The Potential for Community-Based Action Research for Area Studies: A Process Evaluation Method for the Improvement of Community Life
T. Kusago & T. Miyamoto
This paper introduces community-based action research as a new perspective and method for area studies. It discusses the potential to open a new field of area studies by actively assisting local people in understanding own local communities and in initiating improvements into own community lives. The authors discuss why community-based action research should be considered as area studies by sharing a real case using a community-based action research method. In the introduction, action research is introduced from its origin and history to its definition and tools. In the second section, the concept of a process evaluation method for community life improvement is explained. In the third section, we illustrate how this tool has assisted the local people of the Kizawa community in Niigata, Japan, in improving their own community life. The fourth section concludes by discussing the role of action research in community development and its relevance to area studies.

Key words: community-based action research, area studies, process evaluation method, endogenous community development