An accelerated practitioner research approach (APRA) for leaders and managers
AffiliationUniversity of Chester
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AbstractNegotiated work based learning pedagogies can be used to successfully engage busy professionals in higher level learning at universities, across professions and disciplines. Within this approach, professionals become familiar with designing, implementing and evaluating work based projects which contribute towards their degree. Yet when these professionals move from the familiar work based learning approach to ‘research’ (and particularly ‘insider-research’), they can experience significant challenge. There are a number of reasons for this: perceptions of (and beliefs about) ‘research’ as being objective/from the outside, diversity of approaches and language in research texts – and most significantly – the ‘extra layer’ of thinking of persuasive systematic inquiry (including focus, rigour and validity). In order to overcome this challenge, an accelerated approach has been developed and tested in practice to enable professionals to design rigorous practitioner research. An action research approach approach, drawing on appreciative inquiry and grounded theory, involved peer questioning, validation and idea development. Each cycle generated a new set of tools and approaches over time, including the design of a new ‘core process’, key questions, faciliated workshop, learning materials and re-development of the module specification. Within the ‘situated’ model, the professional starts/focuses on problems or areas for development in their own practice (not academic ‘gaps’) and adopts a ‘critical-practical’ philosophical lens. The ‘core process’ includes the professionals: in stage 1, reviewing context for desirable changes, reviewing external sources for insight and direction, and defining research purpose and research questions; and in stage 2, defining research approach, data collection and data analysis methods. We have found the following changes so far: professionals are more confident in designing and critiquing practitioner research; research designs are more focused, persuasive, realistic, rigorous and focused on ‘situated knowledge’; and designs are more strategically located within organisations. We also expect greater strategic impact when the designs area implemented.
CitationUnpublished conference presentation given at the Work Based Learning Futures V Conference at the University of Derby, 15-16 September 2011.
DescriptionThis conference paper is not available through ChesterRep.
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