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The Case for Using an Intergenerational Multi-Methods Approach in Community-Based Research

Lee A. Swanson, Joelena Leader

2023 Canada

Community-Based Participatory Action Research (CBPAR) is used in a variety of disciplines, including community development. However, intergenerational CBPAR research, particularly when using visual methods, has been uncommon in fields outside of those in the health domain. Given the success with which some health-related studies with vulnerable youth and adults from disadvantaged regions have applied this kind of research, we conducted a study using a similar approach on entrepreneurship and social and economic capacity building in a rural and remote region. Our CBPAR intergenerational multi-methods research project involved youth, adults, seniors, Elders (Indigenous spiritual leaders), and academic researchers as investigative co-leaders seeking findings useful for changing inequitable systems and practices. With these research partners, we employed a carefully selected set of qualitative data collection methods, including a variety of visual methods, designed to produce robust and actionable findings and knowledge mobilization opportunities. Our research design provided a powerful way to triangulate data while engaging with the broader community to co- produce knowledge across generations. One way we did this was through Indigenous language videos, featuring community members of all ages describing their perspectives on social and economic development in their communities. In this article, we describe how and why our intergenerational multi-methods approach helped us verify our data and enabled our partner communities to leverage the findings to enhance local wellbeing. In doing so, we develop the case for using intergenerational multi-methods approaches with visual method elements in business and other disciplines in which these methods are not often used.

intergenerational research, visual methods, participatory research, multi-method, OurVoice, photovoice, CBPAR