Applied Social Sciences, Action Research and the Returning of Inquiry Findings

By Pascaru, Mihai | Journal of Community Positive Practices, April 1, 2013 | Go to article overview

Applied Social Sciences, Action Research and the Returning of Inquiry Findings


Pascaru, Mihai, Journal of Community Positive Practices


Abstract: This paper aims to highlight some connections between the applied social sciences, action research, and the returning of inquiry findings. Usually, the applicability of a social science is defined ly its openness to the conpkxity of psycho-) social change as described by the intervention design meant to trimer this change. We nill also see how the social sciences collaborate with action research. This is mainly the case in social psychology, afield in which this orientation is largely contained. Through this study we would like to foster the possibility that the applicability of any social science may be strenghened ly action research as a specific form of intervention and change. The returning of inquiy findings to the subjects may also be linked to action research as it focuses on invoking the subjects of the research in the debate concerning the results. The returing of inquiy findings can be strenghened by connecting it during the research process to the potential of a social science.

Keywords: basic science and applied science, action research, participation, return of inquby findings.

Introduction

This paper aims to highlight the significant theoretical and practical issues regarding the practical dimension of disciplines such as sociology and social psychology and the role they can play in substantiating the applicability of action research. Returning the results of the research is viewed in this context as a tool for applied research, but also as a means to support the applicability of these social sciences. Interest in such an approach can be linked with what Gwen Stern called scientific research oriented towards the problem (problem-oriented research), as it is useful to make a distinction between an approach in which the role of sociologists is to provide potentially useful information versus an approach in which sociologists participate in solving problems by using information to provide guidance. According to Stern, the second orientation always involves two research objectives: 1) to produce new knowledge and 2) to participate and document the process by which such knowledge is used to solve problems. Producing knowledge concurrently with problem-solving is highly important for action research (Stern, 1985: 230).

In sociology discussion about action research is rarely theorized, as the term intervention is mostly preferred. In the field of social psychology one can identify special issues dedicated to the connections between participatory research in its various forms, and the contribution of the discipline to social change. The terms most often used to describe those kinds of research aimed at changing situations in society, says Senn, are action research,partiâpatory research and actiwst research. (Senn, 2005:357).

Our experience in the area of action research has been limited in recent years to returning of the findings (Pascaru, 2006; Pascaru and Bufiu, 2007, 2010) and in some studies to promote territorial intelligence, the latter defined itself through a partiâpatory important component (Pascaru, 2006; Girardot, 2007). We have chosen to present in this paper some of the outcomes of returning the results as a technique and step in a common research design, with potential openings for social change control.

Pure social sciences - Applied social sciences

Applied social psychology and its opportunities

Applied social psychology "is a branch of social psychology that draws on social psychological theories, principles, methods, and research evidence to contribute to a) the understanding of social and problems and b) the development of intervention strategies for improving the functioning of individuals, groups, organizations, communities, and societies with respect to social and practical problems." (Schneider, Gruman and Coutts, 2005: 5-6).

These three American psycho-sociologists remind us that Lewin was the one who in the early 30s conducted research on a variety of practical and social problems, Such as about how people could be led to adopt a healthier diet, or how interpersonal relations and productivity are affected by different management styles. …

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