What Works? A Critique of Appreciative Inquiry as a Research Method/ology

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Appreciative Inquiry (AI) has gained prominence as an organizational development approach. For over 15 years, it has had varied use in higher education research as a methodology and as a collection of methods. Perhaps the most consistently used, yet most criticized, aspect of AI is the positive stance that its adherents adopt. In this chapter, we survey the prevalence and use of AI, both in the wider literature and in higher education research. We offer our own case study to illustrate the practicalities of employing it and discuss our findings. We suggest that educational researchers are overlooking relevant AI research published within other disciplines; that our own and other case stories can provide guidance for the use of AI in academic contexts; and that AI’s collaborative and positive standpoint has potential as a research methodology influencing policy.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTheory and Method in Higher Education Research, Vol. 1: Theory and method in higher education research II (Vol. 10).
EditorsJeroen Huisman, Malcolm Tight
Place of PublicationBingley, UK
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Limited
ISBN (Print)978-1-78560-287-0, 978-1-78560-286-3
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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