Participatory approaches in water research: A review

Anais Roque, Amber Wutich, Barbara Quimby, Sarah Porter, Madeleine Zheng, Mohammed Jobayer Hossain, Alexandra Brewis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Participatory research approaches address a range of problems in water research, including the under-valuation of local knowledge, exclusion of marginalized people, preferential treatment of elite and expert perspectives, and extractive and exploitative research practices. Beyond this, a number of participatory approaches to water research are designed to empower participants, democratize knowledge production, improve decision-making, and help bring about new environmental futures. In this primer, we map participatory research approaches and explain how they have been applied to advance water research. Our review focuses on the following eight approaches: participatory action research, community-based participatory research, participatory rural appraisal, stakeholder research, participatory modeling, photovoice, citizen science, and sustainable future scenarios. We conclude by discussing a new approach, Participatory Convergence research, including how it builds from other approaches and its prospects to advance water research. This article is categorized under: Human Water > Water Governance Engineering Water > Methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1577
JournalWiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Water
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022


  • community engagement
  • participatory convergence
  • participatory research
  • stakeholder research
  • water research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Ecology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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