Speaking of Quality and Research that Counts: Making an Impact on Practice

Susan Groundwater-Smith,
Faculty of Education & Social Work,
University of Sydney, Australia

Nicole Mockler,
School of Education,
University of Newcastle, Australia

Abstract

Practitioner inquiry can sometimes be seen to sit uncomfortably within the context of the modern university.  In this paper we argue that high quality practitioner inquiry, conducted within educational and other practice-based settings, has the capacity to bridge the gap between research, as it is conducted within universities, and practice, as it is articulated and undertaken in the field.  We suggest that for both university-based and field-based participants, joint engagement in practitioner inquiry holds the potential for deep and sustained professional learning, and in response to the question of quality, draw on our earlier work to explore the links between quality, ethics and accountability in practitioner inquiry, which we see as inextricably linked.  We conclude by arguing that good practitioner inquiry, despite recent attempts by governments and bureaucracies to ‘domesticate’ it, always has a subversive and political edge.

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