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Participatory Action-Research

Readings on Action-Research Methods, the “WISR Way”

Two new books, authored by WISR President, John Bilorusky, with contributions from WISR faculty, alumni and students was released by Routledge Press on April 21, 2021.

To order the books from Routledge Press, read advanced reviews of each book by experts in the field and to see a preview of the Table of Contents, first chapter and more,  go to:

Principles and Methods: https://bit.ly/39p0BWJ









Cases and Stories: https://bit.ly/3d8QPZy

Recording of the Question and Answer Session on the Books, Saturday, May 1, 2021 when we celebrated WISR’s 46th Anniversary learning about these two new books in a question and answer session with John Bilorusky. The books grew out of 45 years of efforts by John Bilorusky, and other faculty, students, and alumni at WISR, to develop and put into practice methods of transformative action-research.

Principles and Methods: These methods are partly distinctive to the learning and efforts at WISR. They are also very much also based on several intellectual traditions, including: the naturalistic research methods of symbolic interactionists, the scientific methods practiced by the most creative physical scientists, for example: T.S. Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions and the Dreyfus Theory of Expert Knowledge.

Cases and Stories: The second volume includes vignettes describing and reflecting on ways to do action research for community, organizational, societal, and personal transformation–by over 20 WISR students and alumni. Also included are chapters by WISR alums David Yamada, Dennis HastingsMargery Coffey, and Marilyn Jackson (also a faculty/staff member), as well as by WISR faculty member, Sudia Paloma McCaleb, and WISR Master’s student, Kence Anderson. Former WISR faculty members, the late Dr. Terry Lunsford, and Dr. Cynthia Lawrence made extensive contributions to previous articles that have been rewritten and included as important parts of the book, as did former students, Vera Labat and Shyaam Shabaka. 

Here, we highlight and briefly discuss readings that may be useful to promote thought and action that is informed, critically-minded and creative.  These readings are likely of interest both to WISR learners, and others interested in learning about action-research “the WISR way.”

Note: These articles have been written by WISR faculty over the past 30+ years, and they include general perspectives as well as specific tips on how we all can do meaningful action-inquiry and then do writing about our action-research endeavors, in order to better share our knowledge with others. These abstracts are meant as overviews and guides to the accompanying articles, not as substitutes for reading the articles in the entirety. Links are provided so that you may read and use each article in its entirety.

One strongly recommended and key overview article of WISR’s perspective on research—its main emphases and qualities, how we developed our perspective, as well as ways that it differs from conventional research in the social sciences, while still being quite similar to the best, cutting-edge research in the “hard” natural sciences–is the article,

“Participatory Action-Research, Inclusiveness, and Empowering Community Action at the Western Institute for Social Research”

https://www.wisr.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Participatory-Action-Research-Inclusiveness-and-Empowering-Action-at-WISR-1.pdf  written by long-time WISR core faculty, John Bilorusky, the late Terry Lunsford, and Cynthia Lawrence.

This article appeared in Democracy Works: Joining Theory to Action to Foster Global Social Change, edited by Torry Dickinson and Terrie Clark, with Summer B.C. Lewis, Boulder: CO: Paradigm Publishers, 2008. It appears on this website for use by WISR learners and others wishing to learn about WISR’s approach to action-research by special agreement with and appreciation to Paradigm Publishers.

40th Anniversary w-out 2015