Cooperative Inquiry Online: Investigating Innovation in Work-Integrated Learning Across Four Countries


This case study examines the application of Co-operative Inquiry in collaborative online research. Co-operative Inquiry, a participatory research method, facilitates collaborative research using collective critical reflections, dialogue, methodical documentation, and systematic analysis. Unique to this method is the focus on writing “with” people and “by” people rather than “about” people or “on” people. By describing the methods used in a recent inquiry into educational and industry innovations in work-integrated learning, known in social work as field education placement, this case study explores the online application of Co-operative Inquiry. Field education is integral to social work education and concerns about placement scarcity have stimulated the introduction of innovations to address unmet demand. This inquiry used online formats to investigate the experiences of educators in four countries in developing innovative placement opportunities. Spanning distances of geography, time zones, culture, research expertise, occupation, theoretical orientation, and personal assumptions, the online format was crucial to the success of this inquiry. This case study describes the online approach, challenges, and factors that enabled success in broaching distances in field education as well as in research when participants engage online as co-researchers, co-participants, and co-authors.

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