Participatory action research

Participatory action research

Participatory action research brings together communities, activists and scholars to generate new knowledge.


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    Topics soon to be featured include: Photocatalytic water splitting, Upcycling chlorinated waste plastics, Vat-polymerization bioprinting and Terahertz time-domain spectroscopy.

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    Never miss a Primer! The editors will be posting our newest content along with information about conferences and new developments in methods research.


  • Triboelectric nanogenerators (TENGs) convert mechanical energy into electric power by combining contact electrification and electrostatic induction. This Primer introduces the theoretical background of TENGs, gives an overview of fabrication methods and discusses how they can be applied as energy harvesting devices and self-powered systems.

    • Tinghai Cheng
    • Jiajia Shao
    • Zhong Lin Wang
  • Shell-isolated nanoparticle-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SHINERS) is a variation of surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) that uses shell-isolated nanoparticles (SHINs) to prevent direct contact between the core of the nanoparticle and the tested substances. In this Primer, Zhang et al. describe the design considerations for shell-isolated nanoparticles, relevant experimental instrument set-ups and ways to ensure experimental reproducibility and data analysis.

    • Yue-Jiao Zhang
    • Huajie Ze
    • Jian-Feng Li
  • Participatory action research (PAR) involves the participation and leadership of people experiencing issues, who take action to produce emancipatory social change, through conducting systematic research to generate new knowledge. In this Primer, Cornish et al. set out key considerations for the design of a PAR project and discuss ways to overcome the challenges faced by PAR projects.

    • Flora Cornish
    • Nancy Breton
    • Darrin Hodgetts
  • Droplet-based microfluidic systems generate microlitre droplets, giving users precise control over the chemical and biological contents of each droplet. In this Primer, Moragues et al. discuss the optimal use of droplet-based microfluidic systems and the most successful applications in biological and chemical sciences.

    • Thomas Moragues
    • Diana Arguijo
    • Andrew D. Griffiths
  • Contrast agents based on nanomaterials are highly desired for advanced forms of bioimaging techniques owing to their high payloads, unique physicochemical properties and improved sensitivity. In this Primer, Hsu et al. outline important nanomaterial design considerations and discuss the effect on their physicochemical attributes, contrast properties and biological behaviour.

    • Jessica C. Hsu
    • Zhongmin Tang
    • David P. Cormode
  • New nanomaterials are being developed for efficient biomolecule delivery to plants. However, detection and quantification of plant cell entry are challenging and currently rely on subjective methods that lack proper controls. The necessary considerations of performing nanoparticle-mediated delivery in plants and how to accurately quantify delivery efficiency are discussed.

    • Gozde S. Demirer
  • Laboratory hardware is often custom made or significantly modified. To improve reproducibility, it is imperative that these novel instruments are properly documented. Increasing adoption of open source hardware practices can potentially improve this situation. This article explores how open licences and open development methodologies enable custom instrumentation to be reproduced, scrutinized and properly recorded.

    • Richard W. Bowman
  • Logic diagrams are employed in electrical engineering for visualizing switching circuits. However, their utility and applicability extend far beyond the technical sciences. Here, we argue that natural and social scientists alike should consider using logic diagrams in their research. For certain analytical problems, logic diagrams are a perfect fit.

    • Alrik Thiem
    • Zuzana Sebechlebská
    • Lusine Mkrtchyan
  • Data analysis relies heavily on computation, and algorithms have grown more demanding in terms of hardware and energy. Monitoring their environmental impacts is and will continue to be an essential part of sustainable research. Here, we provide guidance on how to do so accurately and with limited overheads.

    • Loïc Lannelongue
    • Michael Inouye
  • As we close our second volume of Nature Reviews Methods Primers, we look back on our achievements in 2022 and opportunities to better serve our community.