Aim: To examine and critique how the phases of the 4D cycle (Discovery, Dream, Design, and Destiny) of appreciative inquiry are implemented in a healthcare context.
Background: Appreciative inquiry is a theoretical research perspective, an emerging research methodology and a world view that builds on action research, organizational learning, and organizational change. Increasing numbers of articles published provide insights and learning into its theoretical and philosophical underpinnings. Many articles describe appreciative inquiry and the outcomes of their studies; however, there is a gap in the literature examining the approaches commonly used to implement the 4D cycle in a healthcare context.
Design: A methodological review following systematic principles.
Data sources: A methodological review was conducted including articles from the inception of appreciative inquiry in 1986 to the time of writing this review in November, 2011. Key database searches included CINAHL, Emerald, MEDLINE, PubMed, PsycINFO, and Scopus.
Review methods: A methodological review following systematic principles was undertaken. Studies were included if they described in detail the methods used to implement the 4D cycle of appreciative inquiry in a healthcare context.
Results: Nine qualitative studies met the inclusion criteria. Results highlighted that appreciative inquiry application is unique and varied between studies. The 4D phases were not rigid steps and were adapted to the setting and participants.
Conclusion: Overall, participant enthusiasm and commitment were highlighted suggesting appreciative inquiry was mostly positively perceived by participants. Appreciative inquiry provides a positive way forward shifting from problems to solutions offering a new way of practicing in health care and health research.
© 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.