American Journal of Educational Research
ISSN (Print): 2327-6126 ISSN (Online): 2327-6150 Website: Editor-in-chief: Ratko Pavlović
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American Journal of Educational Research. 2015, 3(4), 412-417
DOI: 10.12691/education-3-4-5
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A Case Study on Action Research: Barri Gòtic Barcelona

Xavi Camino1, and Albert Fuster1

1Department of Social Sciences, ELISAVA Escola Superior en Disseny – UPF, Barcelona, Spain

Pub. Date: March 19, 2015

Cite this paper:
Xavi Camino and Albert Fuster. A Case Study on Action Research: Barri Gòtic Barcelona. American Journal of Educational Research. 2015; 3(4):412-417. doi: 10.12691/education-3-4-5


The Design Degree program at Elisava Escuela Superior de Diseño e Ingeniería de Barcelona includes tools and mechanisms to focus students on the users, the social context and communication. The idea behind this is that greater density should be sought in the projects and a fabric of relationships should be generated in a social and geographical environment ranging from the most local to the most global. As part of its “Products, context and user” subject, Elisava planned action research during the 2010-11 academic year between a group of graphic design students and the members of the 'Asociación de vecinos del barri Gòtic' (AVVBG or Gothic Quarter Community Association), the Gothic Quarter being the district of Barcelona where the School is situated. As the AVVBG has few members, it considered the need to develop new communicative strategies. The teachers provided the students with the traditional social science methods (documentary sources, participant observation, in-depth interviews) with two goals: the first, that they might become deeply aware of the district's social reality, its relationship with the rest of the city and the true needs of the AVVBG (diagnosis); and the second, to establish bonds with the members of the AVVBG that would lead to starting spaces for reflection, joint creation and joint participation in designing the association’s new communication strategies. The changes between the students' first proposal made with the typical conventional project methodology, and the following, after the action research and the users, students and tutors' reply, give a good account of the values and challenges of this methodology and enable design discipline self reflection.

Research-action critical social science Barcelona

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[1]  The critical theory was developed by philosophers from the Frankfurt School, such as T. Adorno, M. Horkeimer and H. Marcuse, in the mid-20th-century, concern for the growing power of influence of the positivist focus of science as an ideology on 20th century Society. Later this was extended and consolidated by the approaches of critical social science made by J. Habermas in several works, such as Conocimiento e interés (1982), Teoría y praxis (1997), Teoría de la acción comunicativa (1987). Generally, critical theory, as W. Carr and S. Kemmis (1988: 146) say, tends to “express a focus of theory that proposes the central mission of emancipating people from the domination of positivist thought through their own understandings and acts”.
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