Designing Research: Bridging research and practice
Celiane Camargo-Borges and I have been collaborating around the idea of “Designing Research” to bring a sense of attentiveness, relationality and connection in research that is useful and productive as a daily practice.
We had the opportunity to be guest editors for the International Journal of Appreciative Inquiry focusing on bridging research and practice. We invited our co-authors to submit stories from their dissertation research and worked together to identify core themes that emerged from the collection. The following four principles developed from these themes and provide the foundation for a “Designing Research” approach.
The Relational and Collaborative principle guides us in holding relationships and collaboration central. It recognizes that we are relational beings — shaped and framed within relationship. It invites us to focus on responsible and responsive ways of collaborating where all participants are invited to bring knowledge, interests, experiences and stories to co-create. This principle invites a reflexive position — becoming aware of what we might bring into relationship and how this might impact how we are working together.
The Useful and Generative principle is about privileging a local view of utility and being responsive to local realities. It supports the development of co-creative solutions through generative conversations in which participants come together throughout the processes, producing new understandings, new meanings and actions. Useful and Generative is about producing meaningful solutions where we appreciate each system as unique, accept past experiences, and consider and embrace future possibilities.
The Organic and Dynamic principle emphasizes a fluid, dynamic, and continuous process that unfolds as people engage. This does not mean we abandon frameworks, but rather that we hold plans lightly and allow for emergence in the system. It invites a balance between having an articulated purpose and direction and being flexible and attentive to the process. Curiosity plays an important role, bringing a sense of wonder, openness and exploration that can expand conversations and generate new understandings with others.
The Engaging Complexity and Multiplicity principle invites us to engage in the complexity of a topic and to embrace the multiplicity of voices and elements in a system that will become rich soil for understanding and action. Different theories and voices are seen as possible resources to expand and create richer understandings, new knowledge and meaning, and generate new possibilities. Embracing Complexity and Multiplicity with a relational sensibility is about considering and appreciating the many different voices involved and welcoming other opinions and points of view. Within this approach researchers are mindful about how people are supported and empowered to participate, and actively ask questions such as, “Whose voices are privileged?” and “Whose voices are left out?”.
Please visit designingresearch.com for more information.