This case study highlights the importance and limitations of practice on participatory action research. Action research is concerned with action and learning as core themes. In participatory action research, the research community brings in their expertise and participates with the researcher to bring about new knowing while aiming to achieve change. The practitioner researcher has the advantage of basing their research vision on the practice they aim to research on and drawing from those experiences. At the same time, they need to be able to lay aside their value judgments, honed by practice, in order to allow other voices to inform the research. The challenge is maintaining the balance between drawing from those resources and separating themselves from what they know in order to objectively collect and analyze research data. This case study uses data from my 2016 PhD thesis to discuss the research journey with a rural community in Zimbabwe and an urban community in Zambia within the context of providing microfinance loans. The research focus was to listen, learn, and allow the voices of poor people to inform a new approach to lending money for livelihoods support. However, the research lenses were tinted by my experiences as a microfinance practitioner, and this affected and almost deviated the research trajectory. As I recovered from this setback and concluded my research, I learnt the reality of carrying value judgments into the research. This was inevitable, and I needed to have internalized ways of checking the influence of those judgments on the research. Most importantly I learnt the value of taking in all that comes through the research process as outcomes that warrant consideration. I also learnt the value of frequent reference to the methodology protocols as designed at the outset, and consciously accommodate adaptations informed by emerging data.