Large Scale Change Action Research

Posted by Steve Waddell in Books & Chapters in Books, Publications on July 15, 2015

Waddell, S., McLachlan, M., Meszoely, G., & Waddock, S. ( 2015). Large Scale Change Action Research. In H. Bradbury (Ed.), Action Research Handbook (pp. 538-548): Sage.

Action researchers addressing change are often confronted by two key problems. One is that the issue they are addressing, even if apparently local, is often heavily influenced by larger systems within which the issue is embedded. Working to solve a problem at a neighborhood or local community level inevitably hits up against the structures and decision-making processes that the community might believe are beyond its capacity to influence. We refer to this as the embedded system issue. Some action researchers start with a large scale in mind, but the second problem for many is that adequately expanding the focus to systems of such scale and with such an array of actors and geographies create a perception that the task is beyond the scope of action research approaches. We call this the methodology for scale issue. In our chapter we illustrate and develop a framework for understanding and addressing these action research issues using two cases. We conclude by proposing seven guidance notes for scalable action researchers who want to address these issues.

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