8    Cycles within cycles


Speaking only for myself ...


In an earlier piece I suggested that action research was cyclic -- that this was one of its defining characteristics.  In particular, action and reflection alternate with one another.

This is a very simple model.  Action, reflection, action, reflection ...  But already powerful.  It allows the integration of the conscious and deliberate thinking and knowing of reflection with the less conscious and deliberate knowing and thinking of action.

The question arises, how long is a "cycle".  Increasingly I am drawn to the conclusion that there are cycles within cycles within cycles, and so on.

The inner cycles may occupy only seconds in time.  The outermost cycle may be longer than a particular intervention.

In this way a very simple conceptual model -- act, reflect, act, reflect ...  -- becomes enormously flexible.  Its flexibility allows it to deal better with the complexity of people and social systems.




Copyright Bob Dick 1998-2000.  May be copied if it is not included in any
material sold at a profit, and this and the following notice are shown

This may be cited as:   Bob Dick (1998) Cycles within cycles.
Occasional pieces in action research methodology, # 8.  Available
online at http://www.scu.edu.au/schools/gcm/ar/arm/op008.html

Version 1.2;  last modified 20000101


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