A Primer to Critical Systems Heuristics for Action Researchers

Werner Ulrich
01 May 1996

[Free to download]   Critical Heuristics uses a conceptual framework that consists, among other things, of a set of twelve basic types of boundary judgements. They can be put together in the form of a checklist of twelve boundary questions. Each question refers to a basic boundary concept or 'category'. One such category, for example, is the 'client'; it refers to the group of people who are to benefit from a plan, the people whom the plan is to serve in the first place. Other possible terms would be 'beneficiaries', or 'people in need', or whatever. The terms I use are not important and should not cause irritation because of a certain 'consultancy ring', or for any other reason, e.g. because they might be used differently in Action  Research. What matters is their underlying intent, i.e., the issues that they are meant to address. Dependent on the application, you can choose your own terms – so long as these terms serve to remind you of the intent of the twelve boundary questions.