Action Theory: A Primer for Applied Research in the Social Sciences

Action Theory: A Primer for Applied Research in the Social Sciences

Action Theory: A Primer for Applied Research in the Social Sciences

Action Theory: A Primer for Applied Research in the Social Sciences

Excerpt

This book is written with the intention of providing readers with an overview of an action theoretical approach to qualitative research. Qualitative research in the social sciences is broad, diverse, and dynamic. Virtually all qualitative research methods endeavor in one way or another to conceptualize, access, and analyze data that are close to human experience. Many undertake this by providing both a framework and methods that allow the findings or results to emerge from the data. In this book we propose an alternative view. Here, the action theoretical paradigm stands as a broad framework in which research problems, explanations, and the data themselves are considered, and hidden assumptions, particularly social representations, are explicated and dealt with. Action theory, research questions, data, and findings are steps in a hermeneutical process requiring the researcher's continuous dialogical exchange. Very broadly, action refers to the goal-directed and intentional behavior of humans. Action theory represents an integrative theoretical and methodological approach rooted in a sound philosophical tradition and made instrumental in empirical research, particularly research that addresses applied issues. This is especially the case in disciplines that require action that is reflective, communicative, symbolic, and practical. Virtually all health professions as well as counseling, teaching, psychology, business, religious ministry, social work, and politics are examples of some of the disciplines for which this approach is appropriate and useful.

This book is grounded in the individual and joint projects of the authors. Ladislav Valach brings to this book an extensive understanding of the social psychology of action and in particular action theory and its application in . . .

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