Drs. M. (Madelon) Eelderink

Vening Meineszgebouw A
Princetonlaan 8a
Kamer -
3584 CB Utrecht

Drs. M. (Madelon) Eelderink

PhD Candidate
Environmental Governance



In her PhD Madelon Eelderink studies the process of Participatory Action Research in social ecological systems and the dynamics between different stakeholders when co-creating solutions for complex problems. Participatory Action Research is a research approach that links science and practice. It allows a community of organizational and non-organizational stakeholders to investigate their own situation, reflect on its results and co-create the best fitting interventions to tackle complex problems and achieve sustainable impact (read more). Participatory Action Research takes place in many different forms, depending on the local situation and the nature of the issue researched. With her PhD Madelon hopes to gain insights in the best possible ways of applying Participatory Action Research in especially Social ecological systems and combining PAR with other approaches to amplify its sustainable impact.


Madelon is also founder of 7Senses and has over 10 years of Participatory Action Research (PAR) experience in the field. For governmental as well as non-governmental organizations she performs Participatory Action Research in different settings and on different subjects, in the Netherlands and abroad. Madelon gives training and lectures in PAR methodology and other PAR-related subjects to a wide range of different audiences. 


Through writing academic articles about the PAR processes she conducts with 7Senses, Madelon hopes to help other practitioners gaining insight in how PAR brings the best results in social ecological systems and what principles and dynamics need to be addressed.


For this Ph.D., she uses case studies from her fieldwork. She has published four articles:

  • Eelderink, M., J. M. Vervoort and F. Van Laerhoven. 2020. Using participatory action research to operationalize critical systems thinking in social-ecological systems. Ecology and Society 25 (1):16. [online] URL: https://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol25/iss1/art16/
  • Goebel, K., Camargo-Borges, C., & Eelderink, M. (2019). Exploring participatory action research as a driver for sustainable tourism. International Journal of Tourism Research. https://doi.org/10.1002/jtr.2346
  • Eelderink, M., Vervoort, J., Snel, D., & de Castro, F. (2017). Harnessing the plurality of actor frames in social-ecological systems: ecological sanitation in Bolivia. Development in Practice, 27(3), 275–287. https://doi.org/10.1080/09614524.2017.1291583
  • Eelderink, M., and J. Verster. 2010. “Development of a Community-specific Health Promotion Plan to Improve Children’s Health in Rural Guatemala.” International Journal on Disability and Human Development 9 (1): 35–46.

She also published a book on Participatory Action Research (in Dutch):

Eelderink, M. (2020). Handboek Participatief Actieonderzoek. Samen bouwen aan een betere wereld. SWP Uitgeverij, Amsterdam.


Currently, she is writes about her PAR experiences in one of the biggest gallery flats of western Europe. More information on PAR and 7Senses' PAR projects can be found on the 7Senses website. Updates of 7Senses' work can be followed on TwitterLinkedIn and Facebook

Madelon was nominated for the University's Agnites Vrolik Award 2018. Her 7Senses team won several awards such as the Albert Schweizer Prijs 2015 and UVA Alumni Award 2017 for their groundbreaking work with Participatory Action Research.