Best of you

As a behavioral scientist, I love geeking out over methodology, the science of doing research. Although I appreciate quantitative approaches, my heart belongs to the qualitative side of the house.

The question to be answered is often the best indicator of which form of research is most appropriate. Questions related to counting (i.e., How many…? or How much…?) naturally lend themselves to quantitative study. Qualitative research is well-positioned to answer questions about why, what, who, and how.

Looking back in my recovery, I see the journey as a study of myself: who I am, what makes up my identity, how I want to move through the world. It undertook a form of participative inquiry.

Participative inquiry is an umbrella term for a suite of research methods that promote collaborative investigation and problem solving within groups, breaking down the barriers between researchers and participants. As a means of problem solving, participative inquiry can be viewed as a continuum, with action research on one end and appreciative inquiry on the other.

Initially proposed by the famed change management theorist and organizational psychology Kurt Lewin, action research is a systematic inquiry into an issue or challenge experienced by a group. Its aim is to reflectively consider a problem, iterate solutions, and generate knowledge that may serve the individual, the group, and external parties (e.g., relevant scholarly communities, literatures).

Contrastingly, appreciative inquiry is an entirely forward-looking approach for determining innovative ideas, approaches, and creations that allow a group to grow into its ideal expression of itself.

And that’s where I am. On a path to discovering the best of me and how my best self continues to evolve.

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