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Empowering Workers and Learners through a Combined Participatory Action Research and Research Justice Approach

Sophia L. Ángeles, Michele J. Wong, Janna Shadduck-Hernández, Preeti Sharma

February 8, 2022

Education, Young Workers, Article


The UCLA Labor Center used a combined participatory action research and research justice approach to study the challenges faced by workers and learners. Workers and learners are students who work while studying throughout their college careers. This research project has been carried out with the assistance of undergraduate students and college partners. We outline in detail the process we undertook to involve more than 500 students, beginning with the study design and ending with the dissemination of study results. We discuss the ways in which we, as researchers, were able to intentionally engage participants and honor their knowledge throughout the research process in order to advance policy reforms. This work entails of incorporating tenets of participatory action research (PAR) and Research Justice (RJ) to build the capacity of partners to produce knowledge. To this end, the work involves participants in every step of the knowledge lifecycle so that research across varying disciplines can impact education and employment policies that improve conditions for workers and learners in workplaces and universities and colleges.

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