Education Programmes

Advanced Certificate in Participatory
Action Research (ACPAR)

Course ID
James Bolton
1st Semester 2022

The Graduate Certificate in Participatory Research (GCPR) is an interdisciplinary certificate program for graduate students at UNC-Chapel Hill seeking training in the theoretical bases, rationale, methodologies, challenges, and motivations for carrying out research in equitable partnership with communities, instead of on communities.


Your academic programme for this year is comprised of six (6) modules. Modules one (1) to five (5) are offered in nine short blocks of 2 days and 3 days. Given that module six (6) provide you with academic writing and research literacy skills its runs across the five modules. This allows facilitators to draw relevant insights from his/her discipline as practical examples that will be applied to module six.

The approach to this learning experience is a participatory one. This means that you will be responsible, together with our fellow classmates, facilitators and staff of the Workers’ College for your own development. The role of your facilitators is to ‘facilitate’ your learning experience. They will your supporters, helpers, as you go through the learning process.

In other words the facilitators are not there to teach but to help you connect the dots while providing you with the broader perspective and context. This means that you will be considered as a glass half full and will have to draw from your reserve to enrich the learning process. This requires your active participation in class sessions by sharing your experiences, asking questions when you are not sure, debate an issue when you have a different view while respecting the process and the views of others at all times.

  • Module 1: Introduction to PAR
  • Module 2: Research Methodology
  • Module 3: Statistics
  • Module 4: Research Facilitation Skills
  • Module 5: Action Planning and Research Implementation Skills
  • Module 6: Assessment, reporting and evaluation skills (POE)

The tasks students are expected to conduct between blocks include reading and writing of assignments/essay, research, field work, etc.


While the main activity of the programme will revolve around blocks of two to three days spread over the year, it is important that participants put a great deal of work between blocks. The structure of the blocks has been designed to allow students to read, write, jot down questions between blocks and get ready for informed engagement in class discussions.

The tasks students are expected to conduct between blocks include reading and writing of assignments/essay, research, field work, etc. Participants who work well between blocks will benefit from the programme more than those who treat this task only as “homework” which is hastily prepared just before the next session, presentation, or due date.

Participant should keep in mind that learning takes place not simply in the classroom discussion but in the individual practice and independent study outside the normal class room activities.

Assignments and Exams

Participants will write assignments and undertake an examination after the completion of each module. Student will not be allowed to write exam if they have not submitted all the required assignments. Any late submission will be penalised by a 5% deduction per day on the assignment mark. An assignment which is late for a maximum of three days will not be marked. This means the concerned student will receive a zero on the task, resulting in the participant exclusion from the exam.

Module Mark Structure

In most of the instances the overall module mark allocation will be structure as follows:

  • Attendance and Class Participation (10%)
  • Assignments (40%)
  • Final exam (50%) - Allocations are slightly different in the ACPAR