John Heron, Co-operative Inquiry: Research into the Human
Condition, London, Sage Publications, 1996
Cloth (0-8039-7683-6) £37.50 / Paper (0-8039-7684-4)
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This is the first book to give a comprehensive account of co-operative
inquiry, a way of doing research with people, in which all those involved
combine the roles of both researcher and subject. Co-operative inquiry
is a wide-ranging and distinct form of participative research in which
people use the full range of their sensibilities to inquire together into
any aspect of the human condition.
The purpose of the book is twofold. First, to provide detailed practical
guidance for any peer group wishing to use the method. The text covers:
The second purpose of the book is to provide a substantial theoretical
background to the practice of co-operative inquiry. The topics include:
Main ways of setting up inquiry groups.
Different types of co-operative inquiry.
A wide range of inquiry topics.
Four principal kinds of inquiry outcome.
Ways of enabling three strands of development in an inquiry group.
Main stages of the inquiry cycle, with the key issues for practice at each
Special inquiry skills involved.
A set of procedures used to enhance the validity of the process.
The main parameters of research cycling.
Co-operative Inquiry will encourage and support the large number
of people, at all levels, throughout academia, the helping professions
and in the wider community, who are looking for a way of doing research,
whether in social or natural science, that is both wide-ranging and has
an authentic human face. It commends a form of inquiry which makes participative
forms of knowing and decision-making central to its method
A history of the method, with precursors and a cultural genealogy.
The underlying participative paradigm.
Epistemic and political aspects of participation and research method.
The extended epistemology involved in co-operative inquiry.
The primacy of the practical, and the nature of participative knowing.
A revision of the concepts of truth and validity.
Integral and radical empiricism, and an account of the postconceptual worldview.
A critique of positivist science and of medical research.
Arguments for the use of co-operative inquiry.
Introduction \ Research Method and Participation \ Overview of Co-operative
Inquiry \ Initiating an Inquiry Group \ Stages of the Inquiry Cycle \ Inquiry
Outcomes \ Radical Memory and Inquiry Skills \ Validity Procedures \ Validity
and Beyond \ A Postconceptual Worldview \ Arguments for Co-operative Inquiry
John Heron is an international consultant,
researcher and writer, based in a centre
in New Zealand. He founded the Human Potential Research Project at the
University of Surrey, and was Assistant Director of the British Postgraduate
Medical Federation at the University of London. His other recent books are The
Complete Facilitator's Handbook (London: Kogan Page, 1999), Sacred
Science (Ross-on-Wye: PCCS Books,1998), Group Facilitation (London: Kogan
Page,1993), Feeling and Personhood (London: Sage, 1992), Helping
the Client (London: Sage,1990) and The Facilitators' Handbook
(London: Kogan Page,1989).
Fields of application