• Eupneic inquiry and 'quality' in first person action research

      Wall, Tony; University of Chester (2010-09-09)
      Metaphorically, 'action research' can be constructed as a colourful group of powerful worlds, with different worldviews, including potentially different views of, amongst other things: who we are as inquirers, our relationship with the world/ourselves, what we should aim to do, and how we should get there. One world (or perhaps a beautiful lake within a world?) that has become particularly vibrant is the world of first-person action research (also referred to as self inquiry or self study). A particular strand within this world thrives off the 'lived experience of the everyday'. This strand can gel and entangle productively with notions and connotations of 'eupnea': a medical term for 'normal, unlaboured' breathing. A natural activity. An activity that allows us to create energy, and remove waste. Regulated utWsub-consciously, as well as consciously, second-by-second. It sustains our life, (usually) from the day we are born. Such an entanglement can create a notion of inquiry, which moves from a formal, Research Project space, into a more informal, everyday, live space. A space, which is occupied with inquiry for-life, with-life, as-life, and in-life. Through my ongoing research about 'quality' in such first person action research, a number of themes emerged, including: managing sharp attention-in-the-moment; critical questioning; cycles of action/reflection; exploring perspectives and interpretations; capturing 'thick, live descriptions' to enable readers to 'relive' the researcher's experience; being ethical; the use of others' voices to verify and/or validate; and issues relating to communicating 'findings' to others. More importantly, voices had emerged that articulated the notion of 'quality' in research as "taking an attitude of inquiry". This notion echoes the breathing notion, where the research becomes an ongoing activity, pervading, shaping and enhancing our life over time. This session tentatively constructs the notion of breathing inquiry as practices for life long inquiry as life long learning, and reviews the challenges of such a notion. It shares (and questions) the recent research undertaken on 'quality' in such lived inquiry, and glimpses at specific strategies and tools inquirers can adopt to develop and enliven current inquiries. It is hoped that the co-inquiry in the session will shape the notions constructed above.