Action Development - a fusion of Action Research and Appreciative Inquiry

Chris Jenkin, Senior Lecturer, School of Education, AUT
Dr Jens J. Hansen, Woodhill Park Research Retreat

This presentation introduced a model of development through research which emphasises the positive approaches inherent within Appreciative Inquirey and the procedures inherent in Action Research.  In other words, it proposes that Appreciative Inquiry (Hammond, 1998) and Action Research (McNiff & Whitehead, 2005) can be synthesised.  During a doctoral study of strategies used within ECE settings to implement Te Tiriti-based curriculum, it was found that Action Research, because it was problem-based, overlooked development born from an appreciation of the positives.  Hence, an alternative approach, Appreciative Inquiry was introduced with sound effect.  This involved a sequence of developmental stages which boosted the status quo by harnessing situational positives.  Staff at the case study centre where this was trialled responded favourably to that approach.  This success gave rise to the idea that a blend of both approaches would be even more useful and that strategy has been labelled as Action Development.  Details about this emergent model are described and critical commentary will be invited. 

McNiff, J., Whitehead, J. (2005). Action research for teachers: A practical guide. London: David Fulton Publishers.

Hammond, S. (1998). The thin book of appreciative inquiry (2nd ed.). Plano TX Thin Book Publishing Company. 

To view the accompanying powerpoint to this abstract, click here.