Pathways through Participation


Pathways through Participation was a two and a half year (April 2009 – November 2011) qualitative research project, which aimed to improve our understanding of how and why people participate, how their involvement changes over time, and what pathways, if any, exist between different activities.

The project was funded by the Big Lottery Fund and led by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) in partnership with the Institute for Volunteering Research (IVR) and Involve.

These resources were produced during the course of the Pathways through Participation project. If you have any questions or comments, please get in touch. 

Project Resources

Final report

This is the final report of the project, presenting findings from 101 in-depth interviews.

Summary report

This report summarises the findings from the project and recommendations for future policy and practice.

Informing and influencing policy

This briefing paper summarises the findings and implications for national policy agendas.

Local engagement in democracy

This briefing paper summarises the findings and implications for local engagement in democracy.

Volunteering as a participation pathway

This briefing paper summarises the findings and implications for volunteer management.

Research, engagement and impact

This briefing paper reviews the project’s approach to research and stakeholder engagement, highlights how the project set about linking research to policy and practice, and critically assesses some of the research methods and tools that were used.

Understanding participation: A literature review

This report is a literature review exploring participation in context (historical and current), in practice (the activities and actors), and in theory (the concepts).

Reviewing the literature

These briefing papers summarised the findings of the literature review:

What is participation?

What are the drivers of participation?

Who participates?

Why participate?

Project reports

These reports covered the project's emerging findings and reflections on it's approach:

Strengthening participation: Learning from participants

Using participatory mapping to explore participation in three communities

Situated practice: Initial reflections on the organisation of participation