A Tailored Participatory Action Research for FOSS Communities

Adam Alami, Peter Axel Nielsen, Andrzej Wasowski

Research output: Journal Article or Conference Article in JournalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Participatory Action Research (PAR) is an established method to implement change in organizations. However, it cannot be applied in the open source (FOSS) communities, without adaptation to their particularities, especially to the specific control mechanisms developed in FOSS.\@ FOSS communities are self-managed, and rely on consensus to reach decisions. This study proposes a PAR framework specifically tailored to FOSS communities. We successfully applied the framework to implement a set of quality assurance interventions in the Robot Operating System community. The framework we proposed is composed of three components, interventions design, democratization, and execution. We believe that this process will work for other FOSS communities too. We have learned that changing a particular aspect of a FOSS community is arduous. To achieve success the change must rally the community around it for support and attract motivated volunteers to implement the interventions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Empirical Software Engineering
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)3639 - 3670
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 4 Sept 2020


  • Participatory Action Research
  • Free and Open Source Software Development
  • Change implementation


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