‘We thought we “knew”’, so we “did”': A voluntary organization's beginnings in action research

Maya Lavie-Ajayi, Demelza Holmes, Colette Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In 2004, YWCA England & Wales began a two-year action research project with young women made possible with a grant from Big Lottery Fund. The research comprised four co-operative inquiry groups of young women in different geographical locations and of different composition. Each group met regularly and inquires, together with two YWCA project workers, about safe expression of sexuality and young women's sexual health. This article gives a practical account of the initial stages of the research; explores the challenges of doing co-operative inquiry and offers recommendations for other researchers who consider using this method. Particular attention is given to the challenges of working collaboratively in a hierarchical organization. It is argued that to establish collaborative relationships within the inquiry groups, similar relationships need to be demonstrated by the organization's staff and established within the organization's structures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407-429
Number of pages23
JournalAction Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • action research
  • co-operative inquiry
  • collaborative relationships
  • reflexivity
  • young women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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