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Action research ONE Action research By integrating ‘learning by doing’ with deep reflection, action research has always held the promise of an embedded learning process that can simultaneously inform and create change. The approach has been developed and refined over decades so that it is now able to comprehensively answer challenges about its robustness, rigour and quality1 (see Chapter Eight), but I will argue it has also been limited by scale, by a linear model of change and by an over-reliance on consensual and dialogic processes which, although

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Issues for action research facilitators SEVEN Issues for action research facilitators Action research is a multi-skilled job. It is also one in which action research facilitators may be very exposed. This chapter looks at the complexities of action research from the perspective of action research facilitators and those managing action research projects. It explores the following key issues: • the relationship of systemic action research facilitators to the research • key roles for systemic action research facilitators • recording inquiry group sessions

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A strategy for whole system change
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Systemic Action Research works with real social and organisational issues to uncover their complex dynamics, often revealing unexpected opportunities. This book shows how this process can be integrated, in any context, to the process of social and organisational development and change. The book explains how systemic thinking works and how Systemic Action Research can be embedded into organisational structures and processes to catalyse sustainable change and critical local interventions. Practically written, it details how to design a programme and build it directly into policy and practice development, extending the possibilities of action research beyond the 'individual' and the 'group' to work across whole organisations, multi agency governance arenas, and networks. The book is filled with illustrative stories and pictures which bring the concepts to life enabling the reader to develop a clear picture of how to put it into practice.Systemic Action Research programmes are now being adopted in Government and local governance contexts as well as in national and international NGOs. This book will be invaluable for experienced action researchers as well as social science and social policy researchers who will benefit from an approach to qualitative research which is participative, grounded in practice and allows systemic understandings of complex problems. Policy makers and practitioners will appreciate a process which generates meaningful evidence about the dynamics of change and offers a tangible system for continuously integrating that learning into both formal and informal decision-making.

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Quality and ethics in systemic action research EIGHT Quality and ethics in systemic action research Quality in systemic action research Much of the debate on action research quality has emerged in response to a perception that action research is vulnerable to arguments that it is not ‘scientifically’ robust. Various responses to this have been advanced. Checkland and Holwell’s (1998) view is that because action research is not repeatable, the only way that it can claim validity is for it to clearly articulate its methodology in advance: Our argument here

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Policy & Politics vol 31 no 1 239 © The Policy Press, 2003 • ISSN 0305 5736 Key words: action research • research methods • phenomenology • energy efficient Policy & Politics v 31 n 2 239–48 Action research as a methodology for theory development Chris Huxham English The aim of this article is to provide some insight into ways in which action research can contribute to the development of theory about the process of health care delivery. It focuses on a variety of action research that is a methodology for carrying out research into management and

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73 Action research partnerships: contributing to evidence and intelligent change FOUR action research partnerships: contributing to evidence and intelligent change Steve Cropper, Helen Snooks, Angela Evans, Janet Pinder and Kevin Shales introduction The use of action research to inform and develop public policy and professional practice has a long tradition. Its roots can be found in a variety of intellectual traditions and practices. In the analysis of conflict between social groups, where the method originated (Lewin, 1948), in industry, where

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129 The role of the community-based action researcher SIx the role of the community-based action researcher Martin O’Neill introduction The value and importance of involving communities in the development and delivery of policies that affect them is increasingly being recognised, and this is reflected in policy directives (Welsh Office, 1998; DH, 2001). Throughout the development of the Sustainable Health Action Research Programme (SHARP), there was an emphasis on involving communities substantially and directly in an action research process aimed at

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Action Research in Social Policy Ray Lees It is largely within the last few years that the idea of an action research approach to social problems has received any great attention in academic circles in Britain. With the exception of the Bristol Social Project in the mid-fifties,1 major involvement came only with the setting up of the Education Priority Area (EPA) projects in 1968, followed in 1969 onwards by the Community Development Project (CDP) programme; each of these enterprises being described in initial documents as a new and different kind of venture in

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Some systemic action research projects explored FOUR Some systemic action research projects explored The aim of this chapter is to give a feel for the way in which real action research projects can emerge and evolve across a wide social and organisational terrain. Because of the depth and breadth of each of these projects, the examples focus mostly on design. It would be impossible to do justice to the complex issues that each explored, although I do look at some of the detail of the Bristol Children’s Initiatives (BCI) project in Chapter Six. In this

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Some design principles for systemic action research FIVE Some design principles for systemic action research Despite the diversity of action research designs represented in the previous chapter, there are a number of underpinning characteristics that need to be reflected in most systemic action research designs. The seven that follow are among the most important: • an emergent research design • an exploratory inquiry phase • multiple inquiry streams operating at different levels • a structure for connecting organic inquiry to formal decision making • a

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