Bob Dick: In the Pursuit of Change and Understanding
As Bob WILLIAMS interviews Bob DICK by email, he asks about important events and people in Bob DICK's life and the influence they have had. Bob DICK identifies people, challenge and participation as themes. From them he draws lessons about action research, his most used research methodology. Bob DICK identifies teachers, colleagues and mentors who have acted as role models for him and who have helped to increase his confidence in himself, his willingness to work at the boundaries of his knowledge, and his use of participative methods. He reports that it is when he is working at the margins of his skills and experience that his learning and productivity are often greatest. He comments on the reasons for his commitment to participative approaches to research. Together Bob WILLIAMS and Bob DICK discuss the direction of current action research and the role of the Internet. They reach two key conclusions about the important features of action research. One is that relationships are central to the action aspects of action research. Good relationships allow people to feel involved in the research and develop a sense of ownership. The other conclusion is that the research aspect of action research is driven by reflection and the key to reflection is exploring difference. Disagreements and disconfirming evidence most effectively point to emerging theory and deeper understanding. Other conclusions they reach are about the importance of the early stages of research, the need for flexibility and responsiveness to the research situation, and the desirability of treating action research as both science and performing art.
action research; reflection; Internet; learning; relationships; disconfirming evidence