John Heron, Co-operative Inquiry: Research into the Human Condition, London, Sage Publications, 1996
Cloth (0-8039-7683-6) £37.50 / Paper (0-8039-7684-4) £12.95
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This is the first book to give a comprehensive account of co-operative inquiry, a way of doing research with people, in which all those involved combine the roles of both researcher and subject. Co-operative inquiry is a wide-ranging and distinct form of participative research in which people use the full range of their sensibilities to inquire together into any aspect of the human condition.
The purpose of the book is twofold. First, to provide detailed practical guidance for any peer group wishing to use the method. The text covers:
- Main ways of setting up inquiry groups.
- Different types of co-operative inquiry.
- A wide range of inquiry topics.
- Four principal kinds of inquiry outcome.
- Ways of enabling three strands of development in an inquiry group.
- Main stages of the inquiry cycle, with the key issues for practice at each stage.
- Special inquiry skills involved.
- A set of procedures used to enhance the validity of the process.
- The main parameters of research cycling.
The second purpose of the book is to provide a substantial theoretical background to the practice of co-operative inquiry. The topics include:
- A history of the method, with precursors and a cultural genealogy.
- The underlying participative paradigm.
- Epistemic and political aspects of participation and research method.
- The extended epistemology involved in co-operative inquiry.
- The primacy of the practical, and the nature of participative knowing.
- A revision of the concepts of truth and validity.
- Integral and radical empiricism, and an account of the postconceptual worldview.
- A critique of positivist science and of medical research.
- Arguments for the use of co-operative inquiry.
Co-operative Inquiry will encourage and support the large number of people, at all levels, throughout academia, the helping professions and in the wider community, who are looking for a way of doing research, whether in social or natural science, that is both wide-ranging and has an authentic human face. It commends a form of inquiry which makes participative forms of knowing and decision-making central to its method
Introduction \ Research Method and Participation \ Overview of Co-operative Inquiry \ Initiating an Inquiry Group \ Stages of the Inquiry Cycle \ Inquiry Outcomes \ Radical Memory and Inquiry Skills \ Validity Procedures \ Validity and Beyond \ A Postconceptual Worldview \ Arguments for Co-operative Inquiry
John Heron is an international consultant, researcher and writer, based in a centre in New Zealand. He founded the Human Potential Research Project at the University of Surrey, and was Assistant Director of the British Postgraduate Medical Federation at the University of London. His other recent books are The Complete Facilitator’s Handbook (London: Kogan Page, 1999), Sacred Science (Ross-on-Wye: PCCS Books,1998), Group Facilitation (London: Kogan Page,1993), Feeling and Personhood (London: Sage, 1992), Helping the Client (London: Sage,1990) and The Facilitators’ Handbook (London: Kogan Page,1989).