Action Learning and Action Research: Genres and Approaches

Ortrun Zuber-Skeritt
Griffith University, Australia

Lesley Wood
North West University, South Africa


Product Details
Format:
Hardback
ISBN:
9781787695382
Published:
11 Mar 2019
Publisher:
Emerald Publishing Limited
Dimensions:
272 pages - 152 x 229mm

Categories:

Action Research (AR) is an ideal methodology to enable practical and emancipatory outcomes, as well as to generate relevant and authentic theory. Consequently, it has gained popularity worldwide. However, this emerging paradigm of AR in the Social Sciences has been widely misunderstood and misused by researchers, educators and practitioners.
The integration of Action Learning with Action Research deepens understanding and contributes to new knowledge about the theory, practice and processes of Action Learning (AL) and Action Research (AR). It clarifies what constitutes AL/AR in its many forms and what it is not. AL and AR enable participants to effectively approach increasingly complex global challenges confronting humankind in this twenty-first century, collectively achieve practical, emancipatory and sustainable outcomes and generate relevant, authentic theory. This book, written by internationally renowned experts, is the first to provide a comprehensive overview of the main genres and approaches of AL/AR. They explain the genre of their expertise, reflect on their rich experiences with it, and consider both the common features shared across the AL/AR paradigm and what is distinctive about the particular genre they overview. This book discusses the what, why and how of their particular approach and will prove invaluable for students, researchers and practitioners alike.
Introduction 
Chapter 1. Introduction to Action Learning and Action Research: Genres and Approaches; Ortrun Zuber-Skerritt and Lesley Wood
Part I  Action Learning (AL) 
Chapter 2. Action Learning: Past, Present and Future; Robin Hurst and Michael Marquardt 
Chapter 3. Lifelong Action Learning: Principles and Case Studies; Richard Teare 
Chapter 4. Action Learning and Mindfulness for Mental Health in the Workplace; Ron Passfield 
Chapter 5. Integrating Action Learning with Action Research (ALAR); Ortrun Zuber-Skerritt 
Part II Action Research (AR) 
Chapter 6. Demystifying Action Research; David Coghlan 
Chapter 7. Action Research for Self-Study and Living-Educational-Theories; Jack Whitehead 
Chapter 8. Educational Action Research; Franz Rauch, Stefan Zehetmeier and Peter Posch 
Chapter 9. Designing and Facilitating Systemic Action Research at Scale; Danny Burns 
Chapter 10. Action Science; Bob Dick 
Chapter 11. Appreciative Inquiry: Positive Action Research; Diana Whitney, Amanda Trosten-Bloom and Maria Giovanna Vianello 
Chapter 12. Critical Participatory Action Research; Stephen Kemmis, Robin McTaggart and Rhonda Nixon 
Chapter 13. Participatory Action Learning and Action Research for Community Engagement; Lesley Wood 
Conclusion 
Chapter 14. Reflections and Conclusions; Ortrun Zuber-Skerritt and Lesley Wood
Ortrun Zuber-Skerritt, PhD, is an Adjunct Professor at Griffith University, Australia and Honorary Research Fellow at North-West University, South Africa. In 2018 she was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia, a prestigious national honour for “distinguished service to tertiary education in the field of action research and learning as an academic, author and mentor, and to professional bodies.
Lesley Wood, DEd, is a Research Professor in the Faculty of Education at North-West University, South Africa; Director of the research niche area, Community-Based Educational Research (COMBER). She is a National Research Foundation (NRF) rated researcher and has published over 70 articles, chapters and books, and has received several internationally funded grants for her projects.
This edited collection takes on the valuable but difficult task of identifying the non-negotiable or defining characteristics of action learning (AL) and action research (AR). The task is difficult because the ‘action’ approach values multiple perspectives and worldviews and encourages participants to own and create their knowledge. This results in a family of approaches as AL/AR evolves to serve practitioners in their learning process. As editors, Zuber-Skerritt and Wood [have invited a wide range of perspectives from AL/AR advocates/scholars who have contributed to the evolution of the now many genres. They close with embracing their goal of deepening understanding AL/AR as philosophy, methodology, theory of learning, and process for community engagement. This book does an excellent job of challenging action researchers to critically think through their traditions in contrast to other approaches. The chapters provide a solid foundation for AL and AR approaches to create understandings and knowledge based on values and worldviews that uphold inclusion and will further develop the quality of social sciences and our democratic world. - Margaret Riel, PhD, Director, Center for Collaborative Action Research, Pepperdine University, Los Angeles, CA, USA

The author list for this edited book reads like a ‘who’s who’ in action learning (AL) and action research (AR). These authors are leaders in the field internationally, bringing years of research and theoretical and professional experience to their writing. Many of these authors influenced my own action research PhD in coaching leadership over two decades ago and I wish such a text had been available then. It offers extensive perspectives on the subject, with strong validation of research methodologies. AR has been generally misunderstood in universities and not highly regarded as a research paradigm. Supervision of action research postgraduate studies can be? problematic, and for the AL/AR scholar/researcher may feel murky and difficult to negotiate. But this complexity typically matches the wicked problems, often those of justice, social relationships and environmental sustainability, that ALAR seeks to address. In this way, the paradigm is true to its early beginnings in Kurt Lewin’s work – in pursuit of social justice.

This is a text for leaders of organizations, schools and community groups, who want to engage the people who are affected by problems in the creation of the solutions. It offers readers inclusivity of perspectives and will be a beneficial read for beginning action researchers and their supervisors, more experienced action researchers wanting further critical perspectives and challenge, and for leaders in the field wanting to engage in participatory AL/AR. - Jan Robertson, PhD, Adjunct Professor Griffith University, Academic Leadership Consultant and Author of Coaching Leadership: Building educational leadership capacity through partnership, New Zealand

I have learned that whenever Ortrun Zuber-Skerritt publishes something, it is worth paying attention. Zuber-Skerritt and Lesley Wood have put together an edited collection that is unusual in being integrated around a principled overview of the fields of action research (AR) and action learning (AL). The overview distinguishes usefully between action learning and action research, and makes a case for their synergies and differences in ways that enhanced my understandings greatly. This is accomplished by the editors’ having recruited the principal exponents of the genres that are the topics of each chapter and asked them to reflect synthetically on their particular areas of work. The result is both a panoramic view of AL and AR and a deep dive into many of the varieties of practice. The writing is clear, pedagogically adept, and analytically cogent. The editors and the contributors deserve great credit for having put together such a useful and thoughtful overview of these fields. - Davydd Greenwood, PhD, Goldwin Smith Professor of Anthropology, Cornell University, USA

This book is of great merit to its editors, Ortrun Zuber-Skerritt, the Australian Doyenne of AL and AR, and her colleague Lesley Wood, having collected contributions from outstanding scholars and experienced practitioners in the field of AL & AR from all over the world. This is not just a collection of articles. Presented within a well substantiated framework, the chapters reveal the evolution of this participatory, transformational paradigm, unfolding the great utility, diversity and richness of the various genres of AL and AR, and thus offering a very useful, comprehensive guide. Readers will benefit greatly from the didactic of every chapter – not only illustrating the what, why, and how of each genre, but also offering topics for further discussion and reflection, and tips for further reading. This rich collection on AL and AR can be very useful for not only emerging scholars and other newcomer practitioners but also for more experienced scholars, looking for their own way of adapting this approach creatively and constructively – at this time when AL and AR have such methodological relevance for resolving small and large scale difficulties in our complex world. - Stephan Laske, PhD, Emeritus Professor, University of Innsbruck, Austria

This book brings together a collection of interesting works from established scholars to bring to light various genres and approaches in the fields of action learning and action research. From the conceptual discussions and practical exemplars, readers of this book who are new to action learning and action research will gain a clearer understanding of the what, how and why of action learning and action research. Readers with greater familiarity and experience in the field will gain a deeper appreciation of the field’s traditions as well as new curiosity – or wondering into the future – about how action learning and action research can be relevant and integrated to new genres and approaches. This book is also a timely reminder of how the participatory paradigm can be a forceful counter response to the growing neoliberalism of the twenty-first century. - Hairon Salleh, PhD, Associate Professor, Policy and Leadership Studies, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

I welcome the appearance of this new survey of action learning and action research, compiled by leading scholars from Australia, USA, UK, Ireland, South Africa and Austria. This book promises some interesting excursions into intriguing aspects of action learning and action research practice in a difficult field of work, and I look forward to reading it. - Professor Mike Pedler, Emeritus Professor of Action Learning at Henley Business School, University of Reading, UK

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