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Ib Ravn

Transformativ forskningsmetode: belyst gennem et projekt om mødefacilitering

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  • Department of Learning
  • Research Programme in Organisation and Learning

Many researchers in work-life and organizational research would probably like their research to contribute to the improvement of organizational life. However, beyond action research, few methods exist that allow researchers to do this. In a recent research-and-development project on better meetings, conducted with one private company and two government organizations, we employed a so-called transformative method. This method, previously outlined by Baburoglu and Ravn (1992), enables researchers to do research with practitioners in a way designed to help the practitioners improve or transform their practice.

The phases of the method are well-known from the conventional, hypothetical-deductive method, but we gave them a pragmatic-normative twist. Informed by practice and our knowledge of the domain, we started out with a theory of how the domain could function much better than it does currently (in this case: a theory of better meetings). From this theory we derived hypotheses that take the form of specifications for action: “If we do X in situation Y, meetings will improve”. We then tested the hypotheses in an extensive, real-life experiment involving managers and workers in the three organizations, during which they learned facilitation and started using this technique during their meetings. Subsequent evaluation helped us improve the theory and understand better what needs to be done in the next experiment, with the same practitioners or a new group.

The phases of observation, theory, hypothesis derivation, testing in experiments, evaluation, theory refinement and generalization render this process a research method, despite its explicitly normative intent: the improvement of social institutions.
Original languageDanish
JournalTidsskrift for Arbejdsliv
Pages (from-to)51-66
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2010

    Research areas

  • research methods, methodology, organizational development, facilitation, meetings, meeting management, pragmatism, experiment

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