Applying the Process of Appreciative Inquiry in Community Development




Appreciative Inquiry (AI), community development, participation action research (PAR)


Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is an unconventional method in bringing about change to organisations and communities, and needs to be understood in terms of its principles, perspective and implementation. AI has been implemented in various contexts such as organisational development, education and health. However, more evidence on its application and outcomes in community development is needed. AI, which complies with most of the principles of participatory action research, was used as a research design in this study conducted in Soweto, Gauteng, South Africa. The researchers in collaboration with community members used the 4-D cycle and various tools and activities of AI in a community project. The study yielded positive results about the application and relevance of the AI in community development. There were valuable lessons learnt about the 4-D model in community development. The study adds value regarding the application of AI as a community development model in the South African context.


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Author Biographies

Judith Demeshane, University of Johannesburg

MA Student at Deprtment of Social Work

Hanna Nel, University of Johannesburg

Associate Professor at Department of Social Work




How to Cite

Demeshane, Judith, and Hanna Nel. 2018. “Applying the Process of Appreciative Inquiry in Community Development”. Southern African Journal of Social Work and Social Development 30 (3):17 pages.



Received 2017-12-02
Accepted 2018-07-14
Published 2018-10-24