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John Heron and Peter R (2006)

The Practice of Co-operative Inquiry: Research ‘with’ Rather Than ‘on’ People.

In: Handbook of Action Research, ed. by Peter Reason and Bradbury Hilary. Sage Publications, London, chap. 16, pp. 144–154.

(Extract from the beginning)

Co-operative inquiry is a way of working with other people who have similar concerns
and interests to yourself, in order to:
• Understand your world, make sense of your life and develop new and creative ways of looking
at things.
• Learn how to act to change things you may want to change and find out how to do things
Research is usually thought of as something done by people in universities and research
institutes. There is a researcher who has all the ideas, and who then studies other people by
observing them, asking them questions, or by designing experiments. The trouble with this kind
of way of doing research is that there is often very little connection between the researcher's
thinking and the concerns and experiences of the people who are actually involved. People are
treated as passive subjects rather than as active agents. We believe that good research is research
conducted with people rather than on people. We believe that ordinary people are quite capable
of developing their own ideas and can work together in a co-operative inquiry group to see if
these ideas make sense of their world and work in practice.

Richard's PhD

"The library is not a shrine for the worship of books. It is not a temple where literary incense must be burned or where one's devotion to the bound book is expressed in ritual. A library, to modify the famous metaphor of Socrates, should be the delivery room for the birth of ideas - a place where history comes to life." — Norman Cousins, 1954