Research Approach

Action Research refers to a broad family of participatory approaches used to build evidence in areas that lack an empirical research base, find practical solutions to areas of urgent concern to people and understand complex situations (Hughes, 2008; Reason & Bradbury, 2008). It offers a structured approach to developing practice innovations through experimentation, reflection and learning. Action research promotes collaboration, enabling authentic involvement of multiple diverse stakeholders through a community of practice that develops among the stakeholders and researchers (Chouinard & Milley, 2016; McCormack & Dewing, 2012). The project embraces a decolonised research agenda which relies on genuine participation, collaboration and partnership with Aboriginal communities (AIATSIS, 2011).

The project applies an action research approach used extensively in child welfare in the United States known as a Breakthrough Series Collaborative which brings together child welfare agencies to rapidly test strategies over about two years. This methodology is appropriate as there is evidence of the need for practice improvements and examples of promising practices (Miller & Ward, 2008). Breakthrough Series Collaborative is not about introducing new initiatives or programs but describes a process to achieve changes already recognised as needed. It creates buy-in from stakeholders like agencies and courts and then trials small changes that can maximise system improvement. Capturing the ethos of the methodology, the motto ‘What can we do by next Tuesday?’ signals how the methodology differs from other system change initiatives through a focus on rapid, achievable change not ambitious, large-scale transformation.

The Framework for Change

The document is a blueprint that establishes why we have committed ourselves to spend the next two years designing, testing and evaluating practices to support positive approaches to family time and to building a community of shared good practice. You can download a copy of the Framework for Change here.

Project Timeframe

  • The 1st learning Session was held on 18-19 February 2020 at the Murrook Cultural Centre, Williamtown.
  • Local teams will work closely to trial 1st agreed practice and collect data on the process.
  • The 2nd learning Session was held on 20-21 October 2020 at the Sage Hotel in Wollongong.
  • Local teams will work closely to trial 2nd agreed practice and collect data on the process.
  • The 3rd learning Session was held on 22-23 June 2021 at Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo.
  • Local teams will work closely to trial 3rd agreed practice and collect data on the process.
  • The 4th learning Session will be held in early December 2021 at the University of Sydney to finalise agreed practices and prepare resources and tools.
  • During 2022, agreed practices will be implemented in partner organisations; resource materials will be produced and practice website launched.