Chris pascal keynote_pp 11

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BECERA Conference 2011- Keynote: professor Chris Pascal from CREC

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Chris pascal keynote_pp 11

  1. 1. Practitioner Research: An Intellectual and Adventurous Narrative at a Tipping Point?Chris Pascal Centre for Research in Early ChildhoodBirmingham, UKwww.crec.co.uk<br />
  2. 2. Presentation aims to:<br />Clarify what we mean by practitioner research and its growing intellectual confidence<br />The paradigm debate: The shift to ‘evidence based programmes’ and/or ‘evidenced practice’ in early years<br />Growing a culture of practitioner research and a life of professional inquiry<br />Apply Gladwell’s analysis of ‘social epidemics’ to the ‘adventure story’ of PR<br />The emergence of “praxeology’ and BECERA...<br />
  3. 3. What is practitioner research?<br />Practitioner Research is research carried out by practitioners “for the purpose of advancing their own practice” McLeod, 1999) <br />It is more than trying out new ideas or showing that something works but looks into ‘why’ or ‘how’<br />Practitioner Researchers explore questions which can give a more profound understanding of their work, its outcomes and impact <br />Deeper understanding is gained through systematic evidence gathering where the action happens <br />
  4. 4. What is practitioner research?<br />PR is valid because it is grounded in ‘real life’ situations<br />PR uses theories to help reveal the underlying assumptions we have about our work – to discover why we do what we do and what works<br />PR is also based on a strong ethical code of action<br />
  5. 5. What is practitioner research?<br />PR is research carried out by people involved in the situation, not outsider observers<br />Practitioner Researchers might include anyone who is involved in the service being studies eg front line practitioners, leaders, administrators, officers, students, trainers <br />The Practitioner Researcher would know the services they are studying well and have an immediate use for the results of their work <br />
  6. 6. The current debate about ‘evidence’ <br />Over recent years, practitioner research in early years has been developing but has often been viewed as for those undertaking CPD or advanced training and not widespread across the sector<br />SHIFT!<br />The demand for ‘evidence based’ practice in current Early Intervention Strategy: Allan and Field Reviews <br />Requirement for all practice to be ‘evidenced’ to justify commissioning and for OfSTED accountability<br />The promotion of alternative paradigms in the debate<br />The status and role of Practitioner Research is central to this debate <br />
  7. 7. Why do we need to ‘evidence’ our practice?<br />To check we are making progress on achieving appropriate outcomes for children and families<br />To reveal whether our work has made a difference to their lives<br />To meet accountability demands and sustain funding streams (demonstrate value for money which commissioning requires)<br />To be able to share more widely what works<br />To be a responsible, reflective practitioner <br />Centre for Research in Early Childhood St Thomas Children Centre Birmingham <br />
  8. 8. Types of practitioner research<br />There are many research methodologies which generate useful evidence<br />Some focus on measuring or rating a child or family against a set of certain behaviours, relationships, beliefs<br />Some have pre and post intervention measuring<br />Some have control groups and random samples<br />Some focus on trying to capturing the ‘lived reality’ of complex interventions with complex family lives with complex and intermittent service use and complex and longer term outcomes<br />All of these types have a value as long as they are rigorously executed<br />Centre for Research in Early Childhood St Thomas Children Centre Birmingham <br />
  9. 9. Why rigour matters<br />Qualitative or narrative evidence gathering must be a systematic, replicable and rigorous process NOT anecdotal, partial and imprecise<br />Need to ensure evidence is trustworthy, authentic and credible which gives confidence to both funders and users of services (as well as valuable feedback to practitioners and providers)<br />Accurate, reliable, fine grain information is needed if wise choices are to be made<br />Sector needs robust, fine grain, qualitative evidence to complement and ‘go beyond’ quantitative, statistical evidence and RCT evidence (similar shift in health evidence)<br />Centre for Research in Early Childhood St Thomas Children Centre Birmingham <br />
  10. 10. Dangers and delights of evidencing practice<br />REMEMBER:<br />Evidencing practice in itself will not make things better. Constant documentation and evidence gathering with no reflection or feed through to enhance the quality of policy or practice can just become a distraction or an additional burden <br />BUT if we can create organisations which become learning communities (communities of practice) in which practitioners live a professional life of inquiry, in which reflection and action (praxis) becomes a way of ‘being’ will not only ensure our families receive the services they really need and make a difference to their lives but will raise the status, satisfaction and reward of our work <br />Centre for Research in Early Childhood St Thomas Children Centre Birmingham <br />
  11. 11. Where does practitioner research sit in the current climate? <br />At the high table, in the minstrels gallery or amongst the masses?<br />With low status and low visibility but high involvement and impact?<br />Out in the real world but distant from the power bases?<br />Or another place.......as a third space in which practice and policy can come together in a process of mutual benefit and synergy where one can inform and be informed by the other<br />In this space PR is becoming more confident and powerful in its interactions with other evidential bases and within local and national decision making<br />
  12. 12. Gladwell’s ‘Tipping Point’ <br />Gladwell’s Concepts<br />Social epidemic: An epidemiology term applied to the contagious spread of ideas, behaviours and products<br />Tipping Point: The magic moment when a virus spreads with geometric progression (doubles and doubles again) and the momentum becomes unstoppable <br />Stickiness: When an idea, behaviour or product becomes irresistible<br />Has practitioner research become ‘sticky’ and has we reached a ‘tipping point’ in its spread?<br />
  13. 13. How a ‘Social Epidemic’ starts<br />Tipping Point theory suggests that a little input by a few is enough to get an epidemic started and spread it rapidly <br />The idea must become ‘sticky’ ie of obvious and enormous interest to everyone in the field<br />Can we see this happening for Practitioner Research?<br />
  14. 14. The Law of the Few<br />How messages are passed rapidly through a network. This needs three types of people:<br /> Mavens<br />Connectors<br />Salesmen<br />Are you a maven, connector or salesman for PR? <br />
  15. 15. The intellectual adventure continues<br /> A new theory for Practitioner Researchers?<br />Praxe(i)ology is the study of human behaviour and actions<br />It is based on the belief that all human behaviour is purposeful, subjective and valuable<br />Root also from Praxis (reflection and action – Freire)<br />Ideal theory for practitioner researchers<br />
  16. 16. The role of practitioner research networks<br />A forum for deliberation, innovation, ambition, aspiration and risk taking<br />A space for ethical association, open, inclusive and safe learning communities which aspire to be developmental and innovative<br />Based on mutual respect, shared curiosity and humanity<br />BECERA creates a new space....for innovation and new possibilities....<br />
  17. 17. “There is no use trying”, said Alice, “one can’t believe impossible things.”<br />“I dare say you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”<br />Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland<br />

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