This paper will examine the burgeoning of practitioner inquiry in Australia against the background of the notion of action research as an emancipatory project. This requires that the work move beyond a utilitarian function, important is that may be in terms of enhancing practice, and develops a greater capacity to critique underlying policies. It will argue that if those engaged in practitioner inquiry, and those who support and sponsor them, are to move beyond a celebratory mode then it is critical that a set of criteria are developed that may be used to govern quality; both the quality of the research and the quality of the policies at the local and state levels. The case will be made for developing such a platform founded upon principles of ethicality in the interests of all stakeholders and a broader and better informed notion of evidence based practice. The discussion will clearly have implications for policy and practice.