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Merging of Knowledge is a research approach that creates the conditions for people with lived experience of poverty to participate at an equal level with academics and practitioners, in the co-generation of knowledge about poverty. This paper reflects critically on the application of ‘Merging of Knowledge’ to study poverty in Tanzania, assessing its challenges, achievements, and lessons learned about revealing hidden knowledge about poverty. It also provides a brief literature review to place the Merging of Knowledge alongside other participatory approaches. This paper finds that Merging of Knowledge can effectively interrupt patterned social relationships, and empower individuals and peer groups, thereby stimulating transformation of both academics and people and poverty. It does so by addressing imbalances in social status, empowering all groups of participants at each stage of the research, and building trust, confidence, and freedom from fear in a sustainable manner. The conclusion drawn is that Merging of Knowledge holds great promise for future research on topics where strong hierarchies of knowledge exist, and where the physical inclusion of participants in data collection is not readily translated into intellectual inclusivity during analysis and the dissemination of findings.

Original publication




Journal article


Action Research


SAGE Publications

Publication Date