Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

With What Kind of Science Should Action Research Be Contrasted?

Contents:

Author Info

  • John Shotter
Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    Action research is often criticized for not being properly based in objective facts or for not formulating testable theories, in short, for not being properly scientific. But with what kind of science should it be contrasted? Hanson (1958) distinguishes between finished, (classical) sciences and research sciences. Unlike a finished science that can be conducted by us as individuals within an already well formulated disciplinary discourse, a research science cannot. If it is to inquire into possibilities not yet actualized, it must be conducted in a much more situated, conversational manner. Thus as researchers, instead of functioning as detached observers, seeking to discover the invisible or ‘hidden’ causes of an observed event, we must operate in an ongoing real-time situation in a much more dialogical manner. For such dialogically-structured activity can, within the dynamics of its unfolding, give rise to transitory understandings and action guiding anticipations of a ‘situated’ kind, thus enabling all those involved in such activity to ‘go on’ with each other in unconfused ways. It is this participation in a shared grammar of felt, moment by moment changing expectations that are – in the interests of a decontextualized objectivity – precluded (or ‘lost’) within the disciplinary discourses of a finished science. Thus, guided by Wittgenstein’s (1953) writings in his later philosophy, I want to show in this article that, not only is it more accurate to compare action research with research sciences than with classical sciences, but that action research can find its intellectual legitimacy in the same sphere of human conduct as all of our sciences – in people being responsibly accountable for their own actions to the others around them in terms of their immediate relations to their shared surroundings.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL: http://www.hampp-verlag.de/hampp_e-journals_IJAR.htm#107
    Download Restriction: no

    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Rainer Hampp Verlag in its journal International Journal of Action Research.

    Volume (Year): 3 (2007)
    Issue (Month): 1+2 ()
    Pages: 65 - 92

    as in new window
    Handle: RePEc:rai:ijares:doi_10.1688/1861-9916_ijar_2007_01_shotter

    Contact details of provider:
    Web page: http://www.hampp-verlag.de/

    Order Information:
    Postal: Rainer Hampp Verlag, Journals, Marktplatz 5, 86415 Mering, Germany. A subscripton is required to access pdf files. Pay per article is available at
    Email:
    Web: http://www.hampp-verlag.de/Hampp_Recherche_e.htm

    Related research

    Keywords: Wittgenstein; the background; ways of seeing; action guiding anticipations;

    Find related papers by JEL classification:

    References

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    Citations

    Lists

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:rai:ijares:doi_10.1688/1861-9916_ijar_2007_01_shotter. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Rainer Hampp).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.