By John A. Bilorusky (Phys'67)
(Routledge, 238 pages; 2021)
Principles and Methods of Transformative Action Research delves into both general principles and specific methods for basic steps in the action research process—asking questions, gathering and analyzing data, communicating findings, and pursuing action.
The role of collaboration is emphasized, with strategies of value to experts and engaged citizens in doing participatory research and community-based knowledge-building. Detailed attention is given to specific strategies of interviewing, participant observation, and judging and weighing evidence. The book draws on creative and critically minded elements of scientific traditions, such as transparency in telling the "story" of one’s inquiry, identifying data that are "exceptions to the rule," and the value of non-formulaic, improvisational designs. Quite distinctively, the book addresses how to write in one’s own voice, how to integrate action-and-inquiry into one’s everyday life, issues of ethics and social responsibility, and how to consider both immediate, practical needs and "bigger picture," systemic challenges.
This book can serve as an undergraduate or graduate social sciences text on research methods. It is also a guidebook for action-oriented research by academics, professionals, and lay people, alike in community agencies, schools, and grassroots organizations, and for socially relevant academic research concerned with social justice, multiculturalism, and inclusiveness.
Note from the author:
There is a companion, second volume to the book, Principles and Methods of Transformative Action Research--Cases and Stories of Transformative Action Research. The last chapter of that companion volume (also published this year by Routledge Press) is autobiographical, and includes discussion of the importance of my undergraduate years at CU in my developing motivation and appreciation for collaborative learning with others to engage in actions that make a difference. Specifically, I talk about the impact of the Honors Program under the leadership of the late, Dr. Walter Weir, and what I learned through involvement in student government, including as ASUC President, 1966-67.