Karen McArdle

Professor Karen McArdle

Professor Karen McArdle, FRSA, has been engaged with the learning of adults for more than thirty years. In that time she has worked in a community context in both Australia and the UK. She has also worked educating teachers latterly and most recently engaged in research in the context of health and well-being. She has a particular interest in research methodology and the link to values which she discussed in her latest text, ‘Freedom Research in Education; Becoming an autonomous researcher.’ Karen has always valued action research highly for its practical applications to practice and has supervised and examined PhD projects that use action research in education, community, social work and health domains. Karen McArdle lives in Scotland where she is Professor Emerita at the University of Aberdeen’s School of Education and has recently joined the University of Dundee’s Centre for Medical Education, where she educates doctors and health professionals in qualitative inquiry.  She is a mentor to the Education Institute of Scotland’s awards for action research for teachers and is just completing her third book, which concerns how to gather evidence of impact of work in a community setting. which is an interdisciplinary text.

Abstract for Keynote address

Patti Lather (2007) defines praxis as the ‘self-creative activity through which we make the central concept of a Marxist philosophy that did not want to remain a philosophy, philosophy becoming practical” (p.15).  I propose that we need to consider Lather’s definition of praxis and think about our own contribution to the concept of praxis and shallow pretentions towards ‘emancipating’ or ‘empowering’ others to do it for us.

Action research is focused quite explicitly on professional practice and involves action as an integral part of the process. I intend to discuss the second stage of action in action research; the action that follows or is embedded in the research dimensions of the process.  It is my experience that action concludes too early and is rarely longitudinal in focus.  Praxis is crucial to the future of the professions with whom CARN members and with whom I practice but how well is it understood and what are the best means of facilitating change? On what scale do we seek change and do we have the confidence to make change happen?

Lather, P. (2007). Getting lost: Feminist efforts towards a double (d) science. State University of New York Press, Albany, USA

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