How can we be sure about the value and quality of an action research project? What value and quality should we expect? To answer these questions, this book focuses on the evaluation of action research rather than evaluation within the cycle. To evaluate quality and value the authors suggest that the cycles of research and action build together to make informed transformations of practice in line with the purpose of the project. These transformations are then evaluated in terms of the outcomes that make them visible; the processes that account for the transforming; and their generative potential.
Any evaluation of action research needs to use appropriate methods and criteria, such as authenticity, relevancy, involvement, methodological rigour, practical improvement, and transformation of consciousness; that is, understanding, learning, development, and personal growth. To show how this can be achieved, this book provides not only theoretical underpinnings for the evaluation of action research but also brings these underpinnings to life through the diverse examples provided through the wide range of projects that are described.
Among the key themes that thread throughout is the use of qualitative research methods for evaluation. For each method the authors provide a definition, purpose, explanation, application, and analysis, as well as outlining the advantages and disadvantages of each approach.
It is the authors’ hope that this book will prompt enhanced understanding and dialogue about the evaluation of action research.
Eileen Piggot-Irvine is the Associate Professor of Action Research and Director of the New Zealand Action Research and Review Centre at Unitec in Auckland. She was formerly Director of the New Zealand Principal and Leadership Centre at Massey University.
Brendan Bartlett is Head of the School of Cognition, Language and Special Education and a research theme leader of the Centre for Applied Language, Literacy and Communication Studies at Griffith University in Brisbane.