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Action Research. Kristian Rautiainen & Soile Pohjonen. Types of researcher/subject relationships. Researcher initiates the project. Subject involvement. Low. High. 1. Demography. 2. Experiments and surveys. Low. Researcher involvement. 3. Participant observation and ethnography.

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action research

Action Research

Kristian Rautiainen & Soile Pohjonen

types of researcher subject relationships
Types of researcher/subject relationships

Researcher initiates the project

Subject involvement



1. Demography

2. Experiments

and surveys




3. Participant

observation and


4. Action research



Subject initiates the project

Subject involvement



6. Internship

7. Educational

interventions and





5. Contract

research and

expert consulting

8. Process

consulting and

clinical inquiry


working definition
Working definition
  • Action research is a participatory, democratic process concerned with developing practical knowing in the pursuit of worthwhile human purposes, grounded in a participatory worldview which we believe is emerging at this moment
  • It seeks to bring together action and reflection, thoery and practice, in participation with others, in the pursuit of practical solutions to issues of pressing concern to people, and more generally the flourishing of individual persons and their communities
pathways of action research practice
Pathways of Action Research practice
  • First-person action research/practice
    • Inquiring approach of researcher to his/her own life
    • Acting with awareness and assessing effects in the outside world while acting
  • Second-person action research/practice
    • Inquiring face-to-face with other into issues of mutual concern
    • Includes development of communities of inquiry and learning organizations
  • Third-person action research/practice
    • A wider community of inquiry involving persons who have an impersonal quality
characteristics of action research
Characteristics of Action Research













dimensions of a participatory worldview
Dimensions of a participatory worldview

Meaning and









being and




questions for validity and quality in inquiry
Questions for validity and quality in inquiry




Questions of


and enduring


Questions of



Questions of

outcome and


Questions about

plural ways of


issues as choice points and questions for quality in action research
Issues as choice-points and questions for quality in action research
  • Is the action research:
    • Explicit in developing a praxis of relational-participation?
    • Guided by reflexive concern for practical outcome?
    • Inclusive of a plurality of knowing?
      • Ensuring conceptual-theoretical integrity?
      • Embracing ways of knowing beyond the intellect?
      • Intentionally choosing appropriate research methods?
    • Worthy of the term significant?
    • Emerging towards a new and enduring infrastructure?
inquiry cultures

Rational, linear, systematic, controlling and explicit approach to the process of cycling between reflection and action

Each reflection phase reflects on data from the last action phase and applies the thinking to planning the next action phase


Imaginal, expressive, spiralling, diffuse, impromptu and tacit approach to the interplay between making sense and action


Descriptive of domain of expertise


Exploring practice being transformative of it

Inquiry cultures
ways of knowing
Ways of knowing
  • Experiential knowing
    • Knowing through the immediacy of perceiving
  • Presentational knowing
    • Emerges from experiential knowing
    • A form of expressing meaning through some media
  • Propositional knowing
    • Knowing through ideas and theories
  • Practical knowing
    • Knowing ‘how to’ do something
action research model cummings huse 1989
Action Research Model [Cummings & Huse, 1989]
  • Problem identification
  • Consultation with a behavioral science expert
  • Data gathering and preliminary diagnosis
  • Feedback to key client or group
  • Joint diagnosis of problem
  • Joint action planning
  • Action
  • Data gathering after action
process consultation
Process Consultation
  • Process Consultation is a set of activities on the part of the consultant that help the client to perceive, understand, and act upon the process events the occur in the client’s environment
the process consultation model
The Process Consultation model
  • Joint diagnosis by the client and consultant
  • The consultant shares his skills with the client
  • The consultant must be an expert on giving help
  • The client must learn to see the problem for himself
  • The client must make the ultimate decision on what remedy to apply
  • This way problems will be solved more permanently
  • The client learns skills necessary to solve new problems as they arise
stages in pc relationship
Stages in PC relationship
  • Initial contact with the client organization
  • Defining the relationship, psychological contract
  • Selecting a setting and method of work
  • Diagnostic interventions and data gathering
  • Confrontative interventions
  • Reducing involvement and termination
the psychological contract
The psychological contract
  • The formal decision as to how much time will be devoted to the consultation, what general services will be performed, and the form and amount of payment that will be used
  • The informal “psychological contract” that involves the client’s implicit (and sometimes explicit) expectations of what he will gain from the relationship as well as the obligations he will accept, and the consultant’s implicit (and sometimes explicit) expectations of what he will give and gain
lewin s model in pc
Lewin’s model in PC
  • Unfreezing: Creating motivation and readiness to change through
    • disconfirmation or lack of confirmation,
    • creation of guilt or anxiety, and
    • provision of psychological safety
Changing through cognitive restructuring: Helping the client to see things, judge things, feel things, and react to things differently based on a new point of view obtained through
    • identifying with a new role model, mentor, etc.
    • scanning the environment for new relevant information
Refreezing: Helping the client to integrate the new point of view into
    • the total personality and self-concept
    • significant relationships
who is the client
Who is the Client?
  • Contact clients approach the consultant initially
  • Intermediate clients get involved in early meetings or planning next steps
  • Primary clients own a problem for which they want help
  • Ultimate clients may or may not be directly involved with the consultant, but their welfare and interest must be considered in planning further interventions
strategic objectives of initial interventions
Strategic objectives of initial interventions
  • Provide help
  • Diagnose
    • Learning about what the initial client wants
      • Why is he calling now?
      • What are the issues?
      • Who are likely to be affected?
      • What is expected of the consultant?
  • Build an intervention team
    • Shared responsibility between the client and the consultant
types of interventions
Types of interventions
  • Exploratory interventions
    • “Can you tell me a bit more?”, “Can you describe the situation?”, “What do you have in mind?”
  • Diagnostic interventions
    • “How do you see the problem?”, “How can I help?”, “Why is this more of a problem now?”
types of interventions23
Types of interventions
  • Action alternative interventions
    • “What have you tried to do about this yourself?”, “Have you considered either of these two alternatives?”, “What would be the advantage and disadvantage of doing the following thing?”
  • Confrontive interventions
    • “Why don’t you do...?”, “You must define your goals more clearly!”, “Why did you come to me with this?”
  • Cummings, Thomas G., and Huse, Edgar F., Organization Development and Change. 4th edition, 1989. (Kirjastossa, en muista oliko Kauppis vai TuTa)
  • Handbook of Action Research, Peter Reason and Hilary Bradbury (editors), Sage Publications, 2001. (TuTan kirjastossa)
  • Schein, Edgar H., Process Consultation Volume II: Lessons for Managers and Consultants. Addison-Wesley, 1987. (Jarnolla henkilökohtainen kirja hyllyssä)
  • Stringer, Ernest T., Action Research. 2nd edition, Sage Publications, 1999. (Catalla kirja hyllyssä)