L’appropriation du processus de participation d'une recherche-action participative par des personnes utilisatrices de drogues engagées dans une démarche créative

Authors: Fradet, Lucie
Advisor: Dupéré, Sophie
Abstract: Participatory action research (PAR) is used in public health to better understand complex health and social issues and to find appropriate solutions. In addition, the participation of marginalized people in PAR has proven to be highly relevant in gaining access to their experiential knowledge about the issues at stake. In turn, PAR allows their voices to be heard and empowers them to act to improve their situation as well as the interventions that affect them. The participation of people who use drugs, who are particularly vulnerable to HIV/AIDS, has become an international imperative for an ethical and effective response to the epidemic. However, few studies have dealt with their ownership of the participation process. Moreover, given the numerous meanings of PAR, the diversity of its epistemic orientations and methodologies, including artistic techniques, as well as the extent of participation from one study to another, it is difficult to assess its real potential. As a result, many doubt its credibility and the scientific value of the knowledge it produces. This thesis was therefore conducted to examine how the appropriation of the participation process in a PAR with people who use drugs can contribute to the construction and mobilization of valid knowledge. In the context of the fight against sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections, this doctoral project was linked to a PAR developed through a partnership between community organizations, academics as well as public health institutions, in Montreal and Quebec City. In 2011 and 2012, the doctoral student worked as a research assistant for the committee conducting this PAR composed of six people who use drugs and a community organizer from the Point de Repères grass roots organization in Quebec City. Using a creative artistic approach, the committee collected verbal and visual data with the objective of making visible the community actions of Point de Repères as well as the social action of participants in the organization's activities. A longitudinal qualitative study on the appropriation of the participation process by the members of this committee was thus realized. The particularity of this thesis was to position the student-researcher as a participant in her own research, therefore as a part of her object of study. The objectives of the thesis were to examine the committee’s ownership of the partnership intentions and strategies; to identify its achievements; to document the reflective feedback of its members; and to establish the progression of the process. An interactional analysis was carried out on a series of audio recordings of the committee meetings as well on individual interviews held at the end of the PAR with the six persons who used drugs. A conceptual framework was developed for the analysis, using mainly the Rubicon Model of action phases (Achtzeger et Gollwitzer, 2008). This study reveals that the committee has authentically embraced this space for discussion, reflection, decision and action. Even without having full decision-making power, its members were actively involved in developing the PAR methodology, building knowledge and preparing for mobilization. Thanks to the trust established over a long period of time between Point de Repères, the Quebec City researchers and people who use drugs, the committee was able to apply several methodological criteria of qualitative research and others more specific to PAR. The committee has thus built knowledge that is valid from a scientific, relational and personal point of view. As a contribution to the advancement of knowledge, this thesis describes in detail the dynamics and processes of the participatory dimension of a specific PAR: partnership and transformational dynamics, group dynamics, knowledge construction and mobilization processes, creation processes and reflexivity processes. By showing the value and richness of the knowledge of people who use drugs, it contributes to increase the credibility of PAR. Finally, it allows to deconstruct certain prejudices against the people who use drugs according to which they would be unable to comply with the requirements of a PAR.
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2021
Open Access Date: 26 July 2021
Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11794/69702
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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