Using story dialogue method: inspired by the PAR approach, to identify and develop problem areas in food distribution to elderly people living at home in five municipalities in Sweden
2010 (English)In: Action Learning & Action Research Assosiation, ALARA, World Congress 2010: Participatory Action Research and Action Learning / [ed] Dr Susan Goff, 2010Conference paper (Other academic)
In this paper, we will discuss a study whose concern is to identify and develop areas of food distribution by testing a model that allows the practitioners to participate in the exploring of their own stories of everyday practice. The fundamental reason for engaging the practitioners in the research was to facilitate them in obtaining tools to reflect on practice and to inform about future actions. Our intention was to use PAR as the approach as to building a bridge between theory and practice for which the SDM proved to be suitable for gaining and analysing data. Some of the links between the PAR approach and the SDM are that both consist of continuous cycles of reflection and learning. The stories should be used as a powerful vehicle to discover new knowledge and to deepen the understanding of professional practice issues. Reflection and story telling are closely related to the processing of information and gaining new insights from experiences. To take stories from practitioners’ own experience is similar to that of the ‘look phase’ of PAR, which implies that what is happening is described and thus clarifies the core problem of what the practitioners would like to change. The ‘think phase’ of PAR, and the structured dialogue in the SDM, involves detailed descriptions, explanations and the exploring of the issues that are aggregated and focused on in the structured dialogue around questions such as: What can we do to move on; what actions could be taken; what happens if nothing is done; and what are the possible effects. Actual stories were used as “triggers” when probing questions were asked in a dialogical and structured form. The process involves the combination of having a dialogue and writing memo notes. The dialogue on various strategies, including weaknesses and strengths, continues until each action and the expected benefits of a chosen action have been adequately discussed. The dialogue has a constant focus on what is of greatest importance for a chosen action from an ethical, legal, economic, collaborative and organisational point of view. Furthermore, the dialogue evaluation emphasises on how participants reflect on what the expected change is, how change comes about, and what the consequences of the change imply. Our conclusion is that the PAR approach and the use of SDM are suitable and systematic methods to generate data and to encourage collaboration between various professional groups, i.e. an active participation through dialogue where there are no restrictions in the communication and everybody’s voice is heard equally. In this study, as to critically reflect on how the SDM embodies a participatory and an ‘action’ oriented approach implies that, as a platform, an actual, real, case from practice was used. Chosen jointly and in agreement by the practitioners, the case should always be one with which all can be familiar and treat as their own. The starting point was our perception that the practitioners are the experts in their particular everyday work, and that they are able to identify problems themselves, which would be resolvable through actions and changes in the daily routines. Another benefit of involving the practitioners was how their motivation to make changes to a particular problem they had deemed important to resolve increased. The systemic issues, which were identified in the study, call attention to the importance of systematic collaboration, and by using the SDM, issues that concern the organisation and its practice directly may be explored. This cyclical process provided an expanded understanding about the food distribution context. In addition, the dialogue has developed over time from focusing on formal aspects, such as routines, competence levels, responsibility and how to fill in forms, to include more organisational aspects. The practitioners felt that structured dialogues and reflecting gave them a better understanding about the food distribution context. The reciprocal relations that were rendered in the non-restrictive communication – down-up and up-down in PAR – were identified as important. Another important insight was that support from the parent organisation was necessary when actions were to be taken and changes in practice were to be made. In closing, the study stems from our shared deep engagement and absorption in practice and together we saw how stories unfolded. It became clear that a greater understanding of and by the various professional groups would have to be obtained in order to achieve changes in the practice of food distribution to elderly persons for which such understanding is a necessary starting point.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
food distribution, elderly persons, living at home, professionals, public home care, story
Other Health Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:hkr:diva-7909OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hkr-7909DiVA: diva2:406037
Participatory Action Research and Action Learning, Melbourne Australia