Research Associate | Co-lead of Collaborative Action Research workstream

Dr James Henderson is working with What Works Scotland Co-director Nick Bland and the Aberdeenshire Community Planning Partnership – one of the four case study areas – on a collaborative action research initiative.

About James’ research interests

James has worked on social research, policy and communications work in the third sector since 2001, including working on:

  • participatory and action research projects on health and well-being, community care, and community regeneration in Craigmillar, Glasgow, Fife and more widely
  • research activities with the community sector to further understand the work of development trusts, community social enterprises, community housing associations and community-led health organisations – in particular through the Scottish Community Alliance and its member bodies
  • policy and practice-related research and communications work with the Built Environment Forum Scotland, greenspace scotland, Royal Town Planning Institute Scotland, and most recently the Scottish Association for Mental Health.

Recently, James has completed an ESRC-funded PhD at Heriot-Watt University’s Institute for Social Policy, Housing, Environment & Real Estate – supervised by Dr Chris McWilliams and Professor Angela  Hull – exploring community sector theory and practice, particularly through the role of community-led anchor organisations; drawing on theory from urban policy, community development and social enterprise; and undertaking qualitative, critical case-study research.

Given this diversity of experience and interests, What Works Scotland has an intuitive appeal for him with its emphasis on cross sector and inter-disciplinary working via research, policy and knowledge exchange projects; a significant opportunity for further exploration of ‘what works’ and why, how and what results.

James joined What Works Scotland in March 2015 and is based at the School of Health in Social Science at the University of Edinburgh.

What Works Scotland Publications

What Works Scotland blog posts

Other publications

This book explores how action research forms a valuable methodology for producing such collaborative knowledge and action. It outlines the recent uptake of action research in policy analysis and transition research and develops a distinct and novel approach that is both critical and relational. By sharing action research experiences in a variety of settings, the book seeks to explicate ambitions, challenges, and practices involved with fostering policy changes and sustainability transitions.

Co-authored with Claire Bynner

July 2018