In contrast, the researcher has her or his theorybased knowledge, but suchknowledge can be crucial to more precisely identify actual problems, clarifyimplicit assumptions, and through interaction and training change a client’sperspective on the need to undertake actions for improvements (Argyris, 1983).In more detail, there are three levels of researcher participation in an actionresearch project: technical, practical and emancipatory (Carr and Kemmis,1986). In the ﬁrst,
level of participation the action researcher is merelya technical “expert”, a consultant who tells other people what to do. This is thenormal form of a consultant’s project; for example, a technical agribusinessconsultant is working in a grain development project in a developed countryand simply transfers the technology across. This is the simplest form of actionresearch and may not even meet the requirements of traditional action researchnoted above.The second,
level of participation by a researcher is like thestarting point of a “process consultant” (Schein, 1990), where the researcherhas a Socratic role, encouraging participation and reﬂection about
so that others can learn about learning about doing, and not just learnabout doing. The researcher helps the client understand of how he or sheﬁts into a system.The third, emancipatory level of researcher participation is the idealaccording to some action researchers (Carr and Kemmis, 1986). Here theresearcher becomes a co-researcher with the other people, for responsibility forthe project is shared equally among everyone. In emancipatory action research,the researchers aim to change the whole context of the problem and thusliberate themselves from its causes, including their mental context. That is, thistype of participation:
. . .
aims not only at technical and practical improvement [technical] and the participants’better understanding [practical]
. . .
but also at changing the system itself and/or thoseconditions which impede desired improvement in the system or organisation. It also aims atthe participants’ empowerment and self conﬁdence (Zuber-Skerritt, 1996, p. 5).
This third level of participation is indeed an ideal one and is probably onlyreally achieved by “revolutionaries” who change the structure within theirwhole organisation or community. In other words, this type of action researcherbecomes a transformative intellectual who transforms the view that people hadof their world and so emancipates them from their mental prison bars. Whenemancipatory action research is being done in Latin America, for example, itmight aim to lead to revolutions to liberate the poor (Freire, 1972). Whenemancipatory action research is done in education, it can lead to moredemocratic classrooms. When it is done in business, it may not be so dramaticbut it can lead to new ways of thinking that restructure processes and savecosts. For example, action researchers from
departments can cometogether to look at functional interrelationships affecting what was at ﬁrstthought to be just a marketing problem. This traditional form of action