Informants as researchers: Action Learning

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    I am preparing a research plan and the idea is to conduct research on certain special network of which also some key players of that network would be involved as short-term researchers in order to learn during the process, develop their own practices, and to acquire information that researchers from ‘outside’ might not be able to collect.

    Do you know any sources from which I could get some methodological guidance for such a “research-oriented informant involvement”? The idea is that as these players are experts of their own network and its actions, we would involve some key figures as short-term researchers in the field work (concerning the visits to some hubs of the network in question). This is not a conventional action research scheme, even if close to it. These informant-researchers would be responsible for drafting reports of their visits to certain hubs of the network, which would be then used later by the research group. What does this idea sound like?

    This is methodologically challenging issue, though. What should we use as our methodological guidance? What would you say about Action Learning? Has anyone experience of a project in which some key informants serve also served as short-term researchers in the process? If this sounds methodologically and ethically too risky, I simply have to forget this part of the research plan.

    Any tips are warmly welcome! (E-mail: kuaran@uta.fi)

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