Learning Research & Change Methods

Learning Change Project: +6600 Posts

Handbook of Reflection and Reflective Inquiry: Mapping a Way of Knowing

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Philosophers have warned of the perils of a life spent without reflection, but what constitutes reflective inquiry—and why it’s necessary in our lives—can be an elusive concept. Synthesizing ideas from minds as diverse as John Dewey and Paulo Freire, the Handbook of Reflection and Reflective Inquiry presents reflective thought in its most vital aspects, not as a fanciful or nostalgic exercise, but as a powerful means of seeing familiar events anew, encouraging critical thinking and crucial insight, teaching and learning. The authors discuss reflective inquiry as a form of active attention, an act of consciousness, and a process by which people can understand themselves, their work, and others. Building on this foundation, the Handbook of Reflection and Reflective Inquiry analyzes through the work of 40 internationally oriented authors: Definitional issues concerning reflection, what it is and is not; Worldwide social and moral conditions contributing to the growing interest in reflective inquiry in professional education; Reflection as promoted across professional educational domains, including K-12 education, teacher education, occupational therapy, and the law, among others; Methods of facilitating and scaffolding reflective engagement; Current pedagogical and research practices in reflection; Approaches to assessing reflective inquiry; Educators across the professions as well as adult educators, counselors and psychologists.

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Written by learningchange

August 27, 2014 at 1:43 pm

Action Research: Social Research for Social Change

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How do social researchers know how to select the action research (AR) approach that is most appropriate for their study? Aimed at providing newcomers to AR with the different approaches they seek, Action Research introduces the history, philosophy, social change agenda, methodologies, ethical arguments for, and fieldwork tools of AR. The book opens with a brief presentation of two cases of AR. This is followed by chapter on the philosophical and methodological arguments for AR as a form of scientific inquiry that better meets scientific standards than what is currently called “social science” in academia. The authors next explore the marginalization of AR activities in academia, followed by four cases drawn from the authors own practice, including some examples of failures. Two new chapters engage the student and researcher into the current debates on action research as “tradition” or its own “methodology“, and how action research takes shape in the university environment. In the final section of the book the authors cover six different approaches to doing AR. Throughout the book, the authors employ a consistent AR praxis supported by suitable methods and tools to integrate a philosophical, methodological, and political economic position to view the different kinds of AR practices. Action Research provides experienced researchers and practitioners with more appropriate and productive ways of using AR for conducting social research.

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Written by learningchange

August 26, 2014 at 10:01 am

A beginner’s Guide to Action Research

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Action research consists of a family of research methodologies which pursue action and research outcomes at the same time. It therefore has some components which resemble consultancy or change agency, and some which resemble field research. Conventional experimental research, for good reason, has developed certain principles to guide its conduct. These principles are appropriate for certain types of research; but they can actually inhibit effective change. Action research has had to develop a different set of principles. It also has some characteristic differences from most other qualitative methods.

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Written by learningchange

August 25, 2014 at 3:30 pm

Posted in Action research

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Is Maximizing the Impact of Research Desirable?

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Currently, there are considerable demands made upon social science to demonstrate its ‘impact.’ These are institutionalized in the requirements laid down by funding bodies and in attempts strategically to manage research within universities. Moreover, as part of campaigns designed to protect the funding of social science there have been efforts to provide evidence of its impact and thereby of its value. Underpinning all this is the generally accepted assumption that it is desirable to maximize the impact of research on policymaking and practice. But is this true?

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Written by learningchange

June 5, 2014 at 10:59 am

Posted in Research

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Engaging Adolescent Participants in Academic Research

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This article examines the use of photo-elicitation interviews as a qualitative research method when studying aspects of adolescent behaviour. In particular, it describes and evaluates the use of photo-elicitation interviews to investigate the outdoor education experiences of a group of 34 (12 male, 22 female) New Zealand secondary school students (aged 14–15 years old) who attended a school-based outdoor education programme, referred to throughout as ‘school camp’. Results indicate that the use of cameras, and hence photographs, are attractive features of the technique that render it suitable for engaging young people in academic research and exploring social experiences. While the inclusion of cameras also presents some methodological limitations and ethical considerations, photo-elicitation interviewing is a useful addition to the suite of qualitative research methods employed in outdoor education research.

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Written by learningchange

May 23, 2014 at 11:13 am

On Writing Academic Research Papers

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The research paper is a popular academic assignment. Forms of it are also used in various professional fields. The research paper gives you the opportunity to think seriously about some issue. Building on the research of others, you have the opportunity to contribute your own research and insights to a particular question of interest to you. It also gives you practice in important academic skills such as:

  • formulating research questions
  • conducting research
  • managing time
  • organizing information into coherent ideas
  • substantiating arguments with research in the field. and
  • presenting insights about the research

Disciplines vary in their ways of conducting research, in writing research papers, and in the form of the final copy. View sample papers and guides for documenting sources in the four major styles (humanities, social sciences, history, and sciences).

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Read also: Prewriting Strategies

The Writing Process

Inspirational Writing for Academic Publication

Written by learningchange

May 6, 2014 at 11:32 am

Posted in Research, Writing

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A poetic, critical realist approach to documenting the voices of homeless immigrant women

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Methodological debates concerning  feminist research design tend to focus more on the process of data collection than on the process of data representation. Nevertheless, data representation is fraught with difficulties, especially in communicating research findings concerning vulnerable populations to diverse individuals and groups. How do feminist social work researchers represent the voice of the research participants to community and service organizations while simultaneously meeting the expectations of the academic or political institutions soliciting the research? In this article, we discuss how we approached this dilemma with data collected through a research study on immigrant women experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity. Guided by feminist methodological principles, we drew on the tenets of critical realist theory, integrating this analysis with poetic inquiry to reconstruct the women’s voices in the representations of research data. We discuss these modalities and provide two case examples to illustrate their application.

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Written by learningchange

April 1, 2014 at 11:01 am

Best Practices in the Reporting of Participatory Action Research

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In this article, the authors present best-practices suggestions for writing about PAR based on an analysis of PAR articles published between 2000 and 2008. PAR does not necessarily conform to established report-writing conventions, including the organization of an article with familiar sections such as procedures, instruments, data analysis, and results. PAR authors, then, are left largely up to their own devices with regard to how to guide readers through their discussion. This is absolutely not to suggest that PAR write-ups should be forced into a strict sequence of topics. One of the appealing aspects of the PAR literature is the creativity and passion of its authors and the rich narrative quality that many of them bring to their writing, which also allows community voices to emerge more authentically. Nevertheless, it is obviously more helpful when the report is organized in some fashion that allows readers to follow along without getting lost and when authors present enough facts to convey the essential parameters of the project. As we reviewed this literature, we began to look ahead to the day when some of us might want to write about our own projects, and we decided to identify those characteristics that, for us, distinguished the best writing about PAR. Under the final heading, organization of the write-up, we profiled the approach taken by the authors to the presentation of the project.

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Written by learningchange

April 1, 2014 at 9:26 am