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Examining food insecurity among university students: experiences of participatory action research
The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of co-researchers using the PAR approach as they collaborate with university faculty, other co-researchers, and CSU Stanislaus students to examine the issues of food and housing insecurity among college students. This approach to research (and action) intends to liberate and empower marginalized populations by collaboratively creating research by those directly impacted by the social challenge. A qualitative study was completed using in-depth interviews and direction observations (including field notes). There were 15 co-researchers and, of those 15, 10 agreed to be interviewed. This study found that the experiences of the co-researchers aligned with the core principles of PAR. The study revealed the co-researchers experienced inspiration, a sense of self-worth, a sense of unity, and empowerment throughout the PAR process. The study also addressed the challenge of the amount of time that is required to complete a PAR study. A major implication based on this study is that it is imperative to create space for marginalized populations to give them power to provide research and take action in systems, agencies, or communities on the social challenges that directly impact them.