Participatory research with cooperatives, which are people-owned businesses, would seem a natural option. However, there is little discussion evident in this area, with risks of research instead bypassing the perspective of members. This article discusses two dairy farmer cooperatives in rural Kenya. It looks at how, even where research is directed and controlled by others (e.g. funders), it can still be undertaken with cooperatives in a participatory way. This is essential to preserving values and principles linked to member participation and decision-making, as well as of self-help and self-responsibility. Participatory approaches also provide interesting insights into the way cooperatives operate.
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