The Action Research Planner: Doing Critical Participatory Action Research

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A key question here is whether and the extent to which the self-interests of such outsiders coincide or conflict with the self-interests of the other participants.

In our view, this is a question to be asked by and of all outside researchers and consultants working with participant researchers. Lawson outlines guidelines for participatory research that involves three steps; consult with locals before conducting research, return to locals before interpreting the research findings; finally, ask local experts about how to use the research.

Lawson writes,. This participatory need-as-opportunity is especially apparent when the researcher ventures into unfamiliar conceptual territory and possesses limited knowledge and understanding. Under these circumstances, the researcher needs help, particularly from the persons with local knowledge. Such a frame of reference for the three defining features of participatory research.

They are best presented as action-oriented, procedural guidelines for this kind of research. First: Consult local experts, including some persons whom you will recruit and engage as research participants before you finalize decisions about your research. Second: Return to the local experts when you are striving to interpret your research findings. Third: If you want your research used in a timely manner, again consult local experts on how to best facilitate the use of research knowledge. According to Lawson , participatory action research encompasses five connected and integrated priorities.

First, it allows democratic participation in practical problem solving from those who do not have formal research training. Secondly, democratic participation takes place through reflexive processes of planning, doing, studying, acting. Third, new understandings are gained from process two and are incorporated into local problem-solving. Fourth, the understandings gained from the participatory action process can be used by practitioners and policy makers. Fifth, local knowledge gained from the participatory action process can safeguard against global knowledge generalization; participatory action research helps safeguard local knowledge.

It connects and integrates five priorities. First, PAR enables democratic participation in real-world problem-solving by local stake holders who typically lack formal research training and credentials when the research begins.

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Second, this democratic participation occurs in successive action research cycles, which can be described simply as plan, do, study, act. Third, new knowledge and understandings are generated as a local problem-solving proceeds, thus qualifying PAR research. Like Kemmis, S. Regardless whether participatory action research is a specific methodology or orientation, an important feature of participatory action is its reflexive nature.

Before moving to critical participatory action research, I introduce two examples of participatory action methodologies from Chevalier and Buckles [xl]. They stress the importance of reconnecting democracy and science by rooting both theory and technique back to the level of the human scale. Chevalier and Buckles built a model in which there are three equal sized circles that overlap — as a Venn diagram. These circles represent participation i.

Participatory action research is reflected in the middle of the Venn diagram where each circle overlaps. Therefore, participatory action is equally understood as participation, research, and action. The goal of these tools is to facilitate communication between researchers and participants and to better understand the research priorities. In the ART method, researchers and participants indicate on the Venn diagram which activities the project should encompass — mostly action, mostly training, mostly research, combination of action and training, combination of research and training combination of action and research or the combination of all three, action research and training.

This method is used to identify where effort should be focused. Furthermore, it allows researchers and participants to plan the project based on the activities that they designate as most important. The PIE method incorporates planning, inquiry, and evaluation. By identifying how much weight the researchers and participants want to allocate to either planning, inquiry and evaluation, together they can develop meaningful actions. In the PIE approach, researchers and participants rate whether grounding, mediation, tooling, timing and scaling are in the phase of inquiry, planning or evaluation.

Furthermore, each criterion is given a value between 0 and 3 depending on the strength significance. For example, regarding grounding, if the project is heavily grounded in the practices of those who are participating in the research project, a score of 3 would be given. It there is no significance between grounding and the project, a score of 0 would be given. These two methods are great starting points for participants and researchers who want to embark in participatory action research.

Once this process is finished, participatory action researchers are encouraged to map the research process, then implement a reflexive strategy to maximize achieving the goals and priorities set out by the group. Chevalier and Buckles [xliii] provide two methods for embarking on a participatory action research project; however, there are other many ways to perform participatory action research. Critical participatory action research refers to a type of participatory action theory that allows participants to address collective problems, especially those that are irrational, unsustainable, and unjust.

Kemmis, McTaggart, and Nixon write,. Like mentioned above, critical action theory aims to help participants transform the understanding, conditions and conduct of their practice in order to be more just, sustainable, and rational.

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Kemmis, McTaggart, and Nixon suggest that in order to accomplish this, the first step is to take a historical approach to determine how we got there — how things have come to be. Secondly, participants and researchers need to adopt a critical stance to find out what affects current practices bring about. Fourth, researchers and participants act to transform their practices to reach desirable outcomes. Fifth, the process is documented and monitored to find out that positive and negative consequences were produced by the action.

These steps do not have to follow that specific order. Critical participatory action focuses on social change that empowers communities and eliminates social injustice. There are many ways to design a critical participatory action research project.

Please see our research methods section for a breakdown of our methodology. Kemmis, S. Many people speak like this all the time, as if action research were something abstract, a set of procedures to be applied to practice, rather than a living experience. This perspective tends to distort the underpinning values of action researchers such as autonomy, independent thinking and accountability.

So when we speak and write about action research, it is important to remember that we are speaking of real-life experiences of real-life people. The meaning of action research is in the way people learn to negotiate ways of living together and explaining how they do so, emphasizing the problematics such as the success. Yet while there might be no such thing as action research, there are people who are action researchers. It bounds episodes of research according to the boundaries of the local context. It builds descriptions and theories within the practice context itself, and tests them there through intervention experiments — that is, through experiments that bear the double burden of testing hypothesis and effecting some putatively desirable change.

Argyris, C. Without denying the possibility of affirming the popular preference, other researchers adopt a more professional perspective, in which the methods are used in professional activities of social, educational and other areas, and the results of the research, apart from responding to the demand of the stakeholders, may generate academic works and papers published in scientific journals.

Thiollent, M. The research is or is not participatory. If it were not then it would have to be conventional, positivistic, quantitative, etc. This dichotomy seems misplaced. Macaulay, A, C.

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The action research planner: doing critical participatory action research

A Introduction,. In Lawson, H. In other words, action research came first. PAR and other relatives came later. In fact, some PAR-related controversies are rooted in core disagreements about action research. A fully-updated and reworked version of the classic book by Stephen Kemmis and Robin McTaggart, now joined by Rhonda Nixon, The Action Research Planner is a detailed guide to developing and conducting a critical participatory action research project.

They provide five extended examples of critical participatory action research studies. The book includes a range of resources for people planning a critical participatory research initiative, providing guidance on how to establish an action research group and identify a shared concern, research ethics, principles of procedure for action researchers, protocols for collaborative work, keeping a journal, gathering evidence, reporting, and choosing academic partners.

Unlike earlier editions, The Action Research Planner focuses specifically on critical participatory action research, which occupies a particular critical niche in the action research 'family'. The Action Research Planner is an essential guide to planning and undertaking this type of research. John G.

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