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Appreciative Inquiry

This seems like as much as a tool for social innovation as a research method. The basic idea is to induce change not by solving a problem, but by celebrating the individuals, organizations and components of any context that re or can be harnessed to improve things.  Seems linked to Critical theory, only without the criticism!

From Wikipedia:

According to Gervase R. Bushe[1] (2013) "Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is a method for studying and changing social systems (groups, organizations, communities) that advocates collective inquiry into the best of what is in order to imagine what could be, followed by collective design of a desired future state that is compelling and thus, does not require the use of incentives, coercion or persuasion for planned change to occur."

Cooperrider, D. L., & Srivastva, S. (1987). Appreciative inquiry in organizational life. Research in organizational change and development, 1(1), 129-169. 


  • Jason Openo January 18, 2016 - 12:54pm

    Hi Terry,

    I had the good fortune to present Medicine Hat College's experience with Appreciative Inquiry at the inaugural Appreciative Education Conference in Myrtle Beach, SC last January. I was excited to see your post on AI, as well as Marti's IRRODL article on Appreciative Leadership. I am facilitating a strategic planning session using AI this weekend at Medalta, a true gem in Southern Alberta. In short, I am a fan of AI and an AI practitioner. I have thought about keeping AI on the shelf and maybe it would play a peripheral role in research, but I am interested in perhaps making it more central. I am interested in assessment (the best aspects of assessment), such as keeping students motivated and creating postive learning enviromnents, perhaps through appreciative feedback. Any other ideas or suggestions of where you think this could be directly applied?

    Thank you,


  • Deborah Bird February 1, 2020 - 11:08pm

    Hi Dr. Anderson,

    Seems like Adlerian psych., except without the identifying the obstacles. Laughing Do you have any links to more info? Thx.