Presentation on theme: "Sponsored by ProPEL: international network for research in professional practice, education and learning University of Stirling Featuring: Schools of Education,"— Presentation transcript:
Sponsored by ProPEL: international network for research in professional practice, education and learning University of Stirling Featuring: Schools of Education, Applied Social Science, Management, Nursing, Midwifery and Health
‘practitioners investigate everyday problems that they experience, through systematic inquiry’ often: collective, critical, self-reflective, and leading towards more just and generative conditions for practice’ ‘creates a living theory of practice’
‘Kinds’ of action research? Technical problem-solving Practical, or interpretive Emancipatory Etcetera Which kind is more ‘real’ action research? (who is helped by this sort of question?)
Most would agree on a process something like this: 1. Selecting an issue in one’s practice (or one’s community) to investigate further What is your concern? Why are you concerned? What do you think you could do about it? What kind of evidence could you collect to help you make some judgement about what is happening? How would you collect such evidence? How would you check that your judgement about what has happened is reasonable, fair and accurate?
2. Explore possibilities for alternate practices 3. Choose an action possibility to try: plan what you will do (first steps to try, and evidence that can be observed showing what happened) 4. Try out a first step. Observe evidence. 5. Reflect and analyse what happened 6. Revise the plan and try again; or choose a second step to try - 7. Reflect and analyse what happened
Nice, neat and tidy? But – ‘action research is a messy process, with forays into territory only partially related to the main focus of study, aborted lines of inquiry, and continual refocusing’ (Jean McNiff 2005)
Analysis in action research is the spur to reflection and the planning of new action. Analysis within action research is about possibilities, not certainties. It is not about why things have to be as they are, but rather what possibilities for change lie within a situation. Action within a complex social world is not static; it is dynamic and forever evolving. In analysing action research, we need to adopt an approach which can help ‘read’ this dynamic nature. To understand his or her practice, an action researcher should strive to trace the elements that constitute it; elements which are often in contradiction. Action researchers need to look at their practice dialectically.
Issues raised about action research Everyday practice does not easily afford time to conduct action research What makes this any different than professionals’ everyday problem solving? How is it valid when the researcher is also the subject? What’s the point when the findings are not generalizable? How can practitioners develop the rigour in method and analysis to conduct action research properly? (and why should they add this on to their many demands?)
More issues raised … How can the action research process ever be represented appropriately, given how messy and difficult it is? How can the emergent process of Action Research survive, and be justified, within regulatory cultures of performance management? What counts as collaboration? What are the ethics of involving colleagues in critical inquiry into their own practice? (why should they?) Like the Salvation Army: evangelical and lacks self-critique
Ken Zeichner (2003) There has been a lot of debate in the literature about what is and is not real action research, about the specifics of the action research spiral, about whether action research must be collaborative or not, about whether it can or should involve outsiders as well as insiders, and so on... There are many different cultures of action research and it seems to me that an awful lot of time and energy is wasted in arguing over who are the 'real' action researchers and who are the imposters… We need to hear from those doing action research, in different settings, for different purposes – and learn from what they are learning.