Grant, S. & Humphries, M. (2006). Critical evaluation of appreciative inquiry: Bridging an apparent paradox. Action Research, 4(4), 401-418.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/1854
Despite increased applications and scholarship, appreciative inquiry remains a research method with little self-reflection or critique to evaluate the process as an action research method. Perhaps counter-intuitively, we propose that critical theory provides one useful lens through which to develop an appreciative evaluation of the process. We begin this article with a brief introduction to appreciative inquiry (Ai) as it is presented in the literature. Calls for evaluation of the process are acknowledged, as are the few evaluations/critiques of Ai we have found in literature. We discuss how critical theory may be applied to an evaluation of appreciative inquiry bridging an apparent paradox between the negativity associated with the former and the positive focus of the latter. An initial application of Critical Appreciative Process (CAP) is described to illustrate how the integrated use of appreciative inquiry and critical theory deepens insight and recognition of the complexity in human endeavours.
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