As stated by the "From the Mad House to Our House" videos, participatory action research is an approach that involves direct and active participation by the "stakeholders", or the people whose lives are affected by the problem being studied. In order to use participatory action research to solve problems involving immigration, we must first look at all those who are effected by it. This includes both immigrants and those already living in the U.S. One thing from the "Mad House" video I believe would be useful is the forming of a committee of the people who are directly involved. Gathering immigrants and born citizens into a group would help with bring forth the problems involved with immigration, and would help jump start the participatory action research process.
Immigration has been a major aspect of U.S. growth since it's foundation. Immigrants feel they will have better opportunities in the U.S. They come here looking for better paying jobs and more freedoms than they have had in their home nations. However, with so many people immigrating to the U.S., many issues arrise. One issue is that of illegal immigration. People come to live in the U.S. without first going through the proper procedures to become citizens. This is unfair to the immigrants who have gone through these procedures, as the illegal immigrants can take away jobs and have access to benefits that should be reserved for legal immigrants. In order to address this issue, and others, a participatory action research method may be helpful.
According to the article by O'Brien, action research is not meant for experimental studies, but for real life, current issues. This is what makes participatory action research a fitting method when considering immigration problems. Alana James helps list out the steps towards the PAR process. The first step is to diagnose the problem. In this case, we would start by identifying problems that both immigrants and born citizens face that are directly linked to immigration. We would also discuss steps we may take to address these problems. The second step is taking action. In this step, we take the planning of the first step and act on those ideas. Next is measurement. In this step, we would measure our progress towards solving the problems. It is important to constantly check with the group to see how their actions are going. The fourth step is reflection. Have we made a difference? Can we improve upon our ideas? Are we happy with what we've done? These are the kind of questions we must ask in the reflection step. Reflection isn't truly the final step. This process is a cycle, and after reflection, we see if we can revise our diagnosis to yield even better results. This is especially important for major issues such as immigration. Answers to problems won't come easy, and it is important constantly repeat these steps in order to find even better answers.
"From Madhouse to Our House." Retrieved from:
James, E. A. (2008). "Participatory action research + complexity". Retrieved from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=s-SAJPF5xiA.html.
O'Brien, R. (1998). An Overview of the Methodological Approach of Action Research. Retrieved from: http://www.web.net/~robrien/papers/arfinal.html.