Preparing for the Pragmatic Action Search

Many roads lead to a search conference. In some cases, the local actors are familiar with search conferences and accordingly know what they are looking for. In this situation, the task for the initiators is to find a facilitator to take on the job. A standard bureaucratic method is simply to call for proposals from various professional search conference managers. We think that searching as a form of AR demands skills and engagement that reach beyond the work styles of most conventional consultants, however. Thus contracting for a search con­ference itself is a complex matter.

Another road to a search conference is for an outsider involved in local development work to convince the local actors that a search is appropriate. In this situation, the local actors may not understand what a search is. The chal­lenge for the outsider is to convey an understanding of the search process and to show that it potentially can help the local actors. Even so, the process of launching a search depends on mutual trust, because it is difficult to convey a fair picture of what a search is unless people have experienced one or have seen the positive effects of a search on another group.

Source: Greenwood Davydd J., Levin Morten (2006), Introduction to Action Research: Social Research for Social Change, SAGE Publications, Inc; 2nd edition.

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