1st Edition

Cases and Stories of Transformative Action Research Five Decades of Collaborative Action and Learning

By John A. Bilorusky Copyright 2021
    234 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    234 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Cases and Stories of Transformative Action Research builds on its companion book, Principles and Methods of Transformative Action Research, by describing and analyzing dozens of examples of successful action research efforts pursued in the past five decades by students and faculty of the Western Institute for Social Research.

    Some projects are large-scale, and some are modest interventions in the everyday lives of those participating. Some are formal organizational efforts; others are the results of individual or small group initiatives. Included are chapters on community needs assessments and innovative grassroots approaches to program evaluation; the challenges of improving our decision-making during the crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic; strategies of intellectual activism in addressing the growing problem of workplace bullying; action research to preserve and share the history of the Omaha tribe; and plans for an innovative school-based project based on collaborative action-and-inquiry between students and Artificial Intelligence. In addition, there are a number of detailed stories about the use of transformative action research in such areas as somatic and trauma counseling, ethnic studies, health disparities, gender differences, grassroots popular education, and the improvement of statewide steps for preventing child abuse, among many others.

    This book can serve as an undergraduate or graduate social sciences text on research methods. It is also a guidebook for action-oriented research by academics, professionals, and lay people alike.

    1. Introduction

    Part I. Applications

    2. Program Evaluations

    3. Uses of Action research in Community Organizations

    4. Community-Based Think Tanks

    5. Toward Expert Knowledge and Human Development: The Curriculum of the "Experimenting Community"

    6. Using Transformative Action-Inquiry during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Critiquing Studies and Facing Decision-Making Dilemmas

    Part II. Illustrations

    7. Intellectual Activism and Action research: A Case Study on Workplace Bullying

    David Yamada, JD, PhD

    8. Multifaceted, Comprehensive Action-Oriented Research Aimed at Preserving and Restoring the Omaha Culture

    Dennis Hastings, PhD and Margery Coffey, PhD

    9. Stories, Concepts and Methods of Participatory Action Research: Transforming Individuals and Groups

    Sudia Paloma McCaleb, EdD

    10. Getting Out of the Book and into the World: Ways to Understand Action Research

    Marilyn Jackson, PhD

    11. Teaching and Learning Physics as Inquiry: Similarities with Transformative Action Research

    12. Plans for a School-Based Project to Involve Students as Teachers, Learners and Colleagues of Artificial Intelligence

    Kence Anderson, BS and John Bilorusky

    13. Stories of Action research from WISR Learners

    14. Autobiographical Analysis of the Role of Social Learning in Transformative Action-and-Inquiry


    John A. Bilorusky (PhD, University of California, Berkeley) is co-founder of the Western Institute for Social Research in Berkeley. For 45 years, as a faculty member there, he has guided hundreds of student action research theses, dissertations, and projects, and consulted with dozens of community agencies and colleges on action research.


    "Building on a wide range of great thinkers --Thomas Kuhn on scientific creativity, Paulo Freire on learner-centered education, and John Dewey on learning--Bilorusky, the founder of the Western Institute for Social Research, lays out steps through which one can do transformative action research. Engaging communities of learning, his Institute has mentored highly innovative research on such issues as restoring Omaha Culture, ending workplace bullying, and teaching physics. The volume opens the door to an exciting approach to learning, collaboration and bettering the world." -- Arlie Hochschild, Professor Emerita of Sociology, University of California, Berkeley, USA. Author of Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right, a finalist for the National Book Award in 2016.

    "Building on Volume I, this book dives deeper into WISR’s method of collaborative inquiry through illustrative case studies in which Dr. Bilorusky and his colleagues demonstrate how they have applied the principles of transformative, participatory action research in community organizations, community-based think tanks, needs assessments and other settings. Volume II will prove helpful for practitioners and students seeking to understand how democratic community knowledge-building takes shape in learner-centered approaches to learning." -- Joyce. E. King, Benjamin E. Mays Endowed Chair for Urban Teaching, Learning & Leadership, College of Education & Human Development, Georgia State University, USA. Past-President, The American Educational Research Association

    "This exciting volume shows how teachers, undergraduate students, graduate students, and community members have collaborated and employed action research to promote social transformation. Connecting theory, methodology, and methods, these case studies provide instructive and inspiring examples of how multicultural academic scholarship, when crafted by students and learning groups, promotes social justice that benefits world-majority communities. Berkeley's Western Institute for Social Research is one of the few degree-granting, long-distance learning laboratories that teaches students around the world how to do action research for transformative justice. Students' skills and enthusiasm for collaborative inquiry will move readers to become more involved in multicultural community change." -- T. D. Dickinson, Professor Emerita, Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies, Kansas State University, USA