What is Co-operative Inquiry?

What is Co-operative inquiry

Co-operative inquiry is a participatory and inclusive method, pioneered by Reason and Heron (e.g., Reason, 1994; Reason & Heron, 1995) which supports in-dept conversations about a focus area. Co-operative inquiry comprises of four phases which are cycled through iteratively (Please see Figure 1 below).

Figure 1.
A co-designed graphic representation of the four phases of co-operative inquiry (Reason, 1994; Reason & Heron, 1995; Short & Healy, 2017; Pascoe et al., 2023)

Training: Co-operative inquiry workshop handout

Some further reading and resources explaining the research methodology

  • By pioneers of co-operative inquiry

Reason, P., & Heron, J. (nd). A short guide to co-operative inquirywww.human-inquiry.com/cishortg.htm *This website provides a simple and succinct overview of the co-operative inquiry methodology.

Reason, P. (1994). Co-operative Inquiry, Participatory Action Research & Action Inquiry: three approaches to participative inquiry, in N. K Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Ed.), Handbook of Qualitative Research. Sage. *This chapter describes co-operative inquiry in the context of other participative research methods.

Reason, P. & Heron, J. (1995). Co-operative Inquiry. In Harre, R., Smith, J. & Van Langenhove, L. (Ed., pp. 122-142). Rethinking Methods in Psychology. Sage.

  • By INCInq members

Russ, E., Petrakis, M., Whitaker, L., Fitzroy, R., & Short, M. (2024). Co-operative inquiry: Qualitative methodology transforming research ‘about’ to research ‘with’ people. Qualitative Research, online, https://doi.org/10.1177/14687941241234272.

Short, M. (2018). The co-operative inquiry research method: A lived experience. In M. Pawar, W. Bowles, & K. Bell (Eds.). Social Work: Innovations and insights (pp. 232-244). Australian Scholarly Publishing.

Short, M., & Healy, J. (2017). Writing ‘with’ not ‘about’: Examples in co-operative inquiry. In S. Gair & A.V. Luyun (Eds.). Sharing Qualitative Research: Showing lived experience and community narratives. (pp. 188-203). Routledge.

Publications utilising the co-operative methodology that inspire our community and/or its principles

Russ, E., Petrakis, M., Whitaker, L., Fitzroy, R., & Short, M. (2024). Co-operative inquiry: Qualitative methodology transforming research ‘about’ to research ‘with’ people. Qualitative Research, online, https://doi.org/10.1177/14687941241234272.

Short, M., Anderson, J., Hamersley, G., Royce, E., & Anderson, J. (2024). The lived experience of rural churches pastorally caring for farmers and graziers: a practical theology conversation. Practical Theology, online, 1–16. (https://doi.org/10.1080/1756073X.2024.2337969

Pawar, M., Osburn, L., Short, M., & Mlcek, S. (2024). Integrating four teaching and learning methods to deliver transformational social work education online. Social Work Education, online, 1–20. https://doi.org/10.1080/02615479.2024.2372393. Link: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02615479.2024.2372393

McLaughlin, A., Pascoe, E., Lawson, L., Parker, L., Whalan, T., Safdar, T., Beeton, G., Kennedy, R., Ivory, N., Morley, L., Halton, H., Russ, E., Gartshore, S., Short, M., (2024) A new perspective regarding the impact of rural disadvantage on accessing services: Hearing the Australian and Irish social work student voice. Advances in Social Work & Welfare Education, online. https://www.journal.anzswwer.org/index.php/advances/article/view/305/275

Whitaker, L., Petrakis, M., Smith, F., Deacon, E., Simboli, T., Lue, J., Clark, C., Velander, F., Rocca, A., Morris, B., (2024) Mental health social work practice: Navigating tensions. British Journal of Social Work. Advance publication bcae051, https://doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcae051

Walters, C., Lambert, C., Pankhurst, J., Irving, S., Alvarez, A., & Petrakis, M. (2023). Improving family social and mental wellbeing in the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond: the case for deep listening. Asia Pacific Journal of Social Work and Development, 34(2), 114–127. https://doi.org/10.1080/02185385.2023.2175717

Godden, N., Peter, S. (2023). The Love Ethic: Love and Activism for Ecosocial Justice. Contemporary Love Studies in the Arts and Humanities: What’s Love Got to Do with it? (1-14). Palgrave Macmillan. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-26055-1_1.

Osburn, L., Short, M., Gersbach,K., Velander, F., Mungai, N., Moorhead, B., Mlcek, S., Dobud, W., Duncombe, R., Kalache, L., Gerstenberg, L., Lomas, G., Wulff, E., Ninnis, J., Morison, A., Falciani, K. & Pawar, M. (2021). Teaching social work skills-based learning online during and post COVID-19. Social Work Education, An international journal, online.

Morris, B., Short, M., Bridges, D., Crichton, M., Velander, F., Rush, E., Iffland, B. & Duncombe, R. (2021). Responding to student mental health challenges during and post-COVID-19, Social Work Education, An international journal, 1-18. https://doi.org/10.1080/02615479.2021.1962271

Godden, N. (2021). Community work, love and the indigenous worldview of buen vivir in Peru. International Social Work, 64(3), 354-370. https://doi.org/10.1177/0020872820930254.

Duncombe, R., Fay, J., Gould, G., Fay, C., Fay, M., Harrington, J., Mount, K., Neale, B., Ryan, J., Arnold, S. (2020) Developing inclusion in a small town food service. Chapter 7 in Crisp, B. and Taket, A. Sustaining social inclusion, Routledge

Kime, K., & Short, M. (2019). Engaging with Aboriginal peoples: Challenging inequality in the rural Australian Anglican Church from a sociological, social work and theological perspective. Australasian Pentecostal Studies Journal, 20(2019), 35-54. Retrieved from https://aps-journal.com/index.php/APS/article/view/9535

Short, M., Trembath, K. S., Duncombe, R., Whitaker, L., & Wiman, G. (2018). Contemporizing teaching case management: Mapping the tensions. Social Work Education: The International Journal, online(August), 1-15.

Short, M., Dempsey, K., Ackland, J., Rush, E., Heller, E., & Dwyer, H. (2018). What is a person? Deepening students’ and colleagues’ understanding of person-centeredness. Advances in Social Work & Welfare Education, 20(1), 139-156.

Short, M. (2018). The co-operative inquiry research method: A lived experience. In M. Pawar, W. Bowles, & K. Bell (Eds.), Social work: Innovations and insights. (pp. 232-244). North Melbourne, Vic: Australian Scholarly Publishing.

Godden, N. (2018). Community work research through co-operative inquiry in Timor-Leste, Australia and Peru: Insights into process. Systemic Practice and Action Research, 31(1), 55-73. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11213-017-9420-0.

Godden, N. (2018). ‘Love in community work in rural Timor-Leste: a co-operative inquiry for a participatory framework of practice. Community Development Journal, 53(1), 78-98. https://doi.org/10.1093/cdj/bsw022.

Short, M., Seiffert, M., Haynes, R., & Haynes, L. (2018). Church, Disability, and Rurality: The Lived Experience. Journal of Disability and Religion, 18(1), 1-26.

Short, M., Barton, H., Cooper, B., Woolven, M., Loos, M. & Devos, J. (2017). The power of the case study within practice, education and research. Advances in Social Work & Welfare Education. 19(1): p. 92-106

Short, M., & Healy, J. (2017). Writing ‘with’ not ‘about’: Examples in Co-operative Inquiry. In S. Gair & A. V. Luyun (Eds.), Sharing Qualitative Research: Showing Lived Experience and Community Narratives. (pp. 188-203). London, UK: Routledge.

Tillotson, N., Short, M., Ollerton, J., Hearn, C and Sawatzky, B. (2017). Faith matters: From a disability lens. Journal of Disability and Religion. 21(3): p. 319-337.​

Short, M., Broughton, G., Short, M., Ochala, Y., & Anscombe, B. (2017). Connecting to belonging: A cross-disciplinary inquiry into rural Australian Anglican Church engagements with people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Journal of Contemporary Religion. 32(1), 119-133.

Godden, N. (2017). The love ethic: A radical theory for social work practice. Australian Social Work, 70(4), 405-416. https://doi.org/10.1080/0312407X.2017.1301506.

Godden, N. (2017). The participation imperative in co-operative inquiry: personal reflections of an initiating researcher. Systemic Practice and Action Research, 30(1), 1-18. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11213-016-9387-2.
Godden, N. (2017). A co-operative inquiry about love using narrative, performative and visual methods. Qualitative Research, 17(1), 75-94. https://doi.org/10.1177/1468794116668000.

Jones-Mutton, T., Short, M., Bidgood, T., & Jones, T. (2015). Field Education: Off-site social work supervision in rural, regional and remote Australia. Advances in Social Work & Welfare Education, 17(1), 83-97.

Healy, J., Tillotson, N., Short, M., & Hearn, C. (2015). Social work field education: Believing in supervisors who are living with disabilities. Disability and Society, 30(7), 1087-1102.

Hearn, C., Short, M., & Healy, J. (2014). Social Work Field Education: Believing in Students who are living with a Disability. Disability and Society, 29(9), 1343-1355.

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