Written by: Kirsten Williams; Edited By: Denisse Albornoz

Pretend a tornado ripped through the room, leaving it soooo messy. What happens when you ask a group of young researchers to fix it as they want?

The first step in taking ownership of the research process, is to learn how to co-create a common working space.

Our experience using this technique:

The Messy Room - Research TechniqueWe used this technique during our first day of a training course on Participatory Action Research (PAR) in Colombia. We watched participants nervously enter the space in its disastrous state. A look of confusion crossed their faces while we giggled – equally nervous to see if it would work out. Once they all settled uncomfortably on the floor, we asked them the first question: so, how are you all feeling? Seeing them sufficiently awkward, we asked them to recreate the space in the way they want. We put a song on and they started reorganizing.

For us, it was an important way to get participants involved in co-creating space, as a first act of taking ownership in the research process.

Research and Development:

What are we trying to understand about the community?
Why is it important for the community’s development?
At what stage(s) of the research cycle is this method used?

Benefits and Challenges

What are the benefits of using this technique?
What are the challenges of using this technique?


What do I need?
How long does it take?


How to adapt the technique
Tips and Traps :

Recrear goes grassroots all the way.

That’s why we need your help to meet our basic operational costs and to support our growing pool of volunteers around the world.

Thanks for your support.

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