Using Dooyeweerd's 15 Modal Aspects to Diagnose Challenges in Action Research




Critical Social Theory, Systems Thinking, Action Research, suite of fifteen Dooyeweerdian modal aspects, Churchman considerations


When an interactive action research process is followed, the first of five phases encompassing problem diagnosis, action planning, action implementation, evaluation of action taken, and the identification of learning outcomes, requires the practitioner to attain a comprehensive understanding of a complex situation. Within the critical social theory paradigm, a diagnosis serves to pinpoint issues requiring attention in the subsequent phases. This aids the progression of the entity being researched by suggesting enhancements to current circumstances that is suboptimal. Given the paramount role of accurate problem diagnosis, particularly with the aim of critical social theory being toward participant emancipation, a holistic and sound comprehension of the issue under study is crucial. Limited guidance is provided in terms of how a researcher may structure the diagnosis phase. In an earlier action research study, the five considerations developed by Churchman was used to guide the diagnoses. The approach investigated here, accredited to Dooyeweerd, is also examined within the context of critical social theory, specifically in systems theory—a multidisciplinary exploration of systems. The five Churchman considerations are used to guide the investigation. The aim is to demonstrate the comparative efficacy of the modalities in structuring the diagnostic phase of action research. Dooyeweerd's fifteen model aspects, which address various facets of human experience, are framed as questions for comprehending a system holistically. This approach extends beyond mere insight, striving to unveil power structures.

Author Biography

Roelien Goede, Unit for Data Science and Computing, North-West University

Director of the Unit for Data Science and Computing at the North-West University


2024-01-30 — Updated on 2024-02-15