Standard approaches to research tend to assume that the researcher is a judging observer, standing outside the field of action, authorised to make claims and assessments about the activity of others.

However, Ground Up understands researchers, and other involved participants, as all caught up in the collective action within which both perceived problems – and possible solutions – come to emerge. We see such work as generative, with outcomes taking the form of changed practices and improved collective understandings.

Working with this approach means that we are unlikely to mobilise large data sets which generalise findings across space (e.g. a national survey) or time (e.g. longitudinal studies), and so do not seek to offer recommendations at these scales. The evidence we mobilise tends to take the form of stories which are gathered within the research process and collaboratively interpreted.

When taken seriously, insights arising in these interpretations can reconfigure and potentially radically improve intercultural engagements and organisational capacities, first at the local level, but also within the community or the institution.

The local and contingent nature of Ground Up work means that it does not consist of a set of methods which can be codified, taught or transferred. We see this as both a strength and a limitation.