Bob Dick: In the Pursuit of Change and Understanding


  • Bob Williams



action research, reflection, Internet, learning, relationships, disconfirming evidence


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. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0403345


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Author Biography

Bob Williams

Bob WILLIAMS has a keen interest in group dynamics, program evaluation, action research, organizational development and systems based methods of inquiry. He has contributed to several books, written numerous articles, designed many workshops and participated extensively in Internet discussions on these subjects. He works all over the world, often from his home in Wellington, New Zealand. Bob spends part of the year up on a volcano as a snowboard instructor, and another part of the year in less solid water teaching windsurfing. In between he tries to earn some real money.




How to Cite

Williams, B. (2004). Bob Dick: In the Pursuit of Change and Understanding. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 5(3).