Co-operative inquiry: Qualitative methodology transforming research ‘about’ to research ‘with’ people

Erica Russ, Melissa Petrakis, Louise Whitaker, Robyn Fitzroy, Monica Short

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Co-operative inquiry, pioneered by Heron and Reason, is a qualitative, participatory methodology that powerfully transforms research from inquiring about people to inquiring with people. Contemporary qualitative research is increasingly trending from studying others to engaging all participants in research processes as equal collaborators. Consequently, many qualitative researchers are looking to participatory methodologies such as co-operative inquiry to create authentic research partnerships between researchers, professional practitioners and people with lived experience. This methodology engages participants in the entire research process as co-researchers, co-inquirers, co-participants and co-authors, generating new knowledge by analysing rich understandings of people and their experiences. This article analyses and self-evaluates four co-operative inquiries. They demonstrate the utility, accessibility and knowledge base of the methodology, its ethical strengths, and how it is particularly appropriate for fostering co-design and co-production by eliciting varied and broad perspectives regarding complex phenomena.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalQualitative Research
Publication statusPublished - 02 Apr 2024


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