Trying Out Ideas in Practice
Because respect is essential to the process, the higher order question should be asked in a manner easily understood by all. It should not be easy to answer with a mere yes or no.
Once teachers and collaborators are ready to embark on a "deliberate, solution-oriented investigation" that will be group or personally owned and conducted" (Ferrance, 2000) they will quickly find it develop into "spiraling cycles of problem identification, systematic data collection, reflection, analysis, data-driven action taken, and, finally, problem redefinition."
The problem redefinition stage is when the question focus might "slip" as it glides into a new process of questioning. This is not a discreet process, but a fluid one, especially if the research group is large.
The problem for redefinition is often depicted as a spiral, which may become ever deeper and wider each time it laps. It can also be depicted as a funnel gathering more data. It will capture widely but also penetrate more deeply at each pass.
The cyclical process is about trying out ideas in practice. The knowledge gained can be harnessed to increasingly realign thinking. In this way action can be modified to suite newer understandings of the problem. (Kemmis & McTaggart, 1988).
Perhaps the humorous FAA scenario is too good to be true. Perhaps it is not. The point of the little story is that action research
- is cyclical
- with questions that evolve as the process proceeds
- and assumptions are always challenged and challengeable