Epistemological Complexities Related to Action Research: Implications of community collaboration

Nina Boulus

Publikation: Konference artikel i Proceeding eller bog/rapport kapitelKonferenceabstrakt i proceedingsForskning


Recently, there has been a drift away from the so-called “old fashion” ivory tower scholarship, towards the creation of application-embedded scholarship. An increasing number of researchers are working in a context of action-oriented projects that are expected to generate practical insights to communities outside of the academic domain. This renewed interest in action research has been increasingly and explicitly supported by different funding organizations that wish to establish platforms of intervention that cut across the boundaries between university researchers and community partners. However, despite the considerably high interest in this movement, very little has been written about the actual nature of such collaboration and the unintended consequences of such research. This approach changes not only the development of research agendas, but also the way researchers create knowledge. In other words, it brings forward new modes of knowledge production, where insights are transformed from the context of theoretical discussion to the context of application. To illustrate this, I will draw upon my project which follows an action research approach and is conducted through a close collaboration with a community partner. I will show how such research approach and settings impacts the kind of knowledge that is accumulated. Accordingly, I will describe how from researching implementations of Electronic Medical Records I was led to somewhere else, away from the original research agenda. Following self-reflexive and critical epistemological stance, I wish to shed a light on some of the challenges and unpredictable consequences that arise when conducting such research. My experience underlies the need for new conceptualizations and practices for conducting action research. In other words, I argue for the need to rethink and reformulate the way we do applied research, and establish methods that will provide room for critical resilience and for finding practical strategies to deal with such complex collaborations.
TitelCanadian Communication Association
StatusUdgivet - 2007
Udgivet eksterntJa


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