Postmodernism comes to program evaluation III: A critical review of stringer's action research: A handbook for practitioners

Daniel Fishman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Stringer's Action Research: A Handbook for Practitioners reflects the impact of postmodern critical thinking upon models of human service practice. This includes such a radical break from traditional applied social science research methods - including Lewin's original concept of "action research" - that Stringer's model seems better termed "humanistic practice" than "action research." The book itself does a fine job in spelling out the appealing values of critical-theory-informed practice: it is "democratic," "equitable," "liberating," and "life-enhancing"; and it involves relationships that are "equal" and "cooperative," communication that is "attentive" and "advisory", participation that is "involving" and "personal", and participation that is highly "inclusive." In addition, Stringer makes the model very accessible to practitioners by packaging it in a "look-think-act" format. Concerns raised about Stringer's model include the lack of empirical evidence presented for its effectiveness, its apparent antagonism to the concept of such evidence, and its lack of consideration of the issue of "quality criteria" in knowledge generation (such as positivistic "reliability" and "validity", or postmodern "credibility," "authenticity," and "fairness.") In addition, the book suffers from the lack of an extended case study to illustrate the model in action across the total context and complexity of a complete social program.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-235
Number of pages5
JournalEvaluation and Program Planning
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Social Psychology
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Strategy and Management
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Postmodernism comes to program evaluation III: A critical review of stringer's action research: A handbook for practitioners'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this