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Types and dimensions of Action Research Session 2 Gisela Cebrián Bernat Workshop on Action Research, Science and Technology for Sustainability.

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Presentation on theme: "Types and dimensions of Action Research Session 2 Gisela Cebrián Bernat Workshop on Action Research, Science and Technology for Sustainability."— Presentation transcript:

1 Types and dimensions of Action Research Session 2 Gisela Cebrián Bernat Workshop on Action Research, Science and Technology for Sustainability

2 Content Dimensions of Action Research – Personal, professional and political Types of Action Research – Participatory Action Research – Action Learning – Critical Action Research – Collaborative Inquiry An example of Critical Action Research Small group activity – Your own action research project

3 The three dimensions (Noffke, 2009) Personal Practitioner as researcher and the process of self- reflection, planning and introducing changes to improve self-practice Professional Professional development purposes, to enhance profession Political Generate democratic processes to empower groups - leads to social change These are overlapping and may be present in any action research study

4 Types of Action Research Participatory Action Research (PAR) Action Learning Critical Action Research (CAR) Collaborative Inquiry

5 Participatory Action Research (PAR) is based on social or community action, equal participation and shared ownership with the aim to transform current practices or structures. PAR focuses on issues of power, participation and decision- making (Kemmis & McTaggart, 2005) Participatory Action Research

6 Some examples of PAR related to sustainability PAR for community development;jsessionid=377AA87FD96027A654 795A5EED936046?sequence=1 Tackling fuel poverty through facilitating energy tariff switching: a participatory action research study in vulnerable groups Participatory action research on community management of water resources in six countries from the South Participatory Action Research in Marginalised Communities: Safe Drinking Water in Rural Bangladesh ‘Jala Jagruthi’ – An action research project in Integrated Urban Water Management (IUWM) in Mulbagal town iuwm-in-mulbagal-town/ Social fabric: a sustainable social-entrepreneurial fashion collaboration with female refugees in New Zealand THE CHANGES PROJECT: HOLYOKE COMMUNITY COLLEGE AND SABES WEST

7 Action learning or active learning (Revans, 2011) focuses on management and managers’ development. Action learning is task orientated, therefore its starting point is the engagement in collaborative action with others to deal and solve real problems of practice. Action learning and action research differ in that action research involves learning and research, while action learning does not necessarily involve research (Kember & Associates, 2000) Action Learning

8 Examples of Action Learning in Sustainability Sustainability Action Learning Programme development/SALP Programme for Action Learning in Sustainability (PALS)

9 Cooperative or collaborative inquiry involves research in collaboration with others rather than on others, therefore participants are engaged in all the research decisions and hence become co- researchers (Coghlan & Brannick, 2005). Example: Cyclicity and Sustainability: The Role of Collaborative Action Inquiry in AISI s/AISI%20V1%201%202%20Fall%202011.pdf Cooperative inquiry

10 Emancipatory or Critical Action Research (EAR - CAR) is self-reflective centred and focuses on the emancipation and transformation of individuals in order to improve social practice and reality. Placed in the emancipatory paradigm as it considers and attempts to challenge existing power and organisational structures. Example: Critical action research: exploring organisational learning and sustainability in a Kenyan context ry/mq:3821;jsessionid=CE7239D03426ED2F4AA19B5424F3514C?exact =sm_type%3A%22Thesis+PhD%22&f0=sm_creator%3A%22Atiti%2C+A bel+Barasa%22 Critical Action Research

11 Understanding through an example of critical action research What was the problem? Embedding education for sustainability within the undergraduate curriculum at the University of Southampton (Cebrián, 2014)

12 PhD research aims Two main aims concerning education for sustainability within the University of Southampton – Identify the factors influencing academic staff engagement in education for sustainability Fully studied but each institution is socially and culturally different (Corcoran & Wals, 2004; Dawe, Jucker & Martin, 2005; HEFCE, 2008; Moore, 2005) – Establish whether a model to embed Education for Sustainability (EfS) within the undergraduates’ curriculum could be developed Current models focus in one subject (HEFCE, 2008) Few experiences taking an interdisciplinary and holistic approach (Tilbury et al., 2004, Ryan, 2011) No existence of a model for research universities

13 Context of the research UoS commitment – Funding a PhD – Green Academy programme – Curricula for Tomorrow project (HEA ESD Project + EAUC + NUS) – Curriculum Innovation Programme (CI) – Sustainability Module – University staff who is already embedding sustainability? How do they refer to it? – Teaching fellows and lecturers that use innovative and ‘unorthodox’ approaches – Potential community of practice

14 14 Stage I Exploratory – reconnaissance phase – Gain a deeper understanding of UoS organisation – baseline data – Learn from and connect the every day experiences of academic staff members at the UoS Research aims – Explore the factors influencing academic staff members engagement in EfS – Views and vision of academic staff members in relation to EfS

15 15 Stage I - rationale International student University as a unique social system – University of Southampton – Russell Group University – Research-led Walk the talk – learn from academics and put in practice EfS principles - research with people, foster collaboration and empower Inform subsequent stages – identify key individuals

16 Action Research Cycles

17 Stage II Work with an interdisciplinary group of five academic staff members to critically reflect and act towards embedding EfS in their teaching practice through the creation of an action learning set. The role as researcher was to be a facilitator for curriculum development in EfS through providing staff with support and space for interdisciplinary and critical reflection.

18 STAGE II research process

19 Action learning conversations



22 Stage III Fulfil the role of a critical friend for the Sustainability Programme team. The role as a researcher in this stage was to provide feedback to the group, assisting the process of reflection and articulating experiences by asking critical and sometimes provocative questions.

23 STAGE III research process

24 Conclusions TRIANGULATION

25 Model I3E

26 Some limitations Research conducted in a particular time and context, with a specific group of individuals. Time as a limitation – methodological contribution - different understandings of sustainability, different levels of motivation and interests. Prolong the research for another academic year to achieve more tangible outcomes in terms of curriculum development and impact on the students. Longitudinal study during two or three consecutive academic years. Action research training for participants

27 Challenge to collect evidence of the assumptions and worldviews of partiicpants, and how these have been challenged. Need to use other methods such as observation and reflective journals. Establishing the researcher role as facilitator and critical friend – lack of previous experience – process of learning to become Long-term sustainability of projects as this one, if they are not financially supported, recognised and rewarded by the organisation. Difficulty of evaluating the real impact of this project Involve the different university groupings (i.e. students, staff and managers) Need to try this method with other individual, groups and organisations to assess applicability, replicability and transferability. Some limitations

28 Activity: design your own action research project Think about an action research project you might do How would it look as: – Participatory Action Research? – Action Learning? – Critical Action Research? – Collaborative Inquiry? Identify a problem Plan action ActObserve Reflect ACTION RESEARCH CYCLE

29 An eight-stage model of action research (Cohen & Manion, 2011) Stage One: Decide and agree one common problem that you are experiencing or need that must be addressed. Stage Two: Identify some causes of the problem (need). Stage Three: Brainstorm a range of possible practical solutions to the problem, to address the real problem and the real cause(s). -What actions are possible? -What alternatives are there? – Evaluate alternatives Stage Four: From the range of possible practical solutions decide one of the solutions to the problems, perhaps what you consider to be the most suitable or best solution to the problem. Plan how to put the solution into practice.

30 An eight-stage model of action research (Cohen & Manion, 2011) Stage Five: Identify ‘success criteria’ by which you will be able to judge whether the solution has worked to solve the problem Stage Six: Put the plan into action; monitor, adjust and evaluate what is taking place Stage Seven: Evaluate the outcome to see how well it has addressed and solved the problem or need, using the success criteria identified in Stage Five Stage Eight: Review and plan what needs to be done in light of the evaluation.

31 Thank you for your attention!

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