Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 413464
Title Reflexivity in action research
Author(s) During, R.
Event CU Expo 2011, Community-University Partnerships: Bringing Global Perspectives to Local Action, 2011-05-10/2011-05-14
Department(s) CL - Urban and Regional Development
Land Use Planning
WASS
Publication type Abstract in scientific journal or proceedings
Publication year 2011
Abstract 455. Reflexivity in action research The science shop supports non-profit organizations by implementing research projects with a potential societal impact. The research projects are supposed to provide powerful instruments for analyzing complex issues, exploring possible solutions, and monitoring and evaluating the impacts of actions taken. Many science shop projects require a form of action research which might put the researcher in a difficult position. The way commissioners of the project define a specific problem they seek to solve, is likely to influence the researcher’s perspective on the issues, therewith influencing the research process. This issue receives increasing attention from social scientists studying the sociology of science practices. Some of them argue that this entanglement of research and praxis lead to a kind of self-referentiality. Foucault addressed the problem of self-referentiality as inherent in scientific research. In his view a scientific discipline can only function on the basis of concealed presumptions and power inventions that preceded the accumulation of knowledge. Since power and knowledge are always entangled it is impossible to step aside relations of power and produce objective, independent knowledge. It would be very difficult not to get locked in the practitioners self referential problem definitions. Detaching from them requires the ability to be self-critical by means of an ongoing awareness of the power-knowledge practices in which one is involved. This way, researchers might provide different perspectives on the problem or the use of knowledge and expertise. The action researcher has to combine this with useful and effective knowledge that helps to solve the complex issues at stake. This article describes the dilemmas of a simultaneous quest for truth and performance in action research by means of various examples and lived experiences of action research, and it discusses the limits and possibilities of reflexivity.
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