Advertisement

Systemic Practice and Action Research

, Volume 22, Issue 5, pp 383–396 | Cite as

Quality in Action Research: Reflections for Second-Order Inquiry

  • Joel MartíEmail author
  • Tomás R. Villasante
Original Paper

Abstract

One of the current debates in action research concerns the quality of these practices. Up to now, many contributions have focused on defining specific criteria based on action research epistemology. This article sustains (1) that prior to dealing with these questions, it is necessary to define for what purpose and for whom we are making the evaluation; (2) that this leads us to make a distinction between different evaluation models; and (3) that the quality strategies and criteria will be different for each model. In particular, the article confronts an academic evaluation model as a form of external control over the quality of action research and an internal, participatory evaluation model as a quality strategy aimed at establishing feedback for the process. Final considerations are given about the implications of both models for academia.

Keywords

Quality Validity Evaluation Second-order inquiry 

References

  1. Anderson GL, Herr K, Nihlen AS (1994) Studying your own school: an educator’s guide to qualitative practitioner research. Sage, Thousand OaksGoogle Scholar
  2. Avison D, Baskerville R, Myers M (2001) Controlling action research projects. Inform Tech People 14(1):28–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bradbury H, Reason P (2001) Conclusion: broadening the bandwidth of validity: issues and choice-points for improving the quality of action research. In: Reason P, Bradbury H (eds) Handbook of action research: participatory inquiry and practice. Sage, London, pp 447–455Google Scholar
  4. Campbell DT, Stanley JC (1963) Experimental and quasi-experimental designs for research on teaching. In: Gage NL (ed) Handbook of research on teaching. Rand McNally, Chicago, pp 171–246Google Scholar
  5. Castellà C, Jorba L (2005) Evaluación de las experiencias participativas en la gestión local de Cataluña: potencialidades y amenazas. Gestión y análisis de políticas publicas 32:79–100Google Scholar
  6. Champion D, Stowell F (2003) Validating action research field studies: PEArL. Syst Pract Act Res 16(1):21–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chandler D, Torbert B (2003) Transforming inquiry and action by interweaving 27 flavors of action research. Action Res 1(2):133–152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Checkland P, Holwell S (1998) Action research: its nature and validity. Syst Pract Act Res 11(1):9–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cochran-Smith M, Lytle S (1993) Inside/outside: teacher research and knowledge. Teachers College Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  10. Cousins JB, Earl LM (1995) Participatory evaluation in education: studies of evaluation use and organizational learning. Falmer, LondonGoogle Scholar
  11. Dewey J (1941) Propositions, warranted assertibility and truth. J Philos 38(7):169–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Elliot J (1991) Action research for educational change. Open University Press, PhiladelphiaGoogle Scholar
  13. Fals Borda O (1994) El problema de cómo investigar la realidad para transformarla por la praxis, Tercer Mundo, BogotáGoogle Scholar
  14. Fals Borda O (2001) Participatory (action) research in social theory: origins and challenges. In: Reason P, Bradbury H (eds) Handbook of action research: participative inquiry and practice. Sage, Thousand Oaks, pp 27–37Google Scholar
  15. Feldman A (2007) Validity and quality in action research. Educ Action Res 15(1):21–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fetterman DM (2001) Foundation of empowerment evaluation. Sage, Thousand OaksGoogle Scholar
  17. Greenwood DJ (2007) Teaching/learning action research requires fundamental reforms in public higher education. Action Res 5(3):249–264CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Greenwood DJ, Levin M (1998) Introduction to action research: social research for social change. Sage, Thousand OaksGoogle Scholar
  19. Guba EG, Lincoln YS (1981) Effective evaluation: improving the usefulness of evaluation results through responsive and naturalistic approaches. Jossey-Bass, San FranciscoGoogle Scholar
  20. Heikkinen HLT, Huttunen R, Syrjälä L (2007) Action research as narrative: five principles for validation. Educ Action Res 15(1):5–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Heron J (1996a) Quality as primacy of the practical. Qual Inq 2(1):41–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Heron J (1996b) Co-operative inquiry: research into the human condition. Sage, LondonGoogle Scholar
  23. Herr K, Anderson GL (2005) The action research dissertation: a guide for students and faculty. Sage, Thousand OaksGoogle Scholar
  24. Hope KW, Waterman HA (2003) Praiseworthy pragmatism? Validity and action research. J Adv Nurs 44(2):120–127CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kandlbinder P (2004) Reconstructing educational technology: a critical analysis of online teaching and learning in the university. Unpublished doctoral thesis, University of Sydney, SydneyGoogle Scholar
  26. Kvale S (1995) The social construction of validity. Qual Inq 1(1):19–40CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lapassade G (1971) L’Analyseur et l’Analyste. Gauthiers-Villars, ParisGoogle Scholar
  28. Lather P (1986) Issues of validity in openly ideological research: between a rock and a hard place. Interchange 17:63–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Lincoln Y (1995) Emerging criteria for quality in qualitative and interpretive research. Qual Inq 1(3):275–289CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lincoln Y, Guba E (1985) Naturalistic inquiry. Sage, Thousand OaksGoogle Scholar
  31. Losito B, Pozzo G, Somekh B (1998) Exploring the labyrinth of first and second order inquiry in action research. Educ Action Res 6(2):219–240CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Martí J (2008) From local practices to public knowledge: action research as scientific contribution. Review Essay [online]. Forum Qual Soc Res, 9(2), art. 2. Available at http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs080320 (Date of access: 10 November 2008)
  33. McTaggart R (1998) Is validity really an issue for participatory action research? Cult Organ 4(2):211–236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. O’Sullivan RG (2004) Practicing evaluation: a collaborative approach. Sage, Thousand OaksGoogle Scholar
  35. O’Sullivan RG, O’Sullivan JM (1998) Evaluation voices: promoting evaluation from within programs through collaboration. Eval Program Plan 21(1):21–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Patton MQ (1981) Practical evaluation. Sage, Newbury ParkGoogle Scholar
  37. Patton MQ (2002) Qualitative research and evaluation methods, 3rd edn. Sage, Thousand OaksGoogle Scholar
  38. Reason P (2006) Choice and quality in action research practice. J Manag Inq 6(15):187–203CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Santos BS (2002) Para uma sociologia das ausências e uma sociologia das emergências. Revista Crítica de Ciências Sociais 63:237–280Google Scholar
  40. Santos BS (2003) Crítica de la razón indolente. Contra el desperdicio de la experiencia. Desclée de Brouwer, BilbaoGoogle Scholar
  41. Schwandt TA (1996) Farewell to criteriology. Qual Inq 2(1):58–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Stake R (ed) (1975) Evaluating the arts in education: a responsive approach. Merrill, ColumbusGoogle Scholar
  43. Stake R (1994) Case studies. In: Denzin NK, Lincoln YS (eds) Handbook of qualitative research. Sage, Thousand Oaks, pp 236–247Google Scholar
  44. Stevenson RB (2002) Judging the quality of participatory action research. Paper presented at ISA Conference, BrisbaneGoogle Scholar
  45. Stringer ET (2007) Action research. Sage, Thousand OaksGoogle Scholar
  46. Torbert WR (2000) Transforming social science: integrating quantitative, qualitative, and action research. In: Sherman F, Torbert WR (eds) Transforming social inquiry, transforming social action. Kluwer, Boston, pp 67–92Google Scholar
  47. Turnock C, Gibson V (2001) Validity in action research: a discussion on theoretical and practice issues encountered whilst using observation to collect data. J Adv Nurs 36(3):471–477CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Villasante TR (2006) Desbordes creativos, Los Libros de la Catarata, MadridGoogle Scholar
  49. Villasante TR, Garrido J (2001) Methodologies for the participant construction of knowledge. Syst Pract Act Res 14(4):483–493CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Watkins KE (1991) Validity in action research. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Chicago, 3–7 April 1991)Google Scholar
  51. Zuber-Skerritt O, Fletcher M (2007) The quality of an action research thesis in social sciences. Qual Assur Educ 15(4):413–436CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyAutonomous University of BarcelonaBellaterraSpain
  2. 2.Department of Sociology IIComplutense University of MadridMadridSpain

Personalised recommendations