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Paul van der Lem & Prayoot Wongpang. Research involving user participation various techniques are available but most are derived from so-called action.

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Presentation on theme: "Paul van der Lem & Prayoot Wongpang. Research involving user participation various techniques are available but most are derived from so-called action."— Presentation transcript:

1 Paul van der Lem & Prayoot Wongpang

2 Research involving user participation various techniques are available but most are derived from so-called action research concepts various techniques are available but most are derived from so-called action research concepts they are very popular and used for small scale to large scale research to discover and include an input from all parties involved in particular research results they are very popular and used for small scale to large scale research to discover and include an input from all parties involved in particular research results

3 User participation groups the funding agencies the funding agencies the people who use the research results the people who use the research results people who have to live with the consequences of research implementation people who have to live with the consequences of research implementation it is a research technique which social sciences generated based on moral and political agendas it is a research technique which social sciences generated based on moral and political agendas

4 Finding examples of this type of research type in any search engine like Google or Lycos the terms: type in any search engine like Google or Lycos the terms: Action Research Action Research Participatory Action Research Participatory Action Research the result is ten thousand projects around the world done by all kinds of people with all kinds of backgrounds

5 AR and Art and Design industrial designers are regular users of action research industrial designers are regular users of action research architectural designers do the same architectural designers do the same environmental artists environmental artists designers who base their design concept on marketing designers who base their design concept on marketing anyone involved in product design anyone involved in product design

6 Reasons for considering AR or PAR it is a very helpful research technique it looks easy and anyone with a minimal level of knowledge of the technique can give it a try these answers indicate how much can go wrong

7 What can go wrong with this helpful and popular research technique? it is easy to bias the research results to any pre-conceived agenda it is easy to bias the research results to any pre-conceived agenda it is a technique which easily loses its purpose by input of sub-groups of users for purposes outside the researchers interest it is a technique which easily loses its purpose by input of sub-groups of users for purposes outside the researchers interest

8 Advantages and dangers of an easily understood and powerful research method anyone with a minimal understanding of people and issues can use AR and PAR anyone with a minimal understanding of people and issues can use AR and PAR hundreds of thousands or more AR projects have been started over the last fifty years all over the world hundreds of thousands or more AR projects have been started over the last fifty years all over the world many AR projects have been lost or have become trivial for the original researcher many AR projects have been lost or have become trivial for the original researcher

9 The underpinning idea for AR and PAR is to ask relevant questions the problem is getting answers that are reliable and useful the problem is getting answers that are reliable and useful what is more, these answers have to be transformed into some action, the design of a solution which satisfies all or most people concerned with the project what is more, these answers have to be transformed into some action, the design of a solution which satisfies all or most people concerned with the project

10 Getting the right questions always create first a simple model of potential benefit of the issue of an AR or PAR research project always create first a simple model of potential benefit of the issue of an AR or PAR research project benefit for the researcher benefit for the researcher benefit for the user of the research benefit for the user of the research benefit for the user of the design resulting from the research benefit for the user of the design resulting from the research benefit for the people who pay benefit for the people who pay

11 Known experience with questions marketing people get at best a 2% response on cold call questions marketing people get at best a 2% response on cold call questions quantitative research uses large scale surveys to generate semi-reliable answers quantitative research uses large scale surveys to generate semi-reliable answers qualitative research uses small scale focus groups to come to useful results qualitative research uses small scale focus groups to come to useful results

12 With no clear perceived issue among users research for opinions is difficult action research seeks to bypass this problem by focussing on clear local or national problems action research seeks to bypass this problem by focussing on clear local or national problems linking research with such issues is the realm for AR and PAR linking research with such issues is the realm for AR and PAR if that is not possible the AR and PAR techniques are not appropriate if that is not possible the AR and PAR techniques are not appropriate

13 Matching ambitions is the hidden skill for action researchers first of all it means matching the ambition of the researcher with that of the user of the research results and user of the reality resulting from the results first of all it means matching the ambition of the researcher with that of the user of the research results and user of the reality resulting from the results the practical aspect of matching is in the managements of all user groups the practical aspect of matching is in the managements of all user groups

14 Paul van der Lem & Prayoot Wongpang PhD project example of a large scale participative action research project creating a single university system for practice based study in Art, Media and Design in Thailand

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16 PhD timetables are in 3 sections first: find out what to research - first: find out what to research - that means articulation of the focus and the setting second: do the project second: do the project third: convince others that you have done something worthwhile – third: convince others that you have done something worthwhile – writing, making, talking and networking

17 The issue Thailand developed a dual system for degree education Thailand developed a dual system for degree education first in universities and later in vocational institutions first in universities and later in vocational institutions the vocational sector allowed more central control in fine tuning national manpower planning by accessing social groups which traditionally would not consider university education the vocational sector allowed more central control in fine tuning national manpower planning by accessing social groups which traditionally would not consider university education

18 Advantages of dual degree routes many countries as well as Thailand used dual or multi stream systems for higher education to allow for many countries as well as Thailand used dual or multi stream systems for higher education to allow for cost and social controls cost and social controls separating traditional high and low status education allowed the creation of new forms of relevant education without historical precedent separating traditional high and low status education allowed the creation of new forms of relevant education without historical precedent

19 Disadvantages which emerged in time as a result of different degree systems large central control systems to manage growth and changes of educational systems are not sensitive to innovation large central control systems to manage growth and changes of educational systems are not sensitive to innovation when two national systems for degree education grow, pressures for equivalency in academic and financial treatment grow at the same time when two national systems for degree education grow, pressures for equivalency in academic and financial treatment grow at the same time

20 Integrating degree standards to gain social justice and increase opportunities was accepted in Thai law in 1992 with a necessary lead time of more than 10 years was accepted in Thai law in 1992 with a necessary lead time of more than 10 years based on principles to keep harmony and allow more people to gain knowledge and skills useful for society and its economic wellbeing in the world based on principles to keep harmony and allow more people to gain knowledge and skills useful for society and its economic wellbeing in the world

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22 Government set pointers and designated the duties of detailed implementation to teaching staff staff from all disciplines had to articulate ideas for integration of different national degree systems and create consensus for a single new system to become fully operational end 2003 staff from all disciplines had to articulate ideas for integration of different national degree systems and create consensus for a single new system to become fully operational end 2003 Art and design staff started this process for their discipline in an upheaval of student demand and new technology Art and design staff started this process for their discipline in an upheaval of student demand and new technology

23 Problems for Art and Design growth in student demand in Thailand for the whole degree system had increased growth in student demand in Thailand for the whole degree system had increased but for Art and Design the growth in 1997 alone was %, well above the capacity of the existing infrastructure at the time but for Art and Design the growth in 1997 alone was %, well above the capacity of the existing infrastructure at the time there was also a technological revolution in visual production processes at costs previously thought to be impossible there was also a technological revolution in visual production processes at costs previously thought to be impossible

24 Time scale governmental planning started early in the 1990s governmental planning started early in the 1990s in 1997 it anticipated that all subject teachers would become involved in proposing changes to implement legislation in 1997 it anticipated that all subject teachers would become involved in proposing changes to implement legislation mid 2002 the new educational law had to become operational mid 2002 the new educational law had to become operational and detailed implementation took place until late 2003 and detailed implementation took place until late 2003

25 Information design problem in 1997 find out how to solve these issues for Art, Media and Design lecturers find out how to solve these issues for Art, Media and Design lecturers get agreement from the authorities to implement information design solutions get agreement from the authorities to implement information design solutions generate enough interest for teachers to become interested in this project generate enough interest for teachers to become interested in this project design an adjustable information system in which art and design teachers willingly participate design an adjustable information system in which art and design teachers willingly participate

26 Demand for Art and Design staff earning capacity for designers with the right skills rose dramatically outside higher education with the growth of media earning capacity for designers with the right skills rose dramatically outside higher education with the growth of media but salaries in teaching remained broadly the same but salaries in teaching remained broadly the same management feared that useful and experienced staff would leave teaching at that time to avoid the increasing problems in higher education management feared that useful and experienced staff would leave teaching at that time to avoid the increasing problems in higher education

27 Critical issues for this PhD proposal too large to handle for an inexperienced researcher too large to handle for an inexperienced researcher it contains too many hidden agendas it contains too many hidden agendas it requires a timetable which takes longer than the 3 years set aside to do a PhD it requires a timetable which takes longer than the 3 years set aside to do a PhD there are questions about the competence available for supervision and project management there are questions about the competence available for supervision and project management fieldwork is too far away from the supervisory basis fieldwork is too far away from the supervisory basis

28 4 measuring points of the project 154 participants in June participants in June participants in August participants in August participants in November participants in November participants in November participants in November 2001 end 2003 the research project ended and the HE took control over the ensuing process at local level throughout the country end 2003 the research project ended and the HE took control over the ensuing process at local level throughout the country

29 Seeking for system adjustment Britain had merged its University sector with higher education a decade earlier Britain had merged its University sector with higher education a decade earlier the department of Art and Design in Chiangmai signed in 1997 a cooperation agreement with the Faculty of Art, Media and Design in Bristol to instigate a research study to develop similar concepts applicable to Thai degree education in Art and Design the department of Art and Design in Chiangmai signed in 1997 a cooperation agreement with the Faculty of Art, Media and Design in Bristol to instigate a research study to develop similar concepts applicable to Thai degree education in Art and Design

30 Signing of the cooperation agreement in Chiangmai

31 How do you get this far? articulation based on understanding what people want articulation based on understanding what people want

32 Matching ambitions is the hidden skill for action researchers first of all it means matching the ambition of the researcher with that of the user of the research results and user of the reality resulting from the results first of all it means matching the ambition of the researcher with that of the user of the research results and user of the reality resulting from the results the practical aspect of matching is in the management of all user groups the practical aspect of matching is in the management of all user groups

33 Research methodology the research became based on participatory design concepts to facilitate right from the beginning involvement with the teachers and industries involved with developing change the research became based on participatory design concepts to facilitate right from the beginning involvement with the teachers and industries involved with developing change a main tool to start this process is a so- called search conference a main tool to start this process is a so- called search conference this technique was initially rejected by management as inappropriate this technique was initially rejected by management as inappropriate

34 The influence of traditional philosophies management of vocational institutions were used to top-down methods whereby the centre tells all what to do management of vocational institutions were used to top-down methods whereby the centre tells all what to do modern universities have however a research responsibility whereby new ideas are generated in academic communities: often called a bottom-up approach modern universities have however a research responsibility whereby new ideas are generated in academic communities: often called a bottom-up approach the project therefore sought to combine both ideas to facilitate a move of positions the project therefore sought to combine both ideas to facilitate a move of positions

35 Top down and bottom up the search was for ideas to bring enough critical mass of staff together at a time when they were drowning in work and uncertainties about their future the search was for ideas to bring enough critical mass of staff together at a time when they were drowning in work and uncertainties about their future a test-case conference in Chiangmai offered ideas how the most urgent of current staff problems were tackled by others a test-case conference in Chiangmai offered ideas how the most urgent of current staff problems were tackled by others the event ended with guided discussions of how to adapt ideas for local usage the event ended with guided discussions of how to adapt ideas for local usage

36 Developing research to create usable results for Art, Media and Design teaching in Thailand seeking for ideas which alleviate some immediate concerns, as well as offering visions with a more distant horizon, is fairly typical in research seeking for ideas which alleviate some immediate concerns, as well as offering visions with a more distant horizon, is fairly typical in research staff were not interested at first about research but only wanted to hear about possible solutions staff were not interested at first about research but only wanted to hear about possible solutions

37 Participatory Design the principle is first to find the emotive issues, represented in the factual perceptions of those concerned the principle is first to find the emotive issues, represented in the factual perceptions of those concerned then articulate possible routes to solve the urgent issues for those involved then articulate possible routes to solve the urgent issues for those involved toss these ideas around in small working groups toss these ideas around in small working groups let each group present their ideas in a main forum and agree on further action let each group present their ideas in a main forum and agree on further action

38 small group discussions

39 Action based research is part experimental and part reflective well managed it can cope with complex meshes of technological, psychological, social, economic and legal change, because all such issues are alive as factual perceptions within the chosen target group well managed it can cope with complex meshes of technological, psychological, social, economic and legal change, because all such issues are alive as factual perceptions within the chosen target group what is needed is a flexible and adjustable prioritisation based on the willingness of staff to implement available ideas what is needed is a flexible and adjustable prioritisation based on the willingness of staff to implement available ideas

40 The sequence of incremental improvement at a speed acceptable to the majority of teaching staff

41 The first cycle of handling new challenges At the Chiangmai event a sorting took place of what was seen as urgent at the time, before people were able to respond to the then longer horizon of integrating two educational systems in five years from the then current situation in 1998 At the Chiangmai event a sorting took place of what was seen as urgent at the time, before people were able to respond to the then longer horizon of integrating two educational systems in five years from the then current situation in 1998 The research methodology would allow an annual repeating adjustment to progress, covering all issues deemed necessary for 2003 The research methodology would allow an annual repeating adjustment to progress, covering all issues deemed necessary for 2003

42 Relief at making a start in solving problems

43 The first four issues the existing curriculum content for Art, Media and Design the existing curriculum content for Art, Media and Design considering the usefulness of existing teaching and learning methodologies considering the usefulness of existing teaching and learning methodologies problems with educational policies and local management problems with educational policies and local management and, most important, the need for staff development and, most important, the need for staff development

44 Creating a national network the research created a network of local action groups which took up perceived possible solutions based on the issues discussed at Chiangmai the research created a network of local action groups which took up perceived possible solutions based on the issues discussed at Chiangmai each year a new national conference would be called to deal with remaining issues for the next cycle of developments at local level each year a new national conference would be called to deal with remaining issues for the next cycle of developments at local level all this required funding agreements which were part of the research project organisation all this required funding agreements which were part of the research project organisation

45 Maturing of ideas in the field over a four year action based research project the four topics remained the focus of staff in the field when this research project finished in 2003 the four topics remained the focus of staff in the field when this research project finished in 2003 but the research methodology facilitated each year increasing sophistication and change in the actual content of discourse and action but the research methodology facilitated each year increasing sophistication and change in the actual content of discourse and action

46 An annual approval meeting at the Thai Ministry of Education for project continuation and funding of the next cycle

47 Developing ideological insight is the key for change processes real-time action research deals with the fluidity of interaction in life real-time action research deals with the fluidity of interaction in life the relationship between action and words is the concept an action researcher has to handle the relationship between action and words is the concept an action researcher has to handle this requires understanding of the driving thought processes which underpin words and action this requires understanding of the driving thought processes which underpin words and action

48 Tuning ideological aspirations can be dangerous action research which follows only rational pathways can run itself onto the rocks action research which follows only rational pathways can run itself onto the rocks creating awareness of what should or could be done does not include generating the resources to achieve such aspirations creating awareness of what should or could be done does not include generating the resources to achieve such aspirations aspirational processes can also be hijacked by others with different aspirations from the main target group aspirational processes can also be hijacked by others with different aspirations from the main target group

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50 Reality and change Art, Media and Design like the whole of Thai education was offered more money and other resources but in return had to deliver far more than in earlier years Art, Media and Design like the whole of Thai education was offered more money and other resources but in return had to deliver far more than in earlier years so total sums for education went up but proportionally less money became available for each student in the system so total sums for education went up but proportionally less money became available for each student in the system change is not the same as improvement change is not the same as improvement

51 Pitfalls for real life research ….research cannot only be about objective description of the world out there: instead it reflects the social system within which research is conducted…… ….research cannot only be about objective description of the world out there: instead it reflects the social system within which research is conducted…… …..values enter research in a multitude of ways, starting from framing the research problem, all the way to decisions of criteria for successful results… …..values enter research in a multitude of ways, starting from framing the research problem, all the way to decisions of criteria for successful results… IlkkaTuomi 1999

52 Understand the value shifts! intended research values seek to justify ideological positions intended research values seek to justify ideological positions that is only possible though paying attention to clear descriptions that is only possible though paying attention to clear descriptions the key to a working consensus is through articulation the key to a working consensus is through articulation the route to fudging issues is to refer to values which are too far removed from the people involved with the project in hand the route to fudging issues is to refer to values which are too far removed from the people involved with the project in hand

53 Navigating through ideological positions Thai law dictated the integration of vocational and academic degree education Thai law dictated the integration of vocational and academic degree education but the interpretation of the values associated with both systems is managed by the people operating in local social and organisational structures but the interpretation of the values associated with both systems is managed by the people operating in local social and organisational structures

54 Emphasis of research results the first cycle emphasised technological and social issues which needed to be addressed the first cycle emphasised technological and social issues which needed to be addressed the second cycle concentrated on teaching innovations the second cycle concentrated on teaching innovations the third emphasised research as a key activity for the new system the third emphasised research as a key activity for the new system in the fourth year people saw system integration with specialised grouping as their future in the fourth year people saw system integration with specialised grouping as their future

55 Running staff development programmes the calls for staff development related to technology generated local course initiatives after sufficient resources became available following the second conference the calls for staff development related to technology generated local course initiatives after sufficient resources became available following the second conference each year thereafter the regional course programmes for staff became more complex based on staff demand each year thereafter the regional course programmes for staff became more complex based on staff demand

56 Teaching innovations in a way this was not new but an acceleration of what was normal in higher education both in the university sector and vocational higher education in a way this was not new but an acceleration of what was normal in higher education both in the university sector and vocational higher education what was new was a growing emphasis away from supply logic based on teaching towards demand logic based on learning methodologies what was new was a growing emphasis away from supply logic based on teaching towards demand logic based on learning methodologies

57 Research most research ideology was initially seen as a selfstanding activity protected by a few gatekeepers who controlled access to time and money most research ideology was initially seen as a selfstanding activity protected by a few gatekeepers who controlled access to time and money the growing realisation that most degree level teachers should become responsible for generating their own research created demand for more access to research principles and case histories the growing realisation that most degree level teachers should become responsible for generating their own research created demand for more access to research principles and case histories

58 Integrating teaching, learning and research realisation that successful teaching should be measured against useful learning outcomes created a growing awareness about measuring the relevance of course content in concrete values realisation that successful teaching should be measured against useful learning outcomes created a growing awareness about measuring the relevance of course content in concrete values such values were seen in regional emphases but also as incorporating more international values, a major problem for single language speakers such values were seen in regional emphases but also as incorporating more international values, a major problem for single language speakers

59 In 2003 the higher vocational and university sectors in Thailand merged in a single new university system, which seeks to maintain the best of both previous systems and address the issues of getting more students into the new system In 2004 the first cohort of students enrolled under the new rules Paul van der Lem & Prayoot Wongpang Paul van der Lem & Prayoot Wongpang

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