs

ass. Prof. dr. Teatske Altenburg (Amsterdam UMC, The Netherlands) 
ass. Prof. dr. Maïté Verloigne (Ghent University, Belgium)