Reliable rigour

December 23, 2005

Your discussion of participa-tory research could have been a little more scholarly ("Research by public could be 'unreliable'", December 16).

In participatory research,Jmembers of the public are involved in research in collaboration with experienced researchers. It is no more or less reliable than any form of research. As ever, quality hinges on the procedures and checks put in place to ensure rigour, including consistent and system-atic methods of analysis (which may or may notinvolve non-academic participants).

Rachel Pain
Department of geography
Durham University

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