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A Critical Action Research Reader


Patricia H. Hinchey

Since its inception, action research has been the subject of confusion and controversy. Can something be research if it doesn’t «prove» anything? Can something be action research if it’s a project run by an expert who does not consider participants co-researchers? Questions multiply when the general term is limited to critical action research. What makes critical action research different from action research generally?
Can the action research project of a classroom teacher intended to raise standardized test scores properly be considered critical? Is there a role for advocacy in any enterprise calling itself research? If critical action research is distinct from traditional empirical research, then what formats make sense for sharing results? This highly diverse collection of previously unpublished and published works offers a sampling of opinions on key theoretical and methodological questions, complemented by a wide range of critical action research reports illustrating what various theories look like in practice. The book provides a sketch of the topography of critical action research terrain and illuminates some diverse paths through it.
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3 The Utility of Educational Action Research for Emancipatory Change


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The Utility of Educational Action Research for Emancipatory Change

Kimberly Kinsler

Since its original promulgation, action research in general, and educational action research in particular, appear to have fallen short of significantly advancing social justice and emancipatory change, particularly in industrialized nations. More often, educational action research has been used as a technical tool to facilitate the use of particular teaching techniques; increase practical professional efficacy; and implement government policies. This may, in part, be due to the primacy advocates give to its meeting key theoretical and practical university-based considerations. While there has been significant debate and advocacy for particular forms of action research as best suited to produce emancipatory consciousness and work, it is here asserted that each form has its own unique emancipatory potential and challenges. It is also asserted that too little attention has been paid to the practical outcomes of much educational action research, suggesting the need to rethink the esoteric nature and narrow range of criteria used to determine what counts as emancipatory research.

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