Managing action research: the PEArL framework

2015-09-03T15:09:04Z (GMT) by Donna Champion
The difficulty of managing and validating Action Research field studies has been widely discussed. Several different approaches to Action Research have emerged, and one of the most widely used models is Checkland’s FMA model, where a framework is provided to facilitate interested individuals in ‘recovering’ the route of the inquiry. In this paper, I argue that the FMA model is a valuable tool for planning the application of theoretical ideas in a practical situation, but that, as a guide to Action Research, it still fails to provide a sense of the manner in which an inquiry is undertaken. The PEArL mnemonic has been previously offered as a guide to facilitate researchers, participants, and those interested in gaining an appreciation of the manner in which an inquiry is conducted. In this paper, it is argued that applying the PEArL elements does not provide insight into the dynamic nature of collaborative inquiry. In order to gain a sense of the manner in which an inquiry was undertaken it is necessary to apply the PEArL mnemonic alongside a framework that facilitates the flow of the action research cycle. To illustrate the framework, an Action Research field study is described that was undertaken with residents and key workers in a shelter for the homeless, where the aim was to create a shared understanding of complex needs and support requirements.