Drawing upon the literature on actionresearch and case-study research, this paper discusses similarities and differences between these two forms of research practice. The paper also highlights some of the criticisms and challenges action researchers face. It suggests ways in which action researchers may enhance the discussability of actionresearch by: (a) increasing the transparency of their research processes, (b) declaring the intellectual frameworks brought into actionresearch projects, (c) (...) discussing transferability of findings, and (d) defining accumulation of results. This may require an extension to scientific discourse. In particular, the paper suggests that action researchers could change the ways in which actionresearch results are reported to increase their reach among a wider audience. (shrink)
The tension in evidence-based practice and reflective practice -- The relationship between reflection and actionresearch -- An overview of theories of consciousness and unconsciousness -- What do we mean by creativity? -- Using metaphor and symbolism as analysis -- Infinite possibilities of knowing and transformation -- Concluding thoughts; the linkages to actionresearch and critical creativity.
The article is based on the author’s experience as an administrator of three primarily social science institutional review boards (IRBs) to which researchers presented research protocols that purported to be minimal risk studies of teacher practice where the “teacher–researcher” was the “research subject.” Recently, educational, social, and behavioral science researchers encounter many problems with regard to their methodologies and the oversight mandate of the IRBs. There is a divergence between the IRB’s role and assumed bio-clinical predisposition and the (...) ability of behavioral and social science researchers to have their research methodologies and research understood and appreciated by IRB members. The article explores some of the dilemmas confronting IRB members and administrators in the review and administration of the actionresearch protocols, particularly those that involve vulnerable populations and which, from the practitioner–researcher’s perspective, focus on the practitioner–researcher as the object of the research. (shrink)
This study reports on actionresearch efforts that were aimed at developing institutional arrangements beneficial for soil fertility improvement. Three stages of actionresearch are described and analyzed. We initially began by bringing stakeholders together in a platform to engage in a collaborative design of new arrangements. However, this effort was stymied mainly because conditions conducive for learning and negotiation were lacking. We then proceeded to support experimentation with alternative arrangements initiated by individual landowners and migrant (...) farmers. The implementation of these arrangements too ran into difficulties due to intra-family dynamics and ambiguities regarding land tenure. Further investigations to find out how ambiguities could be tackled revealed that the local actors themselves had taken initiatives towards developing institutional innovations to reduce ambiguities. However, there is still considerable scope for further development of these self-organized innovations. The article ends with a reflection on inter-disciplinary actionresearch, where it is argued that making “mistakes” is an inherent and necessary characteristic in actionresearch that aims to address complex social issues. (shrink)
Technological development and increased international competition have imposed a significant burden on the product development function of many companies. The growing complexity of products demands a larger product development team with people having various competencies. Simultaneously the importance of good quality, usability and customisation of products is growing, and many companies want to involve customers and users directly in the development work. Both the complexity and quality demand new ways of working that support collaboration between people with various competencies, interests (...) and responsibilities both inside and outside the company. This paper reports experiences from using actionresearch to introduce new user-centred work practices in two commercial product development projects. The interventions varied. In the first project it was found rewarding to engage customers and users in workshops based on participatory inquiry and collaborative design. The design process was iterative and the workshops took place several times involving concept through detailed design. In the second project, new design representations are introduced. The experiences highlight the importance of creating and reifying insights in design representations and using these to both support collaboration, and create continuity in the project. The paper ends with a discussion of scientific rigor in actionresearch and what the new work practices imply for the development team. (shrink)
Innovation plays a central role in economic development, at regional and national level. The paper takes a practical approach to innovation and the support of entrepreneurship, based on experience of facilitating two contrasting networks of enterprises. Actionresearch is seen as having a central role, but with different approaches according to the innovation process concerned, and the part of the process.
The article reflects on experience of actionresearch in the context of regional development, where there has been pressure to produce practical results. The epistemological status of ActionResearch is explored, in contrast to conventional social science research. The article concludes that an ongoing relationship with conventional social research is necessary.
Actionresearch has been extensively used world-wide for decision making related to policy due to its nature of involving the researcher and decision maker in the process. Following independence in India, one of the major revolutions was brought about in the dairy sector with regard to complete management systems. Most innovations and changes occurred in the line function while the staff function was more often neglected in the overall change. The authors undertook an actionresearch study (...) focusing on staff function and relayed improvements that can influence policy related to decision making. The authors have also developed the MPS model for staff function which can help a company or industry in appraising their own staff and functions which can thereby aid in utilising their potential. (shrink)
Historically, the Italian and Scandinavian institutionalisation of actionresearch has developed along different tracks. The question is, if there are any promising prospects to combine different actionresearch experiences and methodologies across European regions? Alternatively, should we conclude that actionresearch is mainly a local activity firmly rooted in a special culture in the different European countries?
There is continuing interest in actionresearch in health care. This is despite action researchers facing major problems getting support for their projects from mainstream sources of R&D funds partly because its validity is disputed and partly because it is difficult to predict or evaluate and is therefore seen as risky. In contrast traditional health science dominates and relies on compliance with strictly defined scientific method and rules of accountability. Critics of scientific health care have highlighted many (...) problems including a perpetual quality gap between what is publicly expected and what is deliverable in the face of rising costs and the cultural variability of scientific medicine. Political demand to close the quality gap led to what can be seen as an elitist reform of policy on UK health research by concentrating more resources on better fewer centres and this may also have reduced support for actionresearch. However, incompetent, unethical or criminal clinical practice in the UK has shifted policy towards greater patient and public involvement in health care and research. This highlights complementarity between health science and actionresearch because actionresearch can, as UK health policy requires, involve patients and public in priority setting, defining research outcomes, selecting research methodology, patient recruitment, and interpretation of findings and dissemination of results. However actionresearch will remain marginalised unless either scientific research is transformed generally into a more reflective cycle or there is increased representation of actionresearch enthusiasts within the establishment of health R&D or current peer review and public accountability arrangements are modified. None of these seem likely at this time. The case for complementarity is illustrated with two case studies. (shrink)
This article applies reflexive and dialogue oriented approaches to municipal planning. Experience from the dialogical development process in Vennesla is discussed, highlighting the potential of collaborative work in a development coalition. Dialogue and democracy in the coalition are discussed, emphasising the social construction of meaning and knowledge.
This article focus on paradigms, methods and ethics of actionresearch in the Scandinavian countries. The specific features of the actionresearch paradigm are identified. a historical overview follows of some main actionresearch projects in Norway, Sweden and Denmark. The tendency towards upscale actionresearch projects from organisational or small community projects to large-scale, regional based network approaches are also outlined and discussed. Finally, a synthesised approach of the classical, socio-technical (...) class='Hi'>actionresearch approach and the large-scale network and holistic approaches is suggested as a promising approach for the future. (shrink)
Actionresearch has repeatedly demonstrated how it can facilitate problem solving and change in many settings through a process of collaboration which is driven by the community at the heart of the research. The ethical review of actionresearch can be challenging for action researchers and research ethics committees. This paper explores how seven ethical principles can be used by action researchers and research ethics committees as the basis for ethical review. (...) This paper concludes by offering some suggestions for a way forward for both action researchers and research ethics committees. (shrink)
Stoffregen & Bardy's arguments against separation of the senses fail to consider the functional differences between the kinds of information potentially available in the structured energy arrays that correspond to the traditional senses. Since most perception/actionresearch pursues a strategy of information perturbation presupposing differential contributions from the various ambient arrays, the global array hypothesis can only be extended and tested by analyses that consider the functional aspects along which the senses can, in fact, be separated.
This article examines the relationship between actionresearch and policy and the kind of confidence teachers, policy makers and other potential users may have in such research. Many published teacher actionresearch accounts are criticised on the grounds that they do not fully meet the conventional standards for reporting social scientific research, and by implication are held to be less trustworthy. Actionresearch is nevertheless often seen by some academics and policy makers (...) as a potential method for developing theory, disseminating good practice, or raising standards. Through a discussion of three major approaches to actionresearch—seen variously as professional learning, practical philosophy and critical social science—it is argued that judgements about confidence depend upon understanding the various kinds of knowledge claim that can be made by action researchers, and appropriate judgements concerning the strength of evidence or reasons. (shrink)
The paper describes a highly specific Italian actionresearch experience, connected with the trade unions, going through different phases from the 1970s to the present day. The journey is not only a journey through time but also through different approaches. It ranges from the initial experience focusing on health and safety problems at the workplace involving the workers as co-designers of new working environments to today’s search conference experience. For each phase there is a full description and comment (...) on the methods utilised by the research group. The main methodological shift described in the paper is the one from discussion groups, based on Bion’s thinking, to the search conferences, based on Emery’s line of thinking. Both are oriented to the subjectivity of the people involved, although in the discussion group experience the research groups considered the subjectivity of the people involved as the subject of the observation. The researchers’ aim of was to acquire a reliable knowledge of what was at stake and to pass it on to the union that organised the research in order to promote actions. Hence, the action-research circuit is based upon different actors and the process is integrated only from the point of view of the union. In the search conference experience the researchers are involved in a co-design process and so the action-research circuit is really integrated from the researchers’ perspective; there are, of course, multiple perspectives in this case and this opens up epistemological problems that are not discussed in the paper. (shrink)
Our article is based on a study of our integration of social foundations coursework with filmmaking and participatory actionresearch, bringing teacher candidates and middle and high school students together. The project was carried out in partnership between an urban university and two nearby public schools within a Midwestern city known for high child poverty rates and weak academic outcomes. The project sought to stretch the imagination of teacher candidates in areas related to school reform and to provide (...) opportunities for the youth in terms of inquiry and activism concerning their schools and neighborhoods. The article discusses the direction of the project over the semester and the challenges encountered in carrying out this work. Study findings suggest that the students valued the use of film and learning of research skills, as well as the coming together each week. Technology glitches precluded a final film product, compromising the extent to which project goals concerning activism in the area of educational and public policy were achieved. The study serves as careful reminder of the challenges in carrying out PAR and the need to frequently revisit questions about project intentions and direction. (shrink)
The paper uses the Offenders' Social Reintegration Project, run between 1988 and 1998 by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, to discuss the characteristics of new forms of actionresearch and to reflect on the main debates within actionresearch literature. Firstly, new forms of actionresearch dealing with community issues tend to take place within complex systems, aiming to bring potential partners together and to facilitate the development of networks of organisations. Networking presupposes (...) a more open-ended mode of research and opens the question of participation of the social groups concerned. The varying and changing degrees of participation within the Project are described with reference to the role of the researchers and the discrepancy between formal and informal partnerships. Secondly, the relation between research and action is dealt with via a discussion of the different types of knowledge produced in the course of the Project and their appropriateness for informing and evaluating practice. The implications of these arguments for the scientific status of actionresearch and the paradigm within which it can be located are also addressed. Thirdly, the paper discusses the role of the various institutional contexts in shaping and constraining possible types of research and action. Finally, the type of change pursued by actionresearch projects is considered with reference to the ongoing debate within actionresearch literature on the role of politics, leading to the acknowledgement of the inevitable implication of political negotiations and power in any initiative towards social change. (shrink)
The role of leadership in the twenty-first century is challenging and varied, with changes often impacting across national borders. Leadership is a process, involving reciprocal influence. It has shortcomings and limitations, but in optimum conditions it can harmoniously harness and synthesize relevant knowledge, make sense of environmental features and changes, and co-generate new knowledge, usually in response to strategic demands and exigencies. Leadership responsibilities are all encompassing and require a holistic overview. Participatory actionresearch is the chosen methodological (...) vehicle, supported by various research instruments. There is ongoing active engagement, including with a non-governmental organisation ABC, where the researcher has an advisory role. (shrink)
In this paper the authors, starting from the experience described and commented on in earlier work by Mancini and Sbordone, deal with the three main epistemological problems that the research group they participated in had to face:The conflicting and ambiguous relationship between psychoanalysis and social researchThe classical epistemological problem of the relationship between the subject and object of research within the perspective of action researchThe problem arising from their experience, i.e., the risk of manipulation, and the way (...) to deal with it from an epistemic perspectiveThe three problems are dealt with one at a time, but from a common perspective, i.e., the attempt to integrate the richness and variety of human subjectivity in social research. As to the relationship between psychoanalysis and social research, a special section is devoted to the implications of an integrated or convergent methodology on team-working in organisations. (shrink)
This is an excerpt of a report that highlights and explores five questions that arose from the Network for Sensory Research workshop on perceptual learning and perceptual recognition at the University of York in March, 2012. This portion of the report explores the question: How is perceptual learning coordinated with action?
We give a historical overview of the development of almost 50 years of empirical research on the affordances in the past and in the present. Defined by James Jerome Gibson in the early development of the Ecological Approach to Perception and Action as the prime of perception and action, affordances have become a rich topic of investigation in the fields of human movement science and experimental psychology. The methodological origins of the empirical research performed on affordances (...) can be traced back to the mid 1980’s and the works of Warren (1984, 1988) and Michaels (1988). Most of the research in Ecological Psychology performed since has focused on the actualization of discretely defined actions, the perception of action boundaries, the calculation of pi-numbers, and the measurement of response times. The research efforts have resulted in advancements in the understanding of the dynamic nature of affordances, affordances in a social context and the importance of calibration for perception of affordances. Although affordances are seen as an instrumental part of the control of action most studies investigating affordances do not pay attention to the control of the action. We conclude that affordances are still primarily treated as a utility to select behaviour, which creates a conceptual barrier that hinders deeper understanding of affordances. A focus on action-boundaries has largely prevented advancement in other aspects of affordances, most notably an integrative understanding of the role of affordances in the control of action. (shrink)
This paper reports an instructor and her students’ experiences with ethics in conducting actionresearch in a university teacher-training class. The nature of educational actionresearch suggests the dual roles of the instructor and students, the former as both a researcher and a practitioner, and the latter as both research participants and learners. However, in following an ethics procedure to allow students to opt out of the research project anonymously but, at the same time, (...) not to deny their access to learning opportunities, both the instructor and students experienced tensions as they tried to separate and switch roles for research and teaching/learning. Instead of benefiting from the research to explore and reflect on learning, many students complained about their sense of being used as research participants. The article suggests new ethics review procedures to support and help actionresearch to generate valuable results in teaching and learning. (shrink)
Professor John Elliott has spent the last 30 years researching, thinking and writing about some of the key and enduring issues in Education Research and ActionResearch. He has contributed over 25 books and 600 articles to the field. In this book, he brings together over 16 of his key writings, in one place. Starting with a specially written Introduction, which gives an overview of Professor Elliott's career and contextualizes his selection, the chapters cover: · Rethinking Educational (...)Research · Doing Classroom ActionResearch · Pedagogy ad Form of ActionResearch · The Challenge of ActionResearch This must-have book for anyone wishing to know more about the development of ActionResearch and Educational Research and John Elliott's contribution to these exciting fields. (shrink)
Rural development policies are often inspired by narratives that are difficult to challenge because they are based on an apparently obvious and coherent reading of reality. Research may confront such narratives and trigger debates outside the academic community, but this can have a feedback effect and lead to a simplistic or biased posture in research. This article analyzes a research-based initiative that questioned a commonly held narrative in large-scale irrigation schemes in Morocco concerning the structural weaknesses of (...) farmer-led collective action. This initiative conceived an alternative narrative of farmer-led collective action, based on research and actions undertaken in collaboration with the farmers. The article assesses to what extent it was possible to design this narrative and to draw on it to orient research activities, actions with farmers and public engagement, without impairing the quality of the research process. The alternative narrative was designed and diffused based on three intertwined activities: (1) the identification and analysis of farmer-led collective actions, (2) the diffusion of information on successful farmer-led collective actions especially through the production of videos, and (3) exchanges with and between local farmers’ organizations. The alternative narrative that resulted from these activities emphasizes the potentialities of farmer-led collective action, and more broadly, the willingness and capabilities of many family farmers to play an active role in the governance of rural areas. The message of the alternative narrative and the distinction made between the research articles and videos in both their content and role ensured that research did not fall into simplistic or biased analyses. The alternative narrative also became a key to renewed relations between farmers and researchers and helped design training for students that pay more attention to local dynamics. In a situation in which scheme-level organizations show limited interest in reflexive enquiry, this initiative proposes some stepping stones to make it possible for changing narratives to accompany changing relations between actors. (shrink)
When two or more people coordinate their actions in space and time to produce a joint outcome, they perform a joint action. The perceptual, cognitive, and motor processes that enable individuals to coordinate their actions with others have been receiving increasing attention during the last decade, complementing earlier work on shared intentionality and discourse. This chapter reviews current theoretical concepts and empirical findings in order to provide a structured overview of the state of the art in joint action (...)research. We distinguish between planned and emergent coordination. In planned coordination, agents' behavior is driven by representations that specify the desired outcomes of joint action and the agent's own part in achieving these outcomes. In emergent coordination, coordinated behavior occurs due to perception action couplings that make multiple individuals act in similar ways, independently of joint plans. We review evidence for the two types of coordination and discuss potential synergies between them. (shrink)
Research on children's developing theories of mind has contributed to our understanding of the developmental relation of self and action (1) by exploring the relation of the development of self knowledge to the development of knowledge of others' minds and (2) by investigating the relation between theory of mind development and the development of action control. We argue that evidence on theory of mind reasoning in children with deficient action control (ADHD-diagnosed children) is especially relevant to (...) the second issue and we present some first evidence supporting the bi-directional hypothesis, that is, the view that theory of mind leads to improved action control which in turn supports the ability to represent mental states on-line. (shrink)
The first in a series of 4 articles, this article provides an overview of the concepts and methods developed by a team of researchers concerned with preventing harm and promoting ethical discourse in the helping professions. In this article we introduce conceptual, research, analytical, and action frameworks employed to promote the centrality of ethical discourse in mental health practice. We employ recursive processes whereby knowledge gained from case studies refines our emerging conceptual model of applied ethics. Our participatory (...) conceptual framework differs markedly from the restrictive model typically used in applied ethics. Our research relies on lived experiences of ethics, while our analytical framework draws attention to the multiple levels and contexts in which ethical dilemmas take place. Finally, our action framework is designed to collaborate with research participants and practitioners in making use of our data and interpretations. We demonstrate how the various frameworks inform each other in an integrative fashion. The article sets the stage for 2 case studies presented in subsequent articles. (shrink)
The main objective of the Flemish research project ‘Nanotechnologies for tomorrow’s society’ (NanoSoc) is to develop and try out an interactive process as a suitable methodology for rendering nanoresearchers aware of underlying assumptions that guide nanotech research and integrating social considerations into the research choices they face. In particular, the NanoSoc process should sustain scientists’ capacities to address growing uncertainties on the strategic, scientific and public acceptance level. The article elaborates on these uncertainties and involved dilemmas scientists (...) are facing and proposes a process approach which addresses strategic uncertainty by alternating between ‘visioning’ and ‘technology assessment’; a process design which manages complexity by promoting reflexivity among scientists by exposing them to deliberations in civil society (social experts, stakeholders, citizens) on plausible futures with nanotechnologies; and as an answer to societal ambivalence, certain process quality requirements such as an attitude of perplexity or openness towards ‘plurality’ and an attitude of ‘temporary closure’, both in support of understanding and learning from differences. (shrink)
This paper draws on the experience of one research project in action to evaluate the usefulness of research ethics frameworks when the environment surrounding project negotiation, data collection and dissemination is seriously disturbed by critical incidents. The paper questions the lack of emphasis in research ethics codes on the competence and capacity of agencies when commissioning and sponsoring research. Using events that surrounded one project, the paper researches the research. It explores what impacted on (...) the creation of the context for ethical and effective research and how the researchers responded to the ethical challenges that emerged. Different theoretical understandings and ethical models are drawn upon to explore how a research team translated ethical research in theory into ethical research in practice within an organization in turmoil. (shrink)
of democratizing social inquiry by actively engaging the subject in the design and conduct of research. Drawing on four examples of PAR-based social science and a democratic reconstruction of "epistemic privilege," this article argues that philosophers need to take seriously PAR's notion that democratic norms should guide social inquiry. But it does not advocate replacing mainstream or expert-directed social science by PAR. Instead, it maintains that it is both possible and sensible for PAR practitioners to collaborate with conventional (...) class='Hi'>research. Indeed, certain forms of nonparticipatory social science seem indispensable for any extensive application of the PAR framework. The article concludes by drawing out its (controversial) implications for two central issues in the philosophy of social science: first, that the methods of social inquiry are distinct from those in the natural sciences and, second, that there is a sense in which social research can and should be "value neutral.". (shrink)
Though scholars have long acknowledged the vital role of affect in politics, recent research has sought to more thoroughly integrate emotions into models of political behavior. Emotions may prove to be the missing piece in a variety of puzzles with which political scientists have struggled for decades. At its core, democracy poses a collective action problem. For each individual citizen, the cost of productive political engagement often outweighs the additional policy benefits to be gained from such behavior. However, (...) for a variety of reasons, emotions appear to motivate citizens to at times break out of “cold” individual utility calculation and engage in politics. Still, emotions may also bias information processing, so scholars should keep this in mind as we continue to build on our understanding of emotion’s role in politics. (shrink)
This article takes its point of departure in a research project studying the psychosocial problems of living with HIV. The project was intended to participate in changing practices dealing with these problems. It became a project including many differently situated and intersecting personal and generalized perspectives. The article researches the development of the HIV project as a contribution to discussions related to Participatory ActionResearch and Practice Research. In mainstream approaches methodological indications are often presented as (...) rules to follow in order to ensure the quality of the obtained knowledge. But situated historical and societal processes are involved in the effectuation of the HIV project, like they are in any other project. Researching the project heightens the awareness of the necessity of reflecting on situated and historical issues of power and marginalization and on the positions of the researcher in a given field of research. Methodological flexibility may also be necessary in order to encompass different perspectives. Such reflections and strategies are necessary precisely to ensure the development of knowledge and practice alike. (shrink)
The interest in meaningful work has significantly increased over the last two decades. Much of␣the associated managerial research has focused on researching ways to ‹provide and manage meaning’ through leadership or organizational culture. This stands in sharp contrast with the literature of the humanities which suggests that meaningfulness does not need to be provided, as the distinct feature of a human being is that␣he or she has an intrinsic ‹will to meaning’. The research that has been done based (...) on the humanistic paradigm has been quite fragmented. This article aims to address these gaps through an actionresearch project that actively involved participants in the process of affirming and uncovering the meaningfulness of their work. Our findings contribute to current organizational scholarship and practice as they (a) enable scholars to clearly distinguish ‹meaningful work’ from ‹the management of mean- ing’, (b) bring together the various sources of meaningful work in one framework and show their relationship with each other, (c) clearly show the importance of engaging with both the inspiration towards the ideal as well as the often less than perfect self and the organizational reality in which meaning gets expressed and (d) contribute to our understanding of how to engage individuals in conversations about meaningful work that are not prescriptive or exclusive, but that also show where meanings are commonly held. (shrink)
Stakeholder engagement is a crucial conceptof extension education. Engagement expressesdemocratic values of the land-grant mission byproviding opportunities for stakeholders to influenceprogram planning, including setting the agenda andnegotiating resource allocations. In practice, theconcept of engagement guides the formation ofpartnerships among extension, communities, industry,and government. In the area of sustainableagriculture, however, stakeholders may conflict,presenting challenges to the engagement process.Results from a study of a Canadian sustainableagriculture program, produced using culturalanthropology and participatory actionresearch, detailchallenges of the engagement process that led (...) toreconstruction of a farmer-extension partnership.Notable in the early phase of the reconstructionprocess were critical reflection, stakeholder forums,exclusion through caucusing, and coalition building.An argument for a neo-pragmatist view provides atheoretical basis for understanding counterintuitivedimensions of engagement revealed by the study. (shrink)
Corporate diversity initiatives have neither yielded higher financial returns for companies nor created significantly greater equity and equality of outcome for socially disadvantaged groups within organisations. There has been a systematic failure of diversity initiatives, as the strategic business importance of diversity has been avoided. Researchers argue that effective diversity management is dependent upon appropriate structures and systems, not upon human resource management training alone. This article discusses the impact of the design, introduction and application of the ‘Diversity Quality Cycle’. (...) This model allows for the embedding of the values of equality of opportunity and cultural diversity throughout core business functions, and for positive long-term change. A mixed-method approach was taken; Participative ActionResearch is the main methodology employed, within which quantitative data were generated, analysed and interpreted. The main case study organisation is a Further Education College in the West of England. (shrink)