Adjunct Professor Yoland Wadsworth is a member of the Centre for Applied Social Research.
Adjunct Professor Yoland Wadsworth is one of Australia’s pioneers in the use of integral and transformative social research and evaluation methodologies in health, human and community services, including the use of action research, dialogic, participatory and ‘whole systems’ inquiry.
She has recently completed a final methodology book about her transdisciplinary theory of inquiry as the dynamic for life and for health and human services formation and change in particular, entitled Building in Research and Evaluation: Human inquiry for living systems (Allen & Unwin, Sydney 2010; also internationally through Routledge, London 2011). The resources website for this book is LivingSystemsResearch.com
Yoland is also author of Australia’s best-selling research and evaluation texts – Do It Yourself Social Research and Everyday Evaluation on the Run (both 3e Allen & Unwin 2011, with over 50,000 copies; now also available internationally through Routledge, London 2011). She authored the influential Knox Project early childhood services community studies in the 1970s, and with Maggie McGuiness and Merinda Epstein the 1980s-1990s acute psychiatric services’ staff-consumer collaborative evaluation studies ‘Understanding, Anytime’, ‘U&I: Understanding and Involvement’ and The Essential U&I (VicHealth, 2001). She is also the chief investigator of the long-running narrative action evaluation (NEAR) project, a partnership of the Department of Health, North and West Metropolitan Region with RMIT University and the University of Melbourne.
Research expertise and interests
Cited below are the two key (2008) international journal publications from Yoland Wadsworth’s 2004 transdisciplinary ‘correspondence’ theory of inquiry (integrating living systems, epistemology, psychological type and sociological formation). The papers summarise this theoretical ‘mental architecture’ derived from 35 years’ applied research and evaluation.
Yoland’s other current research interest is the integrated use of narrative, evaluation and action research in community health promotion for the Department of Human Services in collaboration with Karen Goltz, and Ani Wierenga and Gai Wilson of the McCaughey Centre at the University of Melbourne (where she is also an honorary Research Fellow). Yoland also co-ordinates the Action Research Centre auspiced by ARIA Inc.
Past research experience substantive areas
Early childhood services; Family and community services; Community health; Mental health; Health Promotion; General hospitals; Medical, General Practice, Nursing, Allied health and specialist services; Community/consumer participation; Community/capacity building; Community arts/cultural development; Integrated service development; Quality improvement and innovation; Local, state and federal government; Community and self help groups, and Non government organisations.
Methods and techniques
Research and evaluation design; strategic question framing/sequencing; stakeholder participation and inquiry group formation; dialogue/multilogue; reflection and generative meaning-making; identifying implications for new practice, policies & procedures; action research and action learning facilitation; in-depth interviewing; participant/observation; questionnaire design; Memory work; Appreciative inquiry, Open Space Technology; Café of Possibilities, whole systems research and evaluation; use of MBTI® (accredited); research and evaluation train-the-trainer and meta-consultancy.
- BA, PhD Monash, FAES
- Advisory Committee – Systemic Practice and Action Research Journal (Springer)
- Advisory Board – Action Research Journal (Sage)
- Editorial Board – Action Research International (SCU) online journal
- Life member – Action Learning Action Research Association Inc
2016 – TASA Sociology in Action Award for outstanding contribution to sociological practice in Australia outside academe
2014 – Invited public presentation, Cornell University Ithaca NY USA
2013 – Faculty Partner, Relational Coordination Research Collaboration, The Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University, Massachusetts USA
2012 – Citation from American Education Research Association QualResSIG for runner up for Outstanding Book of the Year Award for Building in Research and Evaluation: Human Inquiry for Living Systems. See LivingSystemsResearch.com
2008 – Life member, Action Learning Action Research Association (ALARA)
2007 – Elected a Fellow of the Australasian Evaluation Society (FAES)
2007 – Co-recipient of the AES National Evaluation Policy and Systems Award for the NEAR Integrated Health Promotion Organisational Evaluation Capacity Building Initiative with the Department of Human Services and the University of Melbourne
2001-2003 – President of the international Action Learning, Action Research & Process Management Association (ALARPM)
1996 – Recipient of the Australasian Evaluation Society's ET&S Award for an outstanding career contribution to evaluation in Australia
1995 – Co-recipient of the Australasian Evaluation Society's Caulley-Tulloch Prize for Pioneering Evaluation Literature for the publications associated with the ‘Understanding, Anytime’ and ‘Understanding & Involvement: Consumer Evaluation of Acute Psychiatric Hospital Practice’ projects
1995 – Co-recipient of the Australia and New Zealand Mental Health Services Gold award for a Partnerships project for the U&I projects with the Royal Melbourne Hospital and Victorian Department of Human Services
1995 – Churchill Fellow
- Wadsworth, Y. (2015). Shared Inquiry capabilities and differing inquiry preferences: Navigating 'full cycle' iterations of action research In: The SAGE Handbook of Action Research, SAGE Publications Limited, London, United Kingdom
- Wadsworth, Y. (2010). Building in research and evaluation: Human enquiry for living systems, Allen and Unwin, Australia
- Wadsworth, Y. (2008). Action research for living human systems In: Towards Quality Improvement of Action Research: Developing Ethics and Standards, Sense Publishers, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
- Wadsworth, Y. (2008). Systemic human relations in dynamic equilibrium In: Systemic Practice and Action Research, 21, 15 - 34
- Wadsworth, Y. (2008). Is it safe to talk about systems again yet? Self organ-ising processes for complex living systems and the dynamics of human inquiry In: Systemic Practice and Action Research, 21, 153 - 170