We propose a methodological framework for developing and communicating academic knowledge relevant for practice: the dialogical model. This model of engaged scholarship comprises five activities: specifying a research question, elaborating local knowledge, developing conceptual knowledge, communicating knowledge, and activating knowledge. The current article focuses on the early stage of research question design and presents the epistemological framework in which the model was initially developed. It also offers guidance on how to maintain academic value and practical relevance in tension throughout the research process. Examples illustrate how to construct research questions relevant both for academia and practice, and how to justify validity in pragmatic constructivism. This model can likewise be mobilized in other epistemological frameworks, particularly for knowledge generation purposes. It enriches the researchers’ methodological toolbox by adding a new procedural tool that provides valuable guidelines from the very start of research projects. Relevance: The first part of this article is dedicated to presenting and discussing what internal validity, external validity, and reliability mean specifically in pragmatic constructivism, which is another name for radical constructivism. This naming is consistent with the radical constructivist view of the relationship between knowledge and action, and has the advantage of being free from all the misinterpretations associated with the term “radical.”
This paper offers practical guidance for collaboratively developing academic knowledge in interaction with professional practitioners in various fields such as management, education, communication, social work, etc., and rigorously justifying it in the epistemological framework of “pragmatic constructivism.” The knowledge elaborated has the further property of being considered by practitioners as relevant for the professional practice considered. The guidance offered in the paper holds more specifically for research done in the so-called “dialogical model” of doing collaborative research. This model of engaged scholarship comprises five broad activities: specifying a research question, elaborating local knowledge, developing conceptual knowledge, communicating knowledge, and activating knowledge. The paper finely explains how to carry out these activities in practice and provides numerous illustrations of examples stemming from a completed research project. Relevance: It offers practical guidance on ways to rigorously conduct a collaborative research project (with practitioners) and justify the research process carried out and the results obtained, in the epistemological framework of radical constructivism.