Critical theory and action research

Jo Hockley

in Participatory Research in Palliative Care

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199644155
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191749094 | DOI:
Critical theory and action research

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This chapter outlines critical social theory in relation to action research and from a Habermasian critique in particular. It emphasises reflection and action, and, theory and practice as important elements of a critical approach when bringing about change in action research. However, bringing about change requires dialogue if there is to be ‘buy in’ from those involved in practice. Opening a ‘communicative space’ is highlighted as a vital step within the process of action research in order for people's voice to be heard. The chapter finishes with an exemplar of a critical action research study undertaken in two nursing homes where the aim was to help staff develop high quality end of life care. The interpretation of the actions that were undertaken was underpinned by Habermas's theory of system and lifeworld.

Keywords: critical social theory; post-modern; communicative space; informal theory; system and lifeworld; empowerment; praxis; nursing homes

Chapter.  5770 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Palliative Medicine

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