ELM 8100 Segment 2 The Logic of “Disrupting the Status Quo” Action research is known by many other names, including participatory research, collaborative inquiry, emancipatory research, action learning, and contextural action research, but all are variations on a theme. Put simply, action research is “learning by doing” – a group of people identify a problem, do something to resolve it, see how successful their efforts were, and if not satisfied, try again. While this is the essence of the approach, there are other key attributes of action research that differentiate it from common problem-solving activities that we all engage in every day.
A more succinct definition is, “Action research aims to contribute both to the practical concerns of people in an immediate problematic situation and to further the goals of social science simultaneously. Thus, there is a dual commitment in action research to study a system and concurrently to collaborate with members of the system in changing it in what is together regarded as a desirable direction. Accomplishing this twin goal requires the active collaboration of researcher and client, and thus it stresses the importance of co-learning as a primary aspect of the research process. (Gilmore, Krantz, & Ramirez, 2002). The main purpose of this article is to bring forth the notion of using effective action research in the educational arena in correlation with the Ed. D doctoral program and learners. The key question the authors pose for discussion is how the current design of action research can be incorporated in the Ed. D program that will effectively enhance the educational learners experiences as it pertains to the direct correlation to the design of action research and how the Ed.
D doctoral program and action research link together. The main inferences in the article is that transformation theory and its product, transformative learning, aids leaders in understanding and developing the necessary skills and processes which encourage them to challenge the status quo. In essence, transformative learning helps leaders to deconstruct conformity to the many social and cultural canons which have permeated U. S. public schools to the detriment of many of our students.
Quality educational practitioners understand that to maintain the status quo (of the existing social and cultural canons) is to “impede development of a sense of responsible agency” (Mezirow 1991, p. 8). The Key concept that must be understood about this article is that action research must be based on a sound and appropriate research methodology. Action researchers operate within a critical perspective grounded in the understanding that the action that is involved in some way transforms practice in the organization (Grogan, Donaldson, & Simmons, 2007).
If we take this line of reasoning used in the article seriously, it is thought that educational leaders will be able to identify and solve any issues within their organizations (Grogan, Donaldson, & Simmons, 2007), and if we fail to take this line of reasoning seriously it is thought that educational leaders will not become the change agents and will not be prepared to handle issues and the status quo want change. (Grogan, Donaldson, & Simmons, 2007).
The main point of view presented in this article is that action research’s primary goal focuses on turning the people involved into researchers, people learn best, and more willingly apply what they have learned, when they do it themselves. It also has a social dimension the research takes place in real-world situations, and aims to solve real problems. Finally, the initiating researcher, unlike in other disciplines, makes no attempt to remain objective, but openly acknowledges their bias to the other participants (Gilmore, Krantz, & Ramirez, 2002).
References Gilmore, Thomas, Jim Krantz, and Rafael Ramirez. “Action Based Modes of Inquiry and the Host-Researcher Relationship. ” Consultation 5. 3: 160-76. Grogan, M. , Donaldosn, J. , & Simmons, J. (2007). Disrupting the status quo: The action research dissertation as a transformative strategy. Retrieved April 22, 2011 from the Connexions web site: http://cnx. org/content/m14529/1. 2/ Mezirow, J. (1991). Transformative dimensions of adult learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.