Action Research: Global conversations
By Linnea Rademaker
I'm Linnea Rademaker, the 2020-2022 chair of the action research SIG of AERA. In this podcast, we will feature conversations with action researchers around the globe, working in diverse contexts. We will discuss the challenges, nuances, and innovative advances in action research.
Episode 13: Participatory Action Research from within to effect change through a Critical Race Theory framework.
Rose Montgomery, Karon Hicks, Zoe Jamison, and Mia Ocean met with me to discuss their participatory action research project they conducted within their social work program at West Chester University. Our historically White university sought to better serve its surrounding communities and increase Black student enrollment by adding an urban satellite campus to complement its suburban main campus. However, multi-site universities face additional complexities and require thoughtful planning to provide support and access for students. Therefore, we formed a team of faculty, students, and alumni to engage in a participatory action research assistantship program and conduct a cross-campus comparison of Black graduate social work students’ experiences. Subsequently, we shared our findings with university stakeholders to enact racially equitable change at our institution. Bios Rose Montgomery, Alumni at West Chester University (WCU). Rose Graduated from the MSW program and received her license shortly after. Rose is a Family Based Therapist who enjoys facilitating sessions with families and takes great joy in witnessing positive family interaction cycles develop. Rose is passionate about change, change within people, families, and institutions. Rose’s most notable moments are; Graduate Assistantship position to Mia Ocean, lead researcher on the Black MSW experience research study at West Chester University; developing training on how to use critical race theory to examine the ways in which racism is embedded in Social work policy and practice; facilitated dialogues at Millersville University’s Annual Global Well-Being and Social Change Conference at WCU’s Field Instructors Appreciation Breakfast in 2019; Lastly, Rose received the David Seigel Award for Excellence in Advocacy and Policy in 2020, took some time off to attend to family matters, but has returned to the join the team in continuing to make a difference. Karon Hicks graduated from West Chester University’s Master of Social Work program in May of 2019. She is a licensed social worker and is currently working towards her clinical license. Karon lives in Philadelphia and works for the School District of Philadelphia as a school behavior consultant. She is interested in getting her doctorate in social work in the upcoming future. Karon has one article published with her former professor Mia and is hoping to help publish a second article surrounding the info being talked about tonight. Zoe Jamison is a Grant Manager within The School District of Philadelphia, supporting non-public schools to gain access to vital funding for academic success. In addition to grant work, Zoe also works as a diversity consultant on qualitative participatory action research projects. Previously, Zoe worked as a Program Director for Drexel University, coordinating afterschool and summer programming for middle school students across the city. Zoe graduated with honors from West Chester University with a Master's in Social Work. Mia Ocean is an Assistant Professor of Graduate Social Work at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. She specializes in anti-oppressive and participatory methods, and her research focuses on access and equity in higher education.
August 30, 2021
Episode 12: A conversation with humanitarian researcher, Jessica Oddy
"We need to listen to young people!"--Jessica Oddy Jessica Oddy is a PhD researcher and tutor at the University of East London. She is also a Director and founder of EiE consulting, with a mission to support organizations, academic institutions and individuals to design and deliver equity and evidence-based programs and research. Building upon over ten years of experience in the education and international development/humanitarian field, Jess' research, using mixed and digital participatory action research methods explores how colonial legacies and concepts of educability. Oddy specifically focuses on how these power dynamics, privilege, and concepts of race continue to influence the types of programs that are funded for children and youth in emergencies.
August 5, 2021
Episode 11: Leroy McLean discusses action research and taking a learning approach to problem solving in organizations
Leroy McLean is currently a director of readiness & experience at Microsoft. His focus is on knowledge management and knowledge sharing using cutting-edge technological solutions. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from York University, Toronto, and a Master's degree in Technology and Development from Arizona State University. He is currently enrolled in a doctoral program on leadership and innovation where he is using action research as the methodological framework for bringing about change within his workplace. Mr. McLean has been working in both the private and public sectors for the last twenty years where he has gained exposure in process engineering, program management, product management, user experience, and readiness. His current research initiative focuses on applying social learning theories in addressing the growing demands for learning within a decentralized and hybrid work environment. He is passionate about bridging the digital divide in society by leveraging emerging technology for learning in education.
July 5, 2021
Episode 10: Patricia Maguire discusses "feminisms" and participatory action research
I was listening to my friends on the ARPodcast when they interviewed Patricia Maguire, and thought "I really need to have a conversation with this person!" So, here today is my conversation with Patricia Maguire. Dr. Patricia Maguire is Professor Emeritus of Education and Counseling, Western New Mexico University. For nearly twenty-five years (1988-2011) Patricia was Chair of the WNMU-Gallup Graduate Studies Center (GGSC). Located in Gallup, New Mexico, a border town to the Navajo Nation and Zuni Pueblo, GGSC served one of the most culturally rich, linguistically diverse, yet economically poorest communities in the USA. Inspired by bell hooks and Paulo Freire, Pat believes the classroom is a space of radical possibilities. Patricia taught feminist-informed Teacher Action Research to help educators focus inwardly on their identities and classroom practices as well as outwardly on the social conditions that shape and inform their students’ lives. Her book, Doing Participatory Research: A Feminist Approach (1987) was one of first feminist critiques of participatory research. She has developed a framework for feminist-informed teacher research and explored what happens for teachers who engage in AR with transformative intentions. She's volunteered with asylum seekers on the US southwest border, marched and witnessed for social justice, worked with battered women, counseled high schoolers, led Girl Scout troops, and worked locally with a coalition to feed the hungry. Patricia’s website contains most of her writings, or links to where you can obtain them. (https://www.patriciamaguire.net/)
June 15, 2021
Episode 9: In which I interview the hosts of the AR Podcast about their varied and diverse work across the globe.
Please enjoy my continued conversation from our crossover episodes with our colleagues from the ARPodcast. Joe is an assistant professor and graduate program director in the Department of Integrated Studies in Education at McGill University in Montréal, Québec. Joe has published studies on collaborative work in education, culturally responsive leadership, and educational policy and curriculum development. He is also the co-founder and co-director of the Pallata Community Education Center, which is a learning space in the Peruvian highlands that uses participatory collaborative approaches to address community identified learning goals. Adam is a doctoral candidate in the educational leadership, evaluation, and organization development program at the University of Louisville and director of the Andean Alliance for Sustainable Development, a social change organization in the Peruvian highlands. Vanessa is a doctoral student in the Department of Integrated Studies of Education at McGill university studying pedagogical change processes in secondary schools. Shikha is a doctoral student in the Department of Integrated Studies of Education at McGill university studying experiences of Dalit women in higher education institutions in India.
May 19, 2021
Episode 8: Collaboration with the AR Podcast
Today’s guests are my colleagues in podcasting—Joe Levitan, Adam Stieglitz, Shikha Diwakar, and Vanessa Gold –the AR Podcast team, which they call “the first podcast dedicated solely to Action Research.” https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-action-research-podcast/id1530092194 The podcast is “intended mostly for those interest in research and social change” and tackles tricky issues in the Action Research process, like reflexivity, collaboration, rigor, and iteration through discussions with established and emerging action researchers. This episode is the second part of a collaborative podcast with them on their podcast (click on the link above to hear the first part!). Joe is an assistant professor and graduate program director in the Department of Integrated Studies in Education at McGill University in Montréal, Québec. Joe has published studies on collaborative work in education, culturally responsive leadership, and educational policy and curriculum development. He is also the co-founder and co-director of the Pallata Community Education Center, which is a learning space in the Peruvian highlands that uses participatory collaborative approaches to address community-identified learning goals. Adam is a doctoral candidate in the Educational Leadership, Evaluation, and Organization Development program at the University of Louisville and director of the Andean Alliance for Sustainable Development, a social change organization in the Peruvian highlands. Vanessa is a doctoral student in the Department of Integrated Studies of Education at McGill University studying pedagogical change processes in secondary schools. Shikha is a doctoral student in the Department of Integrated Studies of Education at McGill University, studying experiences of Dalit women in higher education institutions in India.
March 1, 2021
Episode 7: A conversation with Meghan McGlinn Manfra
Meghan McGlinn Manfra is an Associate Professor in the Department of Teacher Education and Learning Sciences in the College of Education at North Carolina State University. She attended Elon College as a North Carolina Teaching Fellow and began her career as a high school history teacher. She completed a master’s degree (MA) in history at the University of North Carolina -Greensboro and received her doctorate (PhD) in education at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill. Her research focuses on social studies teacher education, teacher professional learning, and the integration of digital technologies into instruction. She is the editor of the Handbook of Social Studies Research and author of Action Research for Classrooms, Schools, and Communities. She lives in Raleigh with her husband and two daughters where she loves running the trails in nearby Umstead State Park. Relevant Publications Manfra, M.M. (2019). Action research for classrooms, schools, and communities. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/action-research-for-classrooms-schools-and-communities/book246644 Manfra, M.M. (2019). Action research and systematic change in teaching practice. Review Vof Research in Education, 43, 1, 163-196. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.3102/0091732X18821132 Manfra, M.M. (2009b). Critical inquiry in the social studies classroom: Portraits of critical teacher research. Theory and Research in Social Education, 37(2), 298-316. Manfra, M.M. (2009c). Action research: Exploring the theoretical divide between practical and critical approaches. Journal of Curriculum & Instruction, 3(1), 32-46.
November 7, 2020
Episode 6: A conversation with the directors of the University of Houston "Action Research in Communities" undergraduate research program
I spoke with Ben Rayder and Brittni MacLeod, director and associate director for the Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards at the University of Houston. They talked about the newly-created "Action Research in Communities (ARC) program, which was designed to merge service learning and research into a program where undergrads are paired with a faculty mentor. The Action Research in Communities (ARC) Program at the University of Houston is a collaborative effort supported by the Cougar Initiative to Engage and the Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards. ARC offers exceptional undergraduates the opportunity to conduct faculty-mentored action research based on service projects in the Greater Houston community. Selected students receive a $1,500 scholarship and spend the academic year researching issues facing their community in order to develop actionable steps for improvement.
September 15, 2020
A conversation with Mara Richards Bim: Cry Havoc Theater--youth theatre and youth participatory action research
In this episode, I talk with Mara Richards Bim, the founder of the youth theatre company, Cry Havoc Theater. Cry Havoc is located in Dallas, Texas. Mara speaks about the power youth have to observe and enter deeply traumatic conversations about current events happening in this world, and what happens when youth ask the questions and create meaning from their work (in the form of award-winning theatre). Under Mara's direction, Cry Havoc Theater has developed several award-winning plays written from first-person interviews including Babel about gun violence and Crossing the Line about the immigration crisis. In 2019, Cry Havoc was named “Best Thing to Happen to Local Theater” by D Magazine and the company’s production of Crossing the Line received three D-FW Theater Critics Forum Awards including Best New Play or Musical, Best Performance by an Ensemble, and Best Directors (Mara Richards Bim and Tim Johnson). In 2018, Cry Havoc received three Forum Awards including Best New Play or Musical (Babel), and a special citation to Mara for “conducting thorough research and creating compelling verbatim drama. You can learn more about the life-changing work these teens and Mara are doing by visiting their website: https://www.cryhavoctheater.org/
August 18, 2020
A conversation with Meagan Call-Cummings: Youth Participatory Action Research, Arts-based research, and the need for critical conversations in this trying time.
Dr. Meagan Call-Cummings is an Assistant Professor of Research Methodology at George Mason University’s School of Education. Dr. Call-Cummings’ work most often takes participatory action research forms. For her dissertation she worked with 52 undocumented Latinx students and their White teacher in rural Idaho on an 18-month YPAR project that asked the question, Why are our teachers racist? Over the past three years she has worked with a core group of ten high school students and teachers on a YPAR project they called Courageous Conversations, which attempted to help students value their own voices, experiences, and expertise on issues that are important to them but often silenced in classrooms. By engaging in arts-based inquiry including Spoken Word Poetry, Theatre of the Oppressed, Photovoice, and narrative methods, students created art to tell their stories and have their voices heard. Dr. Call-Cummings’ publications are most often methodological and grapple with issues of power, validity, and ethics in the context of PAR and YPAR. She is currently writing a book on critical participatory inquiry with Giovanni Dazzo and Melissa Hauber-Ozer, scheduled for publication in 2023.
July 28, 2020
A conversation with Lonnie Rowell: The Social Publishers Foundation and Knowledge Democracy
In this episode, I have a conversation with Lonnie Rowell, former faculty at the University of San Diego, former program chair of the Action Research SIG, and former president and co-founder of the Action Research Network of the Americas. Lonnie and I discuss his current work with the Social Publishers Foundation, as they seek to disseminate the work of practitioners around the globe. This work is critical to a thriving democracy and social justice, as communities participate in creating new knowledge for the common good.
July 15, 2020
A Conversation with Margaret Riel: Action Research as Systematic Problem Solving
In this episode I ask Margaret about her work in action research throughout her career, and what led her to create a public action research tutorials website and Facebook page, which she has dedicated to helping visitors learn about action research and how to connect with a global community of action researchers.
June 30, 2020
A conversation with Craig Mertler: Educators and Leaders Empowering themselves with and through Action Research
In this episode, I talk with Craig Mertler, professor and action research author. Craig talks about his passion for action research as a vehicle through which practitioners can empower themselves to solve problems in context.
June 17, 2020