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Participatory research design appears as an attractive option in the study of community media organisations. But the researcher needs to carefully assess an organisation?s capacity to undertake do-it-yourself research, because, when things go wrong, this approach can also reveal conflicts within an organisation, as well as give rise to tension resulting from the divergent needs of the researcher and those of the researched. This paper describes the troubles that arose during fieldwork conducted at a community radio station, how these unexpected events forced a reformulation of the research question, and how this eventually led to an improved theoretical insight.