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Praiseworthy pragmatism? Validity and action research.

Hope KW, Waterman HA

Journal of Advanced Nursing. 2003;44(2):120-127.

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Background:Action research has been promoted as a suitable methodology for nursing, but is located in a discourse that challenges its claims of validity. This discourse, influenced by postivism, is similar to that which qualitative researchers have faced.Aim:This article contributes to theorectical discussion of the validity of action research.Findings:Because of similarities, the emergent debates around reconceptualisation of validity in qualitative research are outlined, prior to a consideration of the relative arguments in relation to action research. Three avenues of thought are discerned: that no criteria are required; that parallels with other schools are appropriate; and that new concepts specific to one school of thought should be developed.Conclusions:Becasue of its ethical and action-oriented principles, action research offers the potential to address validity issues that remain problematic to 'pure' qualitative researchers, and it can be claimed that its pragmatic approach is validity-enhancing. We argue for the rejection of naive rule-based formulae and for recognition of the impact of contextual and pragmatic concerns, so that the potential for the added value of action research might be realised.

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2nd September, 2009, 08:24:36
Last modified:
5th January, 2016, 19:28:09

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