De-romanticising dialogue in collaborative health care research: a critical, reflexive approach to tensions in an action research project's initial phase

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Louise Phillips *
Birgitte Ravn Olesen
Michael Scheffmann-Petersen
Helle Merete Nordentoft
(*) Corresponding Author:
Louise Phillips |


In the current socio-political conjuncture, collaborative, dialogic forms of knowledge production abound and are idealised as democratic and inclusive. The aim of the article is to contribute to the body of critical, reflexive analyses of collaborative research by analysing how complex dynamics of exclusion as well as inclusion create tensions in researchers’ attempts to establish collaborative relations in the initial phase of an action research project. The analysis applies a framework combining Bakhtinian dialogic communication theory and Foucauldian theory to explore inclusion and exclusion in the tensional interplay of multiple voices whereby certain voices dominate. Finally, the article offers a typology of ideal types of collaborative research relations that can be used in the initial research phase as a platform for reflexive discussion between researchers and potential collaborative partners about their respective understandings of collaboration and dialogue and corresponding expectations about the research process and results.

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