Action-Research is a philosophy of knowledge and science that enables community social service agencies to continuously improve the quality of their service and to assume advocacy roles on matters of public policy on the social issues of importance to the mission of the agency.
The Action-Research Model treats doing and understanding as complementary parts of a single activity. One can no do effective social services unless it is based on a solid foundation of understanding. In turn, a sound social policy is based on a knowledge of how practical interventions and change take place. Neither doing nor understanding can exist without the other. Each are the means for the other's ends. Effective social services is the criterion for evaluating public policy no less than the a sound conceptualization is the basis of informed best practices.
Doing is the basis for understanding. Agencies need to keep records to know what they have and have not accomplished. This is the basis for getting better. Only through knowledge of what is actually happening can improvements be made. Doing is the proof on which understanding is based, and the evidence for new and better understanding.
Understanding is the basis for doing. Agencies need to have a clear sense of what they are trying to accomplish and how they are going to do it. Only when there is a specific and explicit rational for each activity can the claim be made to following best practices. Understanding is the foundation for intervention.
Go to Research Paper: "To Understand, Do -- and To Do, Understand" a research publication by K. Edward Renner.
Go to Research Paper: "Evaluation Research: Help or Hindrance?" a popular essay on action-research by K. Edward Renner.
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