Collaborative Action Research and public services: Insights into methods, findings and implications for public service reform

Hayley Bennett, James Henderson, Richard Brunner, Claire Bynner

Research output: Working paper

Abstract

This working paper aims to share the findings from the What Works Scotland programme of Collaborative Action Research (CAR). CAR is a way of working that challenges traditional approaches to research and evidence.

This was the first time that CAR has been attempted in complex public service partnerships. Therefore, this project was a trailblazer for methodological innovation and learning as well as providing insights into public service reform (PSR) in practice.

The paper highlights learnings and insights that What Works Scotland’s four researchers gained from facilitating CAR over three years (2015-2017) in four community planning partnerships – Aberdeenshire, Fife, Glasgow and West Dunbartonshire. The practitioners in each CAR group came from diverse organisations and professions, and had differing levels of knowledge, skills and responsibilities. They worked with the researcher to achieve an evidence-informed approach to Public Service Reform in one area of their work.

The findings demonstrate that CAR has the potential to contribute to developing the practices of collaborative governance – partnership, participation, performance and prevention – by constructively and critically engaging with current policy and practice expectations. In doing so, the paper demonstrates the potential for CAR to provide useful, and sometimes challenging, insights into the practices, contexts and challenges of Public Service Reform.
Original languageEnglish
Pages1-84
Number of pages84
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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