participants are privileged and ”their publicly performed conversations and activities as well as their own interpretations of their life experiences are taken as the primary data” (p. 145).
5.5. Ethics Ethics cannot be governed by rules and generalization Bakhtin (Morson & Emerson, 1990) claimed, but have to be localized in the particular situation. All work of judging will necessarily involve risks, a special attention to the particulars of the situation and a special involvement with unique other people at a given moment of their lives. Reason & Bradbury (2001) emphasise that a major rule in action research is to be clear about one’s choices and their consequences. They assert that in scientific research one should be equally engaged in the process as in the results.
In addition to focusing on the ethical choices, power has to be faced as an important factor in the relationship between the participants in the process. The concept of ‘voices’ is often used especially in feministic oriented action research, and in the present work it is of obvious interest. According to Reinharz (2001) we will, by dealing with voices, affect power relations. “To listen to people is to empower them and before you can expect to hear anything worth hearing, you have to examine the power dynamics of the space and the social actors” (Maguire, quoted in Reinhartz, 2001, p. 62).
5.6. Validity Traditionally validity has involved issues of truth and correctness of statement (Kvale, 1996). It is expected that scientific results should be put to the test of generalization and prediction. I have argued that knowledge is local, from within, continually changing and is created through language. This means that the validity of scientific results, like in ethics, depend on the quality of reflection and action. When Kvale (ibid.) explains how validity can be defended by ’the quality of craftsmanship’ he points at three factors to be present in order to make an investigation valid; to check, question and theorize. I feel that that an inquiry focusing on action and reflection and where a multitude of voices are encouraged, take care of these criteria and can claim to be good craftsmanship.
Quality may also be judged to which extent it makes sense to the reader and whether the process has given the participants the experience of taking part in a meaningful process. Reason & Bradbury (2001) claim that a sign of quality in an action research project is a sense on the 34
Dialogical Action Research - About therapeutic listening, creating space for voices to emerge and to be heard