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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 This highly diverse collection of previously unpublished and published works offers a sampling of opinions on key theoretical and methodological questions, complemented by a wide range of critical action research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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17 From Critical Research Practice to Critical Research Reporting


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From Critical Research Practice to Critical Research Reporting

A. Suresh Canagarajah

Recent discussions on qualitative and critical research orientations in the pages of this journal reflect and encourage the wide range of research approaches emerging as an alternative to, and in some cases in opposition to, traditional scientific-empirical approaches that have dominated most disciplines in the academy. But the modes of reporting research have been left out of consideration. Though research methods have been insight fully reconstructed for their hidde n assumptions and interests in keeping with a poststructuralist/postmodernist perspective on knowledge (see Peirce, 1995b; Pennycook, 1994), the ideological nature of research report ing has been overlooked. We must note that even if a study is carried out according to the emerging realizations, one can defeat or contradict these assumptions when presenting the findings according to the traditional conventions of academic research reporting. (Can we pour new wine into old bottles?)

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