Rebalancing power: Participatory research methods in interpreting studies

Svenja Wurm, Jemina Napier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
178 Downloads (Pure)


A participatory research approach is a qualitative methodology that is inductive and collaborative (Cornwall & Jewkes, 1995) and relies on trust and relationships (Christopher et al. 2008). This approach is typically used in public health research studies, and has been used specifically to investigate migrant communities and interpreters in public health settings in Ireland (Macfarlane et al, 2009). Participatory research is an approach that enables positive user involvement and empowerment, and enables marginalised ‘hidden’ voices to be heard. Through purposeful sampling (Patton, 2002), ‘information rich’ stakeholder groups who have a depth of experience to share can contribute to the research process, thus ensuring that the research is conducted not just on, for and with people (Turner & Harrington, 2000), but also by people from stakeholder groups.We reflect on previous research to consider an innovative, interactive approach to interpreting research methodology. This paper draws particularly on a study on deaf people’s access to healthcare information (Napier & Sabolcec, 2014) , which incorporated phenomenological principles to investigate aspects of signed language interpreting. The study also adopted interactive principles of collaboration between researchers and key stakeholders and thus embedded a participatory approach within the research design. The key principles of participatory research will be outlined, with examples from the data. This paper will highlight how we can use signed language interpreting research to inform methodological approaches to the study of interpreter-mediated interaction generally.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-120
Number of pages19
JournalTranslation and Interpreting: the International Journal of Translation and Interpreting Research
Issue number1
Early online date30 Apr 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Apr 2017


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