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Participatory Methods of Change and Development - SIMM30


This unique course focuses on change and development through the use of participatory methods, where affected groups and individuals are involved in change processes, such as community development, organisation development etc.


Hands-on methods and reflection

The course is hands-on and stresses skills, competencies and knowledge use that are required to make changes and development in communities and organisations sustainable.

The course presents themes of participatory research, democratic forms of knowledge, involvement of people in social and organizational change, etc. These themes are interdisciplinary and can be illuminated from different scientific disciplines and perspectives. From various disciplines’ point of view the course illustrates participatory aspects of community, working life, physical and urban planning, as well as in research and deliberative politics. The central part of the course is to enable students to practice and gain experience of different participatory methods in order to use them professionally, but also develop a reflective and critical perspective on these methods.

In the words of the course coordinators

What’s the best thing about teaching this course?
"Finding oneself in a teaching situation with students from different countries with a wide variety of educational experiences, which usually leads to great creativity. The course gets the students to encounter different cultures and perspectives, which broadens their views and generates acceptance. The course also provides students with concrete tools which are useful to them after their studies. Altogether, these factors contribute to a non-traditional and dynamic learning situation, which gives me, as the lecturer, a lot of stimulation and commitment."

How is the course structured?
"The course is about social change and development through the use of so-called participatory methods in which the groups and individuals affected are involved in the process of change. The students themselves get the opportunity to participate ‘hands on’ – knowledge shouldn’t always come from above, but also from below! As a student, you get to choose a subject that affects you. It can be anything at all; an issue concerning what it is like to be a student at Lund University, how to develop British Airways or how to handle the situation in Cambodia."

What does one learn? 
"You acquire concrete skills and experiences by using the methods. You also get to reflect on the democratic value of these methods."

What sort of work can one do afterwards?
"You can work for a company, in the public sector or in civil society in connection with tasks that are oriented towards change, development and the organisation of collective production of knowledge."

Online course platform

This course uses Canvas as the online course platform. The course platform will be opened two weeks before the course begins to all students who were accepted. Here you will be able to access literature, assignments, announcements, as well as participate in discussions and communicate with teachers. 


The course schedule can be found under the course information on the right. Please note that the final version of the schedule will be made available four weeks before the course begins, and changes may occur until that point. A more detailed schedule will be available on the course platform on Canvas.

Excerpts from Student Evaluations

“It was really great that we had the opportunity to try out different participatory approaches. I learnt a lot from this part and I think it is the most useful due to the fact that we could apply this knowledge also in our future jobs.”

“All the teachers were amazing. They employed different teaching methods which made all the students more active and created a nice learning environment. It was the best course I took during my MSc program in Development Studies.”

“The group atmosphere in this course was exceptionally good. I think this was because the course included so many active elements.”

About the course

Next course period: 
2025-03-24 to 2025-04-29

Course schedule:
List view | Calendar view

Course syllabus

Course literature