Action Research and Action Learning: ARAL 2017
Integration is a main purpose of the International
Institute of Informatics and Systemics (IIIS), and it is a main
feature of "Action Research," Action-Learning," and Action-Design."
Among the objectives of the IIIS are the following:
- Integration of Academic Activities: Research, Education,
and Consulting/Real life Problem solving.
- Integration among Academy, Industry, and Society.
- Integration among disciplines: Inter-Disciplinary
Research, Education, and Communication.
Because of the integrative potential of Action-Research in the three
dimensions indicated above, the IIIS is organizing a special track on
Action Research and Action Learning (ARAL 2017) in the context of its
multidisciplinary conferences, and collocated with three other related
events (figure 1), with the hope that this special track can grow into
a Symposium on action-Research, Action-Learning, and Action-Design.
Our perspective on Action-Research is a systemic-cybernetic
one which is 1) a comprehensive one because it include, in
an integrative way, the many approaches that might be found
on Action-research, and 2) based on a Pluralist Epistemology1 stance
or a Scientific Pluralism2. Consequently, our purpose in organizing
this Special Track on Action-Research is to bring together scholars,
academics, professionals, and practitioners from plural perspectives,
diverse disciplines, inter-disciplinary approaches to present specific
cases, theories, conceptual structures, models, and methodologies related
to Action-Research. Real life special cases approached via Action-Research
will certainly be related to other contributions to be made to special tacks being organized on: 1) Case Studies and Methodologies, 2) Integration of Research, Education, and Problem Solving, and 3) Inter-Disciplinary Research, Education, and Communication. This kind of relationships might generate synergic communications among the respective authors.(Figure 1)
A Systemic-Cybernetic Perspective of "Action-Research"
There are several approaches to Action-Research, many of which are
opposite to each other. Both opposites are intellectually legitimate,
socially useful, managerially practical, and epistemologically valid3.
In its origins, action-research was mainly meant to do research via
action, and lately it mostly means to take action via research. With
the first perspective, research is the purpose and the action was one
of the main means. With the second perspective the principal purpose
is action and one of the means used is research. Kurt Lewin4,
one of the pioneers of Action Research, conceived this kind of research
as doing research in the field rather than in a laboratory.
On the other side Operations Research has been since its origin
oriented to research (basically in mathematical optimization) oriented
to support operational decisions to be made before the respective actions.
Lewinian approach is an example of theory-driven action,
oriented to generate knowledge, while Operation Research is (at least
in its origin) an example of practice-driven research,
where knowledge is generated as means of supporting decisional processes
oriented to take actions.
The difference is basically related to what is sought as an end
and what is used as a mean. Figure 2a and
2b schematically visualize of both opposite approaches found in the
literature and in the practice of Action-Research. Practitioners and
professional tend to prefer doing-through-knowing
and theoretically oriented academics and researchers tend to prefer
knowing-through-doing. Both complement each
other. This is why, in our opinion, several different approaches emerged
between these two opposite perspectives, especially in the case of scholars
who are trying to integrate academic activities:
Research, Education, and Consulting or Real Life Problem Solving.
These two linear approaches have been explicitly
referred to in theory and in practice. But, implicitly a non-linear
situation happened in many applications of Action-Research to real world
situations or problematic situations. Making explicit what actually
we observed happening in several real world situations would increase
the effectiveness of action-research enquiry for both 1) the generation
of new knowledge and/or 2) for supporting more adequate decision making
processes and, hence, more effective action.
Figure 3 shows a more suitable model for action-research processes.
It is a cybernetic perspective of the relationship between both basic
components of Action-Research. It makes explicit the possibilities of
1) co-regulation processes between both components via negative
feedback and feedforward, as well as 2) the generation of synergies
and emergent properties via positive feedback.
The cybernetic model shown in figure 2 does not exclude any of the opposite perspectives with regards Action-Research because it includes the possibility of figure 1a and figure 1b, as special cases, as well as the case of relating both of them in cybernetic loops.
for example Piety, M. G., 2010, Ways of Knowing: Kierkegaard's
Pluralist Epistemology, Baylor University Press.
for example Kellert, S. H., Longino, H. L., and Waters, C. K. (Eds.),
2006, Scientific Pluralism, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota
||We are making this affirmation from the perspective of Epistemological Pluralism, i.e. the view that different epistemological perspectives or methodologies are necessary (or at least desirable) to obtain a comprehensive description of phenomena or problematic situations.
et. al., 1939,"Pattern of aggressive behavior in experimentally created
social climates", Journal of Social Psychology, 10, pp. 271-99.
(Cited in Gustavsen, B. "Theory and Practice: the Mediating Discourse",
in Reason P. and Bradbury, H. (Eds.), 2001, The Handbook of Action
Research, London: Sage Publications, pp.17-26)
Submissions on specific cases, theories, methodologies, and/or practice-based reflection are accepted on the following Suggested non-exclusionary Topics
Concepts, Theories, and Methodologies of Action Research
Specific cases of Action Research, Action Learning, or Action Design
Cases Studies and Action Research
System Approach and Action Research
Information Systems and Action Research
Operations Research and Action Research
Soft Operations Research
Action Research in Production and Operations Management
Systems Methodology and Action Research
Soft Systems Methodologies
Ethnography and Action Research
Collaborative Action Research
Interdisciplinary Action Research
Inter-Cultural Action Research
Action Research, Critical Thinking, and Reflective Student Engagement
Action Research and Community-Based Organizations
Action Research and Student Learning
Action Research and Social Change
Development of Action Researchers
Participatory Action Research (PAR)
Action Research for Sustainable Development
Qualitative Research and Methodologies
Face-to-face sessions of all events will have associated virtual pre- and post-conference sessions where registered participants can comment each paper in a forum associated to it. Registered participant at any event will have a password to access any virtual session of any collocated event.
Organizational, Reviewing, and Selection of Best Papers Policies
Technical Keynote Speakers
Technical keynote speakers will be selected from early submissions because this selection requires an additional evaluation according to the quality of the paper, assessed by its reviewers, the authors' CV and the paper's topic.
Authors of accepted papers who registered in the conference can have access to the evaluations and possible feedback provided by the reviewers who recommended the acceptance of their papers/abstracts, so they can accordingly improve the final version of their papers. Non-registered authors will not have access to the reviews of their respective submissions.
Submissions for Face-to-Face or for Virtual Participation are both accepted. Both kinds of submissions will have the same reviewing process and the accepted papers will be included in the same proceedings.
Pre-Conference and Post-conference Virtual sessions (via electronic forums) will be held for each session included in the conference program, so that sessions papers can be read before the conference, and authors presenting at the same session can interact during one week before and after the conference. Authors can also participate in peer-to-peer reviewing in virtual sessions.
Authors of the best 25%-30% of the papers presented at the conference (included those virtually presented) will be invited to adapt their papers for their publication in the Journal of Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics.
One best paper of each session included in the program will be selected by the respective session’s co-chairs after consulting with the session’s audience. If there is a tie in a given session, the paper that will be selected as the best session’s paper will be the one which have had the highest quantitative evaluations average according to its double-blind and non-blind reviews.
The selection process of the best 25%-30%, to be also published in the Journal, will be based on the sessions' best papers and the quantitative evaluation average made by its anonymous and non-anonymous reviewers. The later will be applied to papers which acceptance was based on reviews made to draft papers. Reviews of abstracts and extended abstracts will not be valid for selecting best papers according to the quantitative evaluation of the respective submissions.
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