Developing knowledge through participation and collaboration: Research as mutual learning processes

Charlotte Højholt, Dorte Kousholt

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This article examines a general question about how we in research develop the knowledge we write about and present as ‘results of research’. It scrutinizes research processes as a social practice, where several parties participate, collaborate and learn from a process where researchers involve themselves in exploring specific problems across societal contexts. In this way, the presented discussions can be seen as a critique of tendencies to approach research as an isolated endeavour, where results are produced by applying special methods and techniques that prevent influence from the social world and, in this way, creating knowledge about the world by ‘leaving it’. The article argues for approaching the development of knowledge as a social practice in itself. Research processes transcend different contexts, involve different perspectives, and the researchers seek to analyse connections in a common world by exploring how an explicit problem is connected to social conditions and interplay, thereby achieving a deeper understanding of the problem. In the article, we build on 25 years of practice research projects and involve a specific project as an example in a general discussion of the development of knowledge. Among other things, this project inspired these thoughts because of the following exchange between a researcher and some professionals from the family centre where we were conducting our research (a residential institution for families and children in trouble)
Original languageEnglish
JournalAnnual Review of Critical Psychology (Online)
Issue numberspecial issue
Pages (from-to)575-604
Number of pages29
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


  • research collaboration
  • co-research
  • practice research
  • theory of science
  • participation

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