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Wendy Frisby, Susan Crawford and Therese Dorer

In contrast to traditional approaches to research, participatory action research calls for the active involvement of the community—including both the beneficiaries and providers of sport services—in defining research problems, executing interventions, interpreting results, and designing strategies to change existing power structures. The purpose of this paper was to analyze a participatory action research project designed to increase the access of women living below the poverty line and their families to local physical activity services. A framework developed by Green et al. (1995) formed the basis of the analysis. To place the analysis in context, the historical origins and theoretical assumptions underlying participatory action research were addressed. The case of the Women's Action Project demonstrated how the process can result in a more inclusive local sport system and, at the same time, provide a rich setting for examining organizational dynamics including collaborative decision-making, community partnerships, power imbalances, resource control, resistance to change, and nonhierarchical structures.