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There is no human Leader, there is no human power capable of opening the door to conquer or dominate my heart, neither with cleverness nor with violence.      J. M. Arizmendiarrieta. Reflections. p. 46

My Research Credo

Based on Heron, J. (1996). Co-operative Inquiry. London: Sage Publications.

The direct quotations from Heron are in italics.

Personalism

1.   Any action (including actions in the realms of research and education) explicitly or implicitly involves the vision of a valued way of life or some aspect of it and thus reflects personal values. Any researcher or educator should be aware of his or her value preferences and their consequences and explicitly express them, so as to enable the informed and conscious decision-making of those who participate in the research or educational endeavor.
 

2.   Every person in all domains of life should not only be given the right to choose within a given framework of reference, but should also be given the choice to participate in the construction of the framework of reference. This freedom of choice is particularly important in research and education – two domains that influence other domains of life. In practice, the rule involves merging the roles of the the researcher and the subject in the case of research design, and those of teacher and the student in the case of the educational process, as both sides in these processes should be actively involved in their design.


3.   Research and education are two interrelated domains of life which present every person with an exceptionally great number of situations that require authentic action (acts) and thus allow for the personal development (transcendence) of the individual as a result of those actions. 


4.   Each person constitutes a specific domain of research, and as such requires specific, exclusive theories to be applied to them. Thus any generalizations are metatheories.

Holism

5.   The soul, the psyche, and the body of a person make up an inseparable whole and any research and educational activity should take this wholeness into account through the selection of appropriate educational and research methods. The full range of human sensibilities should serve as an instrument of inquiry. 

6.   In response to the traditional research community's focus on propositional knowledge, I believe that all forms of knowing, including: 

◦    experiential knowledge evident only in actually meeting and feeling the presence of some energy, entity, person, place, process or thing;

◦    presentational knowledge evident in an intuitive grasp of the significance of imaginal patterns as expressed in graphic, plastic, moving, musical and verbal art-forms;

◦    propositional knowledge, intellectual statements both verbal and numeric, conceptually organized in ways that do not infringe on the rules of logic and evidence; and

◦    practical knowledge  evident in knowing how to exercise a skill

should be sought in academic research, with a particular interest in practical knowledge as the form of knowledge that has a direct impact on our actions (acts) and paradoxically on the distribution of propositional knowledge. 


7.   The forms of knowledge are ordered hierarchically, as follows: experiential knowing – direct, lived being-in-the world is at the base of the pyramid and it supports presentational or pattern knowing, which supports propositional or conceptual knowing, which upholds practical knowing, the exercise of skill.  Practical knowledge, knowing how, is the consummation, the fulfillment, of the knowledge quest. 

8.   An interdependence exists between the relative autonomy of a particular form of knowledge and the mutual interaction of all forms of knowledge within the whole of a person. For this reason, the university’s bias towards propositional knowledge has a negative influence on both quantitative and qualitative research conducted at universities. 


9.   Appropriate validating procedures for both the structure of the inquiry process and its findings should be the focal point of any research to make sure the research is based on sound evidence and, if possible, on valid theory. All kinds of knowledge have validating principles internal to them.

Participation

10.  As people have the human right to participate in decisions that concern and affect them, then it follows that they also have the human right to participate in decisions about research design (including its management and the conclusions drawn from it), where the purpose is to formulate knowledge about them as individuals. 

11. Any student should also be a researcher. The educational process is a gradual process of becoming a more and more competent and independent member (an expert) of a domain-specific community of practice. Research conducted in a participative way leads to that end.  

12. Academic researchers, because of the social importance of their roles, should pay special attention to themselves as subjects of inquiry, and they should make every effort to validate their theory of themselves and draw practical knowledge and conclusions from this theory. 


13. Results of research should be openly shared with any interested persons and be made public to the greatest extent possible. They should be published in international journals according to the accepted standards, to be reviewed by international peer experts. 


14. Researchers should work in co-operative teams and share their academic resources, experiences, reports, and feedback with other team members. To make this possible a research team should be supported by a variety of communication and knowledge management tools, organizational procedures, and routines. 


15. Research team members should also share or be ready to share the fundamental values related to the inquiry, such as the ones presented in this document.

Systems

16. The majority of the research and education methods used presently have a short time orientation. Yet they have long-term consequences. If research and educational institutions are to take responsibility for their actions, they should take into account the long-term consequences of their actions.


17. Researchers should be aware of the fact that knowledge is power and can be used to control people, to be shared with people, and to be delegated to and distributed to people. This is why researchers should conduct a systemic analysis of what impact the research (including its methods and the distribution of its findings) may have not only on immediate stakeholders in the research, but also on those who are not readily associated with the research.


18. The participative approach in research and education has a short tradition and few tools and methods; this is why anyone who has decided to follow this paradigm has to be prepared for chaos, equivocality, and vagueness, as well as working on research that is conducted in an almost unprecedented way. 


19. Universities have a strong systemic interest in maintaining the present forms of traditional research and education for their operational functionality. This is why new solutions have to be presented in a way which will encourage dialogue and point to a path for the gradual change of these systems. 


20. Research and education are two pillars of academic life. To introduce self-determination among their subjects with respect to research design, researchers first have to introduce self-determination among their students with regard to curriculum.

Practicalities

21. Practical knowledge can never be reduced to written descriptions of actions in practice. Being able to write such a description is no evidence of being able to perform a skill. The only evidence that one possesses a skill, and can exercise it to a certain standard of competence, is one’s demonstration of it.