I must admit that I had a change of heart concerning action research after the in class exercises and discussion. Here was my initial problem: I had so many red flags (no pun intended, well maybe a small pun) go up when reading the Cammarota article that I saw this methodology in far right of Methodologies. I knew the remaining authors did not fall into the Cammarota camp, but I was still a little gun shy thinking that these guys were going to start another revolution and get us all shot. At such crossroads in philosophy, I usually quote "Won't get fooled again" by the Who: Meet the new boss, same as the old Boss! It was a great relief when I discovered that Action Research seemed to fall across models, tending to be more on the method side of matters. Vachel's presentation clinched the format for me.
After that epiphany, I have found Action Research to be a liberating and time saving ideology. It also tends to function much along the lines of phenomenology, allowing the participants to tell the story. It made me begin to imagine ways to incorporate Action Research into some of my more time consuming methods of inquiry.
If there are many ways of knowing, many truths, and no Truth, it makes no difference whether one takes the red or blue pill; one fellow's poison is another's potpourri. It only makes a difference in a universe of hierarchical values where it is possible to make good and bad choices.
Action Research project in my community:
My wife is the music director for a UMC in Hickory, NC. She is always wondering what songs folks want to hear & sing. They have used a questionnaire in the past, but then someone has to tabulate the data. After we did the fish/rock activity, I got this idea of a simple way to get the same data without the intervening days/weeks of compilation. Do the fish chart, but write favorite songs in the fish and bad songs (ones folks don't like) on the rocks. If folks like the same song, they could trace around the fish and make it bigger. The same would go for the rocks. Folks could do this as they walked in the auditorium and the results could be used in just a few minutes. I guess folks could also use Jacob's ladder and stumbling blocks if they wanted biblical allusions to the exercise. I wonder if I could market the idea to the folks who sell the rights to the songs/music?