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)
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.
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)
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)
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.
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?
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)
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)
Healthcare user fees present an important barrier for accessing services for the poorest (indigents) in Burkina Faso and selective removal of fees has been incorporated in national healthcare planning. However, establishing fair, effective and sustainable mechanisms for the removal of user fees presents important challenges. A participatory action-research project was conducted in Ouargaye, Burkina Faso, to test mechanisms for identifying those who are indigents, and funding and implementing user fee removal. In this paper, we explore stakeholder perceptions of (...) ethical considerations relating to participation and partnership arising in the action-research. (shrink)
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)
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.
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)
Assisted reproduction , particularly that performed using donated gametes, increases the prospect of healthy babies being delivered to increasing numbers of people striving for parenthood. The psychosocial, ethical and legislative issues related both to the donation and receipt of gametes are perceived as extraordinarily complicated. In 2009, a research project aimed at mapping the issues was drawn up and implemented in the Czech Republic. The project should have provided material for consultation purposes, for the work of ethical and legislative (...) bodies, and for better interdisciplinary and international communication in reproductive medicine. Work on the project was affected by several unforeseen events, particularly by the drafting and adoption of a new law on ART . The article describes the dynamic and structural changes occurring within the project due to drafting of the bill as well as the changes and consequences resulting from other circumstances related to the topic researched. (shrink)
Cooperatives are facing the challenge to be competitive in the market, without losing their traditional values of mutuality and democracy. To do that, they need to re-construct open and participative dialogue with their employees and members based on more democratic forms of communication and engagement. From this point of view, the measurement and communication of sustainability aspects may allow a dialogue to be mobilized with shareholders and stakeholders without losing the attention on competitive factors. Based on these premises, the article (...) analyses the experience of a 5-year actionresearch project , carried out within Unicoop Tirreno, an Italian consumers' cooperative, and aimed to implement different tools for sustainability accounting and to embrace a more open dialogue with stakeholders, in particular with employees and members. In this process of change, the tools implemented for sustainability accounting played a key role in supporting the cooperative to reinterpret its own values and in stimulating a new and participative management approach. The results indicate a virtuous circle between the management and measurement of cooperative principles and the management and measurement of sustainability issues. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to examine the role of methodology in actionresearch. It begins by showing how, as a form of inquiry concerned with the development of practice, actionresearch is nothing other than a modern 20th century manifestation of the pre‐modern tradition of practical philosophy. It then draws in Gadamer's powerful vindication of the contemporary relevance of practical philosophy in order to show how, by embracing the idea of ‘methodology’, action (...) class='Hi'>research functions to sustain a distorted understanding of what practice is. The paper concludes by outlining a non‐methodological view of actionresearch whose chief task is to promote the kind of historical self‐consciousness that the development of practice presupposes and requires. (shrink)
Quality performance of the increasingly important professional role of the teacher requires a continued learning and professional growth of every individual. Actionresearch represents one of the important factors in teachers’ professional development, in particular when it is designed as a collaborative process involving teachers and researchers. This dimension of cooperation has been developed as part of the project “Partnership between Faculties and Schools”, which also included an empirical study presented in this article. The survey has shown that (...) among teachers, newcomers and experienced teachers are the most willing to participate in research work. Irrespective of the stage of their professional development, teachers are mainly prepared to be involved in introducing the findings and improvements into school practices, while communicating research results to wider public, preparing techniques and instruments for data collection and writing research reports rank among the least interesting activities for teachers’ involvement. (shrink)
This article seeks to show how Human Resource Management and Development practitioners can develop an ethics of practice by adopting a Humanistic ActionResearch approach toward their Continuing Professional Development . Central to this approach is the development of reflective practice skills, in itself a journey of development. I aim to give a flavour of what this practice has meant for me as a professional educator by sharing an account of my own CPD using this approach. This approach (...) is for the mature practitioner and it is located within Humanistic ActionResearch: to be appropriate, it necessitates a maturity of ego and not simply professional maturity and status. The article will discuss what this maturation process involves and will show its centrality to reflective practice. Within this framework of human inquiry, CPD requires an undertaking to engage in first person ActionResearch, where ‘I’ am the subject and object of my inquiry. At the heart of this approach is the pragmatic question at the centre of any approach to CPD ‘How do I improve my practice?’. (shrink)
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 aim of this paper is to examine the role of methodology in actionresearch. It begins by showing how actionresearch is nothing other than a modern 20th century manifestation of the pre-modern tradition of practical philosophy. It then gives an explanation of Aristotelian Tradition and draws on Gadamer's powerful vindication in order to show how actionresearch functions to sustain a distorted understanding of what practice is. The paper concludes by outlining a (...) non-methodological view of actionresearch whose chief task is to promote the kind of historical self-consciousness that the development of practice presupposes and requires. (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)
Actionresearch began as an ambitious epistemological and social intervention. As the concept has become reified, packaged for methodology textbooks and professional development workshops, it has degenerated into a cure that may be worse than the disease. The point is not the trivial one that actionresearch, like any practice, sometimes shows up in cheap or corrupt forms. The very idea that actionresearch already exists as a live option is mystifying, distracting us from (...) the deep challenge that actionresearch ultimately represents. Though Joseph Schwab is sometimes credited as a forerunner of actionresearch, it is likely that he would see the new talk of ‘the teacher as researcher’ as indicative of the very epitomization of which he warned. Dewey’s new conception of knowledge, action, and communication – and the vision of the teacher as learner it entails – requires nothing short of a radical rethinking of teaching and inquiry, schooling and teacher education. This essay recalls the promise of... (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)
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.
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)
This article examines the potential of ActionResearch informed by Dewey’s pragmatism as a research methodology in the social sciences. Not only a philosophical orientation, pragmatism is also a powerful mode of inquiry. When combined with the democratic research approach of ActionResearch, Deweyan pragmatism has great potential to shed light on educational and other social science questions, forward social change, and enact Dewey’s vision of radical social democracy. Although Dewey’s philosophy, one could argue, (...) has never been mainstream in education and in research, the combination of Deweyan philosophy and ActionResearch has the potential to revive interest in Dewey’s work and serve as an example of Deweyan .. (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)
_Teachers Investigate Their Work_ introduces the methods and concepts of actionresearch through examples drawn from studies carried out by teachers. The book is arranged as a handbook with numerous sub-headings for easy reference and fourty-one practical methods and strategies to put into action, some of them flagged as suitable `starters'. Throughout the book, the authors draw on their international practical experience of actionresearch, working in close collaboration with teachers. It is an essential guide (...) for teachers, senior staff and co-ordinators of teacher professional development who are interested in investigating their own practice in order to improve it. (shrink)
Actionresearch is increasingly used as a means for teachers to improve their instruction, yet for many the idea of doing "research" can be somewhat intimidating. _Using ActionResearch to Improve Instruction_ offers a comprehensive, easy-to-understand approach to actionresearch in classroom settings. This engaging and accessible guide is grounded in sources of data readily available to teachers, such as classroom observations, student writing, surveys, interviews, and tests. Organized to mirror the action (...)research process, the highly interactive format prompts readers to discover a focus, create research questions, address design and methodology, collect information, conduct data analysis, communicate the results, and to generate evidence-based teaching strategies. Engaging in these decision-making processes builds the skills essential to actionresearch and promotes a deeper understanding of teaching practice. Special Features Include: -An Interactive Text -Reflection Questions and Activity Prompts -A Sample ActionResearch Report -Numerous Examples and Practice Examples -Numbered Sections for Cross Referencing This original text is a must-read for teachers interested in how they can use their current knowledge of instruction and assessment to meaningfully engage in actionresearch. (shrink)
This book has been written in the hopes of equipping teachers-in-training—that is, teacher candidates—with the skills needed for actionresearch: a process that leads to focused, effective, and responsive strategies that help students succeed.
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)
First published in 1979, this book looks at the subject of childminding in Britain at the time it was written. It is based on a national survey that was commissioned by the Social Science Research Council and on action to help childminders funded by the Wates Foundation at Manchester University, UK. Previous to this study it was calculated that more than one million children under the age of five had a working mother, but little research had been (...) done into childminders themselves. This book evaluates the number and nature of the childminders in Britain that were looking after the nation’s children in the 70s. It argues that parents have a right to choose to work if society can guarantee loving and skilled care for their children. However, the authors suggest that this was not the case at the time and state that childminders were in need of better governmental support. (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)
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?
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)
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)
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)