Research & Activism: A guide


Resources and ideas for scholars and activists

The resources in this section aim to support researchers engaged in action research involving civil society organisations and movements for social change. They offer suggestions on ideas, literature and networks to provoke thought and action on making links between scholars and activists.


Browse the resources

In each of these sections, you'll find a report by each participant, plus links to resources and papers for further reflection.

Why get involved?

What motivates scholars (both young and established) to get involved in activism, and what are the obstacles and fears they might face?

Ethical challenges

What are the main ethical challenges in activist research for sustainable transformations? How to best prepare for these - especially in work with vulnerable communities?

Approaches, channels and platforms

What are some of the (out of the box) approaches / channels / platforms that scholars can use to link / channel their work to activism / activist causes?

Bridging the gap between research and activism

How can the STEPS Centre’s pathways approach be put into practice, and what are the boundaries and barriers for doing so? What kinds of language, techniques and materials best help enable more complex and reflexive thinking?

The Pathways Approach and the Sustainable Development Goals

How can pathways for sustainability serve as vehicles for activists in struggles to achieve the SDGs, and how do such pathways interact with these goals?

About these resources

FPH logoThese resources were compiled by a group of participants in the 2016 STEPS Summer School, facilitated by the STEPS Centre, and supported through a grant from the Fondation Charles Léopold Mayer pour le Progrès de l’Homme (FPH).

Through individual work, group discussion and a final plenary session, they aimed to answer the question:

“How can work by the STEPS Centre and its networks and alumni bridge the gap between conventional academic research and practitioner / activist communities?”

The participants are:

  • Thabit Jacob
  • Kennedy Liti Mbeva
  • Julianna Gwiszcz
  • Felix Donkor
  • Shauna Mahajan

Video: Bridging research and activism

The 5 participants talk about why they are interested in this topic, and what they learned from their experience at the 2016 STEPS Summer School.

Top photo: change by Richard P J Lambert on Flickr (cc by-nc 2.0)