This study was commissioned by FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations) and SIFAR (Support Unit for International Fisheries and Aquatic Research) on the recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Fisheries Research (ACFR). It is concerned with research in the context of fisheries development.The ACFR acknowledges that the fisheries sector is faced with serious social and environmental problems and that current approaches to research have their limitations. It is recognised that participatory approaches and methods potentially have a greater role to play in fisheries research. This study aims to explore that potential and to suggest how we might move forward. The main focus of the report is on experiences in developing countries because this is where much of the innovative work in participation in research is being carried out. However, it is acknowledged that there is also much to be learnt from developed world experience.