Your comments are extremely helpful and will help me to rework the article. I orignally did the paper for a conference that is coming up in June in Scotland and the focus was on theorising education, hence the institutuional focus. I can certainly expand by giving evidence of work being undertaken in answering the questions:
How this action research group was formed?
What kind of academics gave interests to action research?
How these academics are involved in action research?
How these academics changed their previous research interests?
What kind of practice they are doing?
As I have said to Pip, our faculty is now adopting self-study as a strategic development practice, so that is certainly hard evidence and it will be interesting to see what people do with this "directive" from management - not the way I envisaged it to play out, but let's see what happens.
Thanks and keep well
This isn't a review of the paper, just comments. I commend you on the clarity with which you present your thinking in this important area. Just a point - are your words immediately after the first use of the word "Ubuntu" intended as a definition of the term? If not, then a separate definition would be helpful to non-South African readers.
There's been quite an interesting discussion of the issues raised in your comments on transformation (above) on the BERA practitioner list over the past couple of weeks. If you access the archives, you could follow it if you are interested. I also covered the issue of 'solitary action research' in my PhD thesis, although acknowledging that it's a contested term (see http://www.fergs.co.nz/PipPhD.pdf if you're interested).
I'm hoping to present a paper at ALARA in Melbourne in September covering exactly the issues that you raise in this paper. Even though it's submitted to EJOLTs and hasn't been 'officially published' yet, are you okay about my referencing back to your work? With any luck, it'll be through the refereeing process by September!
All the best with your ongoing work, and critical self-reflection.
Pip Bruce Ferguson
Thanks so much for the comments - I will check out the Ubuntu definition. Also the links you gave me. I read your thesis and empathised with it - I still want to do a study to answer the question "How can we promote a culture of research in our faculty" and will do it - perhaps when I go on sabbatical next year! Although we have a handful of prolific researchers in our faculty, there is still an "us and them" mentality prevailing among many staff. One piece of good news is that all staff are being asked to reflect on their work as part of our strategic plan and Jean McNiff's booklet is being given to them as the basis for this, so my years of persevering with self-study AR may be paying off at last - now we have to encourage people to do this in a scholarly manner so that they can publish their accounts! Feel free to reference and I would live to see your paper.
This is a delightful article that fully merits publication. It is informed and informative, scholarly and well argued. Beautifully written, it will definitely contribute to debates about the professional education of higher education staff and how this may be supported. It is a lovely example of how learning in higher education has the potential to influence work in a range of social settings, by encouraging practitioners to create and realise their vision, for themselves and others, of what a better social order may look like.
Thank you for your help