This book has grown out of my belief that researchers must develop practice while also conducting research on it. Having used cultural historical activity theory (CHAT) as a theoretical framework in several research projects in school, I have found that this theory has both a theoretical foundation and well-developed models that are good tools for collective change processes. In Norway, development and research are commonly combined as evidenced by the term R&D work. In CHAT, as development comes first, the proper term for the concept is development work research (DWR). In my opinion this is the more correct term, as research is carried out on processes that are actively taking place and on development processes that have been implemented. In DWR the researcher collaborates with practitioners, in school this would be teachers and leaders, to develop areas practitioners feel are in need of improvement. Theory, represented by the researcher, and practice can then be combined in DWR, a combination that has been a challenge in change and development processes in school. The researcher could be a person coming to the school, or a teacher or leader in school could guide and conduct DWR. When teachers and leaders are working on a Master’s degree and conducting both research and DWR in their own and possibly other schools to collect data and develop knowledge, they can create knowledge-based development processes and useful knowledge can be developed on an on-going basis.
However, little has been written about the methodological approaches that can be applied when CHAT is the framework for research. I examine how research and development may be combined in Chapter 2. The methodology that is chosen will depends on the research questions asked. CHAT provides direction and the framework for collective development, but the motivation lies in the object. This means that the launch of the project is important as everyone must understand what the aim is and thus find the motivation to take part in the initiated processes. My wish is that CHAT and its models will be able to contribute to the development processes we want to see in school, which in turn will promote the pupils’ learning outcome.