Yoland Wadsworth has been working as an applied sociologist for almost four decades in Melbourne, Australia. She specialises in action research techniques, having worked with various research centres within universities as well as with state government research centres, and she also takes on other consultancy work. She writes about her new book which brings together the wealth of her social research and evaluation experiences.
Dr Yoland Wadsworth
Adjunct Professor with Centre for Applied Social Research; Hon Principal Fellow with the McCaughey VicHealth Centre; Consultant with Living Systems Research
What I did over the last year…
I’ve just had published the results of 38 years of my thinking, based on all of my applied research and evaluation work—Building in Research and Evaluation: Human inquiry for living systems (last in the trilogy of DIY Social Research and Everyday Evaluation on the Run). It includes a set of ten exemplars where organisations have used applied action research and evaluation to attempt to create continuous improvement in professional practice (health, education, welfare, mental health & community services) and self help and community organisations. I used a sequence of nearly ten years work in acute psychiatric services with consumers and professional staff to illustrate each part of the argument as well (that inquiry is the dynamic of all living systems).
When Raewyn Connell launched it for Allen & Unwin at the December conference of The Australian Sociological Association, I asked academics not to be put off by its accessibility (my usual use of cartoons and illustrations to ensure popular accessibility!). But it is in fact a work of (to my knowledge) innovative transdisciplinary practice-based theory. It integrates in a single cyclic ‘mental architecture’, an epistemology of living systems (inductive-abductive-deductive inquiring), which it then identifies as embodied as ‘inquiring for life’ both individually and socially at any scale. I hope it will change everything about the way we think about research and evaluation.
Yoland Wadsworth is an Adjunct Professor with Centre for Applied Social Research at Melbourne’s RMIT University (click here for Yoland’s academic bio). She is also an Hon Principal Fellow with the McCaughey VicHealth Centre, University of Melbourne (click here to read about Yoland’s health work with VicHealth). Yoland is also a Consultant with Living Systems Research (Email: LivingSystemsResearch@gmail.com)
Article copyright: © Yoland Wadsworth 2011. Published by Sociology At Work. All rights reserved.
Article citation: Wadsworth, Y. (2011) ‘Do It Yourself Social Research and Everyday Evaluation: Lessons From a 40-year Career as an Applied Sociologist,’ Working Notes, Issue 2, June, online resource: http://sociologyatwork.org/applied-research-and-evaluation