Using Appreciative Inquiry in Educational Research: Possibilities and Limitations

Caroline Sharp, Maha Shuayb, Michelle Judkins, Monica Hetherington

01 February 2009

Young people's perceptions of effective community cohesion practices

This small-scale study considered the potential application of Appreciative Inquiry (AI) as a research technique. The NFER team worked with two schools and local authorities in England.

Key Findings

  • AI can be used as an evaluative technique, but its main purpose is to identify good practice, introduce and implement change.
  • Implementing AI requires commitment on behalf of all participants, especially those in positions of responsibility.
  • AI is not suitable for research into highly problematic social phenomena or where participants have very limited experience of the topic.
  • AI could be a useful method for schools and LAs to use to bring about change.
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