Professionalizing action research--a meaningful strategy for modernizing services?
Hall, Julie E.
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Background: This paper outlines how a specific action research approach can be used to secure practice development in services which have found sustained change difficult. For the purpose of this paper discussion focuses upon using professionalizing action research (a form of action research) to secure transformation in acute inpatient mental health services. This speciality has experienced long-term difficultly in meaningful practice change. Not limited to this context parallels can be made with other health and social care services requiring significant modernization.; Aim: The aim is to critically discuss the use of professionalizing action research as an approach to sustainable change.; Discussion: clarifies whether this method is a suitable vehicle for change, which is ideally suited to services which have a poor record of practice development.; Method: A review of action research and practice development literature forms the basis of this paper. The literature is sourced through bulletin boards, electronic databases and the British Library Classification Scheme. Keywords searched are action research, team learning, managing change and practice development. Following definition; the components of professionalizing action research are analysed using the themes of educative base, problem focus, improvement and involvement.; Findings: The educative base of professionalizing action research is collaborative reflective practice which is used to initiate meaningful change, rooted in everyday practice. The benefit of this is that change actions are based in real-time situations. The problem focus component of professionalizing action research is used to emphasize the views of service users and carers. This is positive in terms of the patient and public involvement agenda although this theme does emphasize limitations of the approach. The final components are involvement and improvement, these are debated as pluralistic notions and the implications of this are acknowledged.; Conclusion: Reviewing the literature and theoretical application indicates the value of professionalizing action research as a process for modernization. The strength of the approach lies in the opportunity for team learning and change which is grounded in the context of services and pursued through collaboration.;