Rapid Rural Appraisal (RRA) and Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) emerged in the context of working with rural communities in developing countries. But the principles of participation and of action-oriented research are equally valid for development work in the urban sector, and in industrialised countries. This article describes the use of participatory appraisal techniques in disadvantaged communities in the UK, in the fields of health and social welfare. Drawing on a case-study of her work, the author looks at the practical, organisational, and political difficulties inherent in bringing together multi-agency professionals and public-sector workers, and members of local communities, and in developing a functional consensus between them.
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