Given that we have a new blog and a new issue (http://arj.sagepub.com), I will offer my editorial over the next few weeks as a conversation starter intended to invite you to the main event, i.e., the papers themselves in issue 8 (3). From there I invite your comments back to us, i.e., the community of action researchers - here on the blog. In other words we are seeking to get a little more interactive! Send posts to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. And yes we are working on linking to the issue more directly of course too!
In all the papers of issue 8 (3), I see the importance of creating mechanisms that encourage reflection both on our own practice and for our co-researchers. Self reflective practices are equally if differently relevant for work with boys in Australia (Weaver-Hightower), immigrants in Norway (Ataov, Brogger & Hildrum), and organization development experts (Huzzard, Ahlberg and Ekman). Feedback mechanisms that help develop self insight are not really the exotic extras that conventional social science would have us believe. They are crucial if we are to become aware of how our espoused values translate to actual impact with or upon others. What is shocking however is how often the very self reflective practices we espouse as central are simply abandoned given the press of action -- this is the finding of Volk's study.
I write this with a bit of a smile, because while it may be a burden to us all, it is probably also true that action researchers are called to be better human beings than the average. I don’t mean this in an obnoxious, self aggrandizing sense. I mean we need to be role models for being learning oriented, both with self and with others. At the same time we need also to plan for “evidence based” follow up studies and actually learn how our way of working is better, or not, than others. It may require years of work to see how an intervention pays dividends and how it compares with conventional intervention. Clearly issues of sustained funding are key - also a topic for future blogging among the global community!
Having just touched on a few of the upcoming articles in 8 (3) above, I will introduce each in more detail over the next few weeks in this 'voice of the editor' blogspot. All the articles are at http://arj.sagepub.com/