Knowledge through a Collaborative Network: A Cross-Cultural Partnership

From Section:
Research Methods
New Zealand
Dec. 01, 2010

Source: Educational Action Research, Vol. 18, No. 4, December 2010, 453–466.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)


This article uses Campbell and Fulford's framework to examine links between research and practice in a collaborative cross-cultural partnership.
Campbell and Fulford (2009) identify six forms and stages of knowledge development related to research use: generation of new knowledge; mobilisation; contextualisation; adaptation; application; and integration. Their work describes strategies adopted by the Ontario Ministry of Education in Canada as it strove to incorporate research findings into policy development.

This article attempts to develop a greater understanding of how knowledge mobilisation can take place when partners are from different cultures, when much communication has to take place through unreliable information and communication technologies, and when partners meet at intervals only.

Case study of collaborative knowledge mobilization

The partnership between the School of Education at the Solomon Islands College of Higher Education (SICHE) and the University of Waikato was inaugurated in 2006 under the auspices of New Zealand Agency for International Development (NZAID).
The Solomon Islands Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development (MEHRD) mandated that the School of Education at SICHE prepare and deliver a programme for over 2000 untrained teachers.


The Solomon Islands teacher educators were a middle class that has moved to Honiara and city life, and who return to their local villages and families about once a year in many cases. Their educational experiences include time in tertiary education, often overseas. But they are still constrained by the meagre resources available to them and to teachers in schools. They lack basic equipment like cupboards and filing cabinets, books and library items.

The New Zealand members of the team brought new educational theories about interactive teaching, formative assessment, the importance of classroom relationships, and the importance of developing enquiry rather than memorising content. They also brought decades of experiences of endeavouring to work in New Zealand in ways that honoured the Treaty of Waitangi.


Close professional working relationships were established between teams in each of the different curriculum areas: English, mathematics, science, social studies, and later, technology and the arts.


The authors claim that Campbell and Fulford have provided a useful framework against which to reflect and assess the knowledge mobilisation and animation that has taken place as a result of the Partnership over the past three and a half years.
In practice, both partners struggle to understand the perspective of the other.
Over the course of this Partnership, new knowledge has been generated in working together, greater understanding of practice achieved, and possibilities for further enquiry revealed.

The article suggests that knowledge mobilisation may be a necessary precursor to knowledge generation in this form of collaborative action, that contextualisation is a precursor of new knowledge and that knowledge is generated at a number of stages throughout the process.

Campbell, C., and D. Fulford. 2009. From knowledge generation to knowledge integration:
Analysis of how a government uses research
. Paper presented at the AERA Conference, April, in San Diego, CA.

Updated: Jan. 17, 2017
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