McIntosh, P. (2010). Action Research and Reflective Practice. Creative and visual methods to facilitate reflection and learning. London & New York: Routledge. 196 pages.
The importance and contribution of reflection to the development and improvement of practice in education, healthcare and social sciences is increasingly revealed and recognised. At the same time, educational action research and the relevant dialogue and reflection practices are constantly and increasingly utilised for investigating, understanding and improving the educational act. McIntosh notes this interesting, in terms of epistemology and research, coincidence in his book, proposing new creative and innovative ways to revitalise and theoretically reinforce action research.
The book is divided into two parts. In the first part, the author sets the ground for the second part, addressing different versions of reflective practice and seeking its connection to educational action research and the theory of conscious and subconscious in terms of moving from implicit to explicit and to realising one’s own personal educational theory.
In the second part, McIntosh gives specific examples to address the concept of critical creativity, promoting it as the basis for reflection and connecting it to reforming action research. After defining the concept of creativity and studying its development by utilising metaphors, symbols, and dialectic practices, he proposes a conceptual framework which opens the perspective of knowledge and reform by utilising creativity in action research and reflective practices. In the last chapter of the book, the author claims that although practical research marks the passing from a positivist approach to a mainly subjective/interpretative view of reality, it can still lead to valid documentation, if creative methods are employed.
With his “live” examples and the supporting theory, McIntosh attempts to provide the stimuli that will propel readers towards creative practical research, turning them into critical, reflective and creative action researchers.
This book is quite different than similar scientific books, in terms of its subject, structure and development. For all of the above reasons, this book proves both a pleasant read and a very fruitful book for undergraduate or postgraduate students, educators and social researchers.