Action Research in Human Services

Action Research in Human Services

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  • ISBN-13: 9780130974235
  • ISBN: 0130974234
  • Edition: 1
  • Publication Date: 2004
  • Publisher: Pearson


Rosalie Dwyer, Ernie Stringer


Introduction Action Research in Human Servicespresents an approach to action research that assists human service professionals to improving their practice. Though the action research processes articulated in this book may be used effectively with individuals, they are particularly relevant to work with groups, families, and communities. Action research is suited to a wide range of human services work--child protection, family support, domestic violence, juvenile justice, corrections, youth work, aged care, rehabilitation, community work, community development, services to the disabled, and others. Ultimately, action research enables human service professionals to work in partnership with clients, community groups, colleagues, and others to explore significant issues and to take therapeutic action to resolve problems. The general orientation of this book is toward a participatory approach to research. It is a style of investigation grounded in the belief that effective solutions to significant problems are more likely to emerge where all "stakeholders"--those who are affected or have an effect on an issue--are involved in the processes of inquiry. Further, it enhances possibilities for connecting people to multiple networks of support within local organizations, neighborhood clubs, sports groups, schools, churches, and friendship groups. Though individual counseling and therapy continue to have an important place in this process, action research provides the basis for long-term, effective, and efficient measures to remedy problematic situations. Procedures described in this book not only build people's capacity to resolve issues effectively, but also provide long-term outcomes that strengthen families and communities, reduce dependency, and create healthier family and community environments. Approaches to Research Action Research in Human Servicesdoes not pretend to provide a comprehensive rendering of all the forms of action research, but rather presents a distinctive approach that has currency in many academic, professional, and community settings. The text offers an essentially qualitative approach to research that can be modified to accommodate researchers oriented toward other modes of inquiry. Qualitative research now encompasses a broad array of orientations and approaches, many of which are described in Denzin and Lincoln'sHandbook of Qualitative Research(2000). They are complemented by a range of approaches to action research presented by Reason and Bradbury in theHandbook of Action Research(2001) and by Susan Noffke (1997). The approach presented in this book derives from the need to be sensitive to the 1 diverse perspectives and experiences now evident in most modern communities--to give voice to those perspectives and empower people to develop more effective ways of dealing with their professional, personal, family, or community lives. This orientation emerges from recent developments within postmodern, feminist, and critical scholarship, so that issues of positioning, knowledge, and power are embedded in the research practices presented herein. Action Research on the Run One reviewer of a draft version of this book commented, "My students would never have time to do all this." The text is necessarily detailed, providing specific guidance for many of the skills that may be required for the different contexts and problems to which action research can be applied. The Look-Think-Act routine included in Chapter 1, however, has been used in planning or problem-solving sessions covering a period of only two hours. Though complex and endemic problems may require more extensive and detailed work, a simpler research process may be applied "on the run" for daily work issues. Professional practice is enhanced by the development of a culture of inquiry that helps people gain greater clarity in thinking about their workRosalie Dwyer is the author of 'Action Research in Human Services', published 2004 under ISBN 9780130974235 and ISBN 0130974234.

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