Kemmis, S., McTaggart, R., & Nixon, R. (2014). The action research planner: Doing critical participatory action research. Singapore Heidelberg New York Dordrecht London: Springer.
After you complete the Task for this week (see Modules Class 4) post a brief response that articulates your growing/changing understanding of action research in education (or some aspect of it) in the context of your own research area.
Lewin (1951) likened action research to the work of bomber squadrons in the War: first, there would be a reconnaissance phase in which participants went out to collect initial data, then there would be the formation of a plan, which was then put into action, then more data would be collected to see the effects of the action, and this data would be analysed to see whether the desired effects had been achieved. If not, a new plan would be formulated and enacted, and further data gathered and analysed. The process would be repeated until the desired effects were achieved. (p. 8-9)
Among the approaches to action research summarised below, participatory research and critical participatory action research share the central aspiration that the research should be the responsibility of participants alone, though participants also remain open to receiving assistance from outsiders where it is useful. 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. (p. 9-10)
emerges from dissatisfactions with classroom action research which does typically not take a broad view of the role of the relationship between education and social change. (p. 12)
Current thinking for critical participatory action research focuses on how to create (or recreate) new possibilities for what Orlando Fals Borda calls vivéncia (humane forms of social life) through the revitalization of the public sphere, and to promote decolonization of lifeworlds that have become saturated with bureaucratic discourses, routinised practices and institutionalised forms of social relationships, the characteristic of social systems that see the world only through the prism of organisation, not the human and humane living of social lives. (p. 12)
In reality, action research is rarely as neat as this spiral of self-contained cycles of planning, acting and observing, and reflecting suggests. The stages overlap, and initial plans quickly become obsolete in the light of learning from experience. In reality, the process is likely to be more fluid, open and responsive. For critical participatory action research, the criterion of success is not whether participants have followed the steps faithfully, but whether they have a strong and authentic sense of development and evolution in their practices, their understandings of their practices, and the situations in which they practice. (p. 18-19)
It should also be stressed that critical participatory action research involves the investigation of actual practices, not practices in the abstract. It involves learning about the real, material, concrete, particular practices of particular people in particular places. (p. 20)
critical participatory action research has the goal of helping participants to work together towards making their individual and collective practices meet the criteria of rationality, sustainability and justice—working together to make their practices
- more rational in the senses of being more reasonable, more comprehensible, more coherent, and more sensible;
- more sustainable (including for the long term and for future generations) in the sense that they are more productive, more satisfying, and less wasteful; and
- more just in the sense that they more inclusive, more solidary (fostering solidarity), that they avoid the injustices of domination and oppression (Young 1990), and they do not cause harm to or suffering among particular individuals or groups. (p. 22)
Public spheres are constituted for communicative action and for public discourse.
aims to help us reach intersubjective agreement about what we mean by what we say (in the language we use), mutual understanding of one another’s points of view, and unforced consensus about what to do. On this view of public spheres, communicative spaces organised essentially for instrumental or functional purposes—for example, to command, to influence, or to exercise control over things—would not ordinarily qualify as public spheres. (p. 40)
Education, properly speaking, is the process by which children, young people and adults are initiated into (1) forms of understanding that foster individual and collective selfexpression, (2) modes of action that foster individual and collective self-development, and (3) ways of relating to one another and the world that foster individual and collective selfdetermination, and that are, in these senses, oriented towards both the good for each person and the good for humankind. (p. 40)
In public spheres, people usually communicate in ordinary language.
On this view of public spheres, the communicative apparatuses of many government and business organisations, relying as they do on the specialist expertise and managerial responsibilities of some participants, do not ordinarily qualify as public spheres.
Public spheres generate communicative power.
that is, the positions and viewpoints arrived at through open discussion and unforced consensus will command the respect of participants. Agreements reached through public discourse in public spheres command respect not by virtue of obligation, but by intersubjective agreement, mutual understanding and unforced consensus about what to do—in other words, by the force of argument alone, without coercion of any kind.