Powell, David (2017) Collaborative Inquiry by Teacher Educators: Mess and Messiness. In: Teachers and Teacher Educators Learning Through Inquiry: International Perspectives. Wydawnictwo Attyka, Kraków, pp. 239-262. ISBN 9788365644282

Collaborative inquiry is a widespread and dominant approach to professional
learning within education and is backed by a growing research base. However,
one dimension of it seems to have been largely neglected by research methods
texts and research accounts: the messiness of teacher collaboration. This seems
a significant gap in the collaborative inquiry “story”. Drawing on Adamson and
Walker’s notion of messiness as the choices, problems and unexpected challenges
of a collaborative inquiry, this chapter foregrounds mess and messiness to answer
four research questions: what is messiness in collaborative inquiry? How does
messiness happen? Should we document mess and messiness? How can you
document messiness? These questions are answered by drawing on existing
literature and using illustrative examples from the author’s doctoral research.
The chapter argues that when honestly documented, using “Second Text” and
“confessional tales”, for instance, messiness can contribute to enhanced rigour
within collaborative inquiry. It concludes by asserting that researchers need to
acquire “Bildung” if they are to “surf the wave(s) of messiness” in their research.

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