Getting what you pay for: divergent conceptions of knowledge in practitioner inquiry

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In this paper, I report on the work of a practitioner inquiry group that went awry when the sponsor refused to publish and disseminate the participants' final reports, stating that they were of poor quality and did not contribute to the knowledge base. I, the facilitator of the group, disagreed strongly with her. I suggest that the difference between her evaluation and mine may have seemed to be about different views of what counts as quality, but were likely indicators of deeper differences with regard to our views on knowledge. I conclude by stating that examinations of knowledge conceptions are key to practitioner inquiry stakeholders finding consensus on appropriate outcomes, or at least making spaces for alternatives, and the potential value of the work that practitioners do in inquiry groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)138-153
Number of pages16
JournalStudies in the Education of Adults
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 1 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science


  • knowledge
  • practitioner inquiry
  • quality criteria
  • stakeholder conflicts


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