Choose from one of the following but first note that he focus of the first assignment is on theoretical justification (theoretical argument) and not on research methods.
1) Select an area of theoretical knowledge that could inform qualitative research and critically explore the key concepts (or theoretical assumptions) of the approach.
2) The aim of traditional ethnography is to produce a ‘factual description’ of a cultural or sub-cultural group. Drawing on contemporary work on ethnography, critically challenge the idea of ‘factual description’ as an objective of ethnographic research.
3) Critically explore the use of action research as a strategy to promote social change.
4) Select an area of feminist knowledge and argue how it can inform research relevant to your area of practice.
5) Discourse analysis has gained currency as a research approach in the health sciences. Argue its application to a relevant area of your practice.
6) Negotiate a topic of choice. This is an opportunity for those enrolled in a research degree to develop their thesis work. Others may also negotiate a choice of topic area.
What is Action Research and its Approaches?
Action research has been in use for the last one hundred years in different areas to solve different problems and bring social change in the society. Action research has broadly used in areas which include community development, in schools, carrying out researches affecting farmers and even in various organizations. All these action researches are aimed at bringing changes required in the given areas for the benefit of the people (Strack, Lovelace, Jordan, & Holmes, 2010).There is approach used known as (PAR), participatory action research. This involves people in the given area to investigate the required social change, make them understand problems facing them and participate in coming up with solutions to solve the given challenges. In this approach, the people give their views of the solutions through the identified stakeholders carrying out the action research.
Many social personnel and scientists have been involved to solve social problems in the society but in vain. They were not able to find an approach to reduce vices like poverty, diseases and promote education in the society where various strategies have been applied without much success. Most of the developing countries have used and involved social scientists to find ways of promoting social changes in the society by educating the people and creating awareness (Puhakainen, & Siponen, 2010). Action research has been identified as one of the more efficient approach in bringing social change required. Participatory action research has been employed in many areas of the world to enable social change in the community which affects people and find ways of solving their daily challenges. This approach involves members of the given community or society to actively participate in the process. The people in the oppressed society are free to give their views and suggest their solutions of the problems in the society. The people also actively participate in collecting and analysing data obtained together with that of the researchers to help improve the situation in the community.
Most of these action researches have been carried in developing countries although they are also conducted in developed nations to find solutions in different problems affecting the society. Most of these action researches are carried out with purposes of reducing major problems affecting the people like certain health matters, security issues as well as educational problems affecting children (Auerbach, Parkhurst, & Cáceres, 2011). Other purposes of the action research may include helping farmers improve their farming skills for efficient agricultural production which will bring food security to curb famine and water shortages. In cases like security threats to the community, all members in the given area are required to help in establishing the problems and coming up with ways to combat security issues. Together with the action researchers, community members work hand in hand to come up with convenient solutions to be applied in the area.
Participatory Action Research: A More Efficient Approach for Social Change
Action research has been used in community development to bring change in the society and empower the people living in the area. Community development was firstly used in Latin America but has since been used in many parts of the world to bring development to the people. This is carried out in different approaches where people are given knowledge through educational forums, establishing facilitators who work closely with the society of the oppressed individuals (Poland, Krupa, & McCall, 2009). All the people in the community then take the initiative as a problem-solving strategy for their challenges and world together to bring the change required. In some cases, those involved in action research in the community tend to use in future for power relations to get either political positions in the society. Therefore, this participatory action research may sometimes have conflicts if the people involved are not reaching agreements of the problems given.
Action research has also been applied in many social organizations with a purpose of solving different challenges and problems. It helps bringing collaboration and cooperation between the employers and clients in the organization. It is applied in organization field to enable members reach agreements and solve the problems affecting the organization for its success (Brown, Harris, & Russell, 2010). Action research therefore becomes an approach used by organizations for development as it provides a forum for employers to air their grievances and give their views on improving provision of services. This has entirely helped organizations in carrying out tasks for the maximum production and delivery of services to the people in the community. Action researchers ensure social systems of the given organization they are working on is made effective and more efficient by coming into agreement since they ensure high degree on development is maintained. It therefore becomes simple for the stakeholders of the organization to implement the proposed solutions and bring the change required.
Action research is has also been used in schools to bring changes required for better performance in the learning institutions. It has shown that for it to be more effective and work, all the stakeholders should be involved actively in articulating the problems and giving the solutions to be used to bring the necessary change (Zuber-Skerritt, 2013). There is also farmer action research which enables farmers to participate in the approach and give their grievances. It is mostly used as an education tool to provide farmers with more technical skills to apply them in the farms for better production to get high yields. It becomes a very useful tool especially to small farmers who may not be able to know the modern technology skills required in production. This largely helps them in promoting their farming knowledge for sustainable and effective production in agriculture (Valente, 2010). Action research in farmers is mostly carried out through farmers and agricultural experts by collaborating together and bringing the agricultural change and development required.
Action Research in Community Development, Organizations, Schools, and Agriculture
In case of educational matters affecting children in the area, parents and teachers are involved in the action research to establish the problems and finding suitable ways to bring the change. This calls for maximum cooperation among the involved parties to help acknowledge challenges children in the schools go through. This may be security issues along their way to school, teacher-student cooperation in the school and the behaviour of the students (Norton, 2009). The discipline of the students becomes essential in determining the solution to be employed to raise academic standards in the schools and the community at large. Action research can also be used to empower farmers in the community by teaching them new technological methods of agriculture. This will largely improve their production in the farms and help in providing enough food to the people and eventually promote development in the society. These are the social changes community requires for it to become self-sufficient in food production.
There are also health problems which may affect society and needs attention to save the lives of the people. Action researchers together with the affected people in the society work together to first establish the causes of the certain outbreak of disease, what should be done to stop the illness from spreading in many areas and which measures should be put in place to stop the infection (Mertens, 2014). Health personnel who carry out the research ensure they determine the problem causing the infection for instance contaminated water in the area may bring water-borne diseases like typhoid and cholera which requires prevention shortest time possible before spreading. All these are instances which show action research requires maximum participation of the people in the oppressed community to work hand in hand with the researchers.
Action research taking place in a given community is aimed to bring change in the area for the benefit of the people residing in the place. The main objective of the participatory action research is geared towards resolving a practical challenge in that given community for the benefit of the dwellers (Wong, Zimmerman, & Parker, 2010). This is the major aim of the research for the good of the people in the area to ensure the wellbeing of the community at large. There is also another objective of action research is to ensure shifts are created in balancing of power for the marginalized and poor people in the society. Action research ensures the voice of the most affected people in the community is heard and provides a forum for their issues to be addressed.
Objectives of Participatory Action Research for Social Change
These objectives are aimed at ensuring the well-being and equal development of the people in the society. It also helps in encouraging the people to become self-reliant and independent both in society and national levels to enable equity in the development of the natural resources. This action research has helped improve the lives of those marginalized people since their grievances are aired to the society and necessary actions taken (Korda, & Itani, 2013). It has also promoted gender equality in the community as it ensures both gender especially females are given an opportunity to participate in contributing to the society by taking social, economic and political positions for good governance of the community. Women are empowered more by creating activities and initiatives which promote their wellbeing and making them understand they are able to lead in the society in different positions. All these are social changes which the society requires especially in this century and present days where everyone is able to perform in various capacities of leadership (DiClemente, Crosby, & Kegler, 2009).
Participatory action study is normally challenging to carry out as it depends on different methodologies used in the past solving similar problems. It involves emphasizing the political nature of the action research at hand and then relating research activity to bringing transformative operations (Stringer, 2013). This involves the participation of the oppressed people in articulating their problems throughout the research process. Participatory action research, therefore, requires the parties involved work together to ensure there is good participation and understanding of the issues to be addressed during the research. Participatory action researches are mainly of two kinds which involve pragmatism as well as historical materialism. The difference between the two forms of research is the comparative emphasis placed on class and historical examination of sources of exploitation and problems faced in the society.
The main role of the action researchers is to catalyse change required in the society for the benefit of the people in the entire community. It also helps in educating people to know their rights and avoid cases of exploitation in their place of work as well as the conducive environment and good working conditions in their workplaces. Action research has also helped oppressed people in the society have a say in development projects since they are able to take place (Nutbeam, Harris, & Wise, 2010). Marginalized groups of people are able to participate in different fields of work once they are given the opportunity. The society at large has also being sensitized to give equal opportunity to both genders and avoid stigma towards disabled people. This has created a friendly and equal environment for every person in the society.
Challenges and Conclusion
From the analysis Action research has been considered as the strategy for community development that brings change in the society by empowering the people living in an area. The study helps identify the challenges that affect the community and help define solutions to eliminate the challenges. The various types include action research for organizations, community and farmers. The study collects data about the specific social areas to bring about comfort for the people involved. Action research is, therefore, a convenient approach used in identifying various problems that people face in the society and find ways to combat them for the social change required. This helps in improving the lives of the marginalized people in the society, as it provides a good channel for them to air out their daily life grievances. Therefore, action research is an important approach which can be recommended for the social change people require in the society and improve their lives.
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