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  • Basic premise of AR An action research cycle
  • Kurt Lewin, a Prussian psychologist who immigrated to America in 1933, is most often credited with coining the term ‘action-research’.
  • Basic premise of AR Alteration could be modification, technology - almost anything that represents the change process
  • Can you site anymore examples? What about the status of AR – is there difficulty there? Is the lack of a unifying paradigm the major barrier to its acceptance as a rigorous methodology? Such debates can become a distraction from the real issues: the real question is not whether the methods are appropriate per se , but whether the AR method you use is appropriate to answer the question being addressed. Is Action-Research Really Research? Clearly, being able to change practice and build a sense of empowerment are valuable characteristics of any approach in the fields of health and social care. But, is action-research really research? This is an issue that creates much debate; in essence it would appear that this depends on the design of the project. Some projects place the emphasis on action, they may be designed and led by practitioners or community members keen to understand the constraints and issues they face and then make immediate improvements to their own programme or environment. Other projects place a stronger emphasis on the research elements of the study and are often led by an external researcher who acts as a facilitator within the group of co-researchers. These projects often include an initial ‘reconnaissance phase’ of primary research to help the co-researchers understand the issue they are working on. Throughout the study the evaluation phases of the spiral will also be more rigorous, although the complexity of the research must continually be balanced against the need for timely results which can be used to influence practice development in the short term. Both the reconnaissance and the evaluation phases may draw on quantitative and/or qualitative research methods as appropriate to the specific question being explored. Some action-research studies take the analysis further and the external research may design methods to collect data about the overall change process experienced throughout the study. This can lead to new insights into the challenges of changing practice which can be valuable to a much wider group of academics, practitioners and policy makers. In answer
  • Other projects place a stronger emphasis on the research elements of the study and are often led by an external researcher who acts as a facilitator within the group of co-researchers. These projects often include an initial ‘reconnaissance phase’ of primary research to help the co-researchers understand the issue they are working on. Throughout the study the evaluation phases of the spiral will also be more rigorous, although the complexity of the research must continually be balanced against the need for timely results which can be used to influence practice development in the short term. Both the reconnaissance and the evaluation phases may draw on quantitative and/or qualitative research methods as appropriate to the specific question being explored. Some action-research studies take the analysis further and the external research may design methods to collect data about the overall change process experienced throughout the study. This can lead to new insights into the challenges of changing practice which can be valuable to a much wider group of academics, practitioners and policy makers.
  • . So if your research questions begins with ‘How to…?’ then action-research may be the approach for you.
  • Further action: - reformulation, reconceptualisation, redefinition, reflection. But this point seems to be the sticking point in AR and comes under most critically scrutiny (for the right reasons)

Action Research Seminar Action Research Seminar Presentation Transcript

  • Action research seminar Professional Doctorate Dr E C Ball Oct 09
  • Action research model:
    • Action research can be described as a research model that pursues action (change) and research (understanding a problem) at the same time (Zuber-Skerritt, O; 1992 McNiff, J 2002)     
    • It is a form of self-reflective enquiry by groups of participants in a social context who want to improve or justify the rationality of their working practice (Kemmis1990)
    • It is a useful tool for anyone who recognises a problem in their workforce or practice and would like to be involved in the change process
  • Prior knowledge Motivation Goals Outcomes Strategies Experiences Planning Action Evaluation Reflection View slide
  • Action Research & its beginnings
    • Kurt Lewin is most often credited with coining the term ‘action-research’. He worked with various industries and organisations with the aim of bridging the gap between theory and practice and studying changes in group dynamics. Lewin’s interest lay in bringing together the experimental approach with social action which, he says:
    • “ proceeds in a spiral of steps each of which is composed of a circle of planning, action and fact-finding about the result of the action” (Lewin 1946, in Hart & Bond p.15).
    View slide
  • Specific theories of Action Research
    • PAR Paulo Freire
    • Cooperative inquiry John Heron and Peter Reason
    • Living Theory Approach Jack Whitehead
    • and Jean McNiff
  • Action Science Argyris & Schon
  • The Diamond Model Impact of Change People Structure Task Alteration* Leavitt et al (1973) In: Cork, A. (2005) A Model for Successful Change Management Nursing Standard 19 (25) pp40-42
  • Problems with AR
    • The Research Methods debate :
    • It lacks a distinct theoretical base of its own
    • Considerable debate exists around AR as a rigorous methodology
    • The Paradigm debate :
    • The relative merit of different AR methods has proved to be a highly emotive topic
  • Is Action-Research Really Research?
    • Clearly, being able to change practice and build a sense of empowerment are valuable characteristics of any approach in the fields of health and social care. But, is action-research really research? This is an issue that creates much debate; in essence it would appear that this depends on the design of the project. Some projects place the emphasis on action, others the research elements
  • In Answer
    • What to research can become subordinate to the question of how to research (Galliers 1994).
    • Your preoccupation as prof doc students is not concerned primarily with how to research but what to research: research that is not driven wholly by your research interest but the practical needs of your clinical arena.
  • The Bigger Picture
    • An applied methodology like AR exists within a much broader context
    • - Which is (or should be)
    • - to improve healthcare issues in practice
    • - patient care
    • - patient systems
    • - communication
    • - interdisciplinary & multi-professional working
    Planning Acting Reflecting Observing/ Evaluating The Action Research Spiral
  • Relevance of AR to the Prof Doc
    • AR and the Prof Doc have high levels of integration between research & practice
    • Both are applied rather than pure disciplines
  • When Should I Use Action-Research?
    • Action-research is a very valuable approach if you are exploring how to change a situation or practice
    • It is also a very valuable approach if you wish to build collaboration among various groups of practitioners, policy-makers, patients or community members
    • Empowerment:
    • If you are interested stimulating social change and understanding the experiences of those such as mental health service users, older people, homeless, ethnic minorities, then a participatory form of action-research can potentially enable a greater sense of empowerment as well as deepening wider understanding of the issues facing those whose voices are rarely heard.
  • AR & its Application Analysis; fact finding Acting; observing Further Action R R R
  • Time ACTION RESEARCH Evaluation Synthesis Analysis Application Context Knowledge
  • Strategies for Implementation
    • “ Dissemination is more than a two-way process; it is intersectoral, interdisciplinary, and interlinking” (Tenove “Dissemination: current conversations and practices.” Canadian Journal of Nursing Research. 31, 1, 95-99)
    • It depends on a multi-faceted organisation, with levers at different points
    • Agencies could establish research advisors, centres, liaison links. Huberman calls these “intermediaries” active interventions
    • Face-to-face interchange enhances interpersonal dissemination
  • Conclusion
  • Time ACTION RESEARCH Evaluation Synthesis Analysis Application Comprehension Knowledge