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The Action Research Dissertation
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The Action Research Dissertation
A Guide for Students and Faculty

Second Edition


May 2014 | 216 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
The first edition of this book was a first-of-its-kind reference, distilling the authors’ decades of action research experience into a handy guide for graduate students. The Second Edition continues to provide an accessible roadmap that honors the complexity of action research, while providing an overview of how action research is defined, its traditions and history, and the rationale for using it. The authors demonstrate that action research is not only appropriate for a dissertation, but also is a deeply rewarding experience for both the researcher and participants. This practical book demonstrates how action research dissertations are different from more traditional dissertations and prepares students and their committees for the unique dilemmas they may face, such as validity, positionality, design, write-up, ethics, and dissertation defense.

 
Foreword
 
Preface
 
Acknowledgments
 
About the Authors
 
1. Introduction: What Is an Action Research Dissertation?
The Many Faces of Action Research

 
Toward a Definition of Action Research

 
The Action Research Dissertation

 
 
2. Action Research Traditions and Knowledge Interests
The Multiple Traditions of Action Research

 
Action Research and Organizational Development/Learning

 
Action Science

 
Participatory Research: The Legacy of Paulo Freire

 
Participatory Evaluation

 
Action Research and Community Psychology

 
Action Research in Education

 
The Teacher-as-Researcher Movement in Britain

 
The Practitioner Research Movement in North America

 
The Danger of Co-Optation

 
Participatory Action Research with Youth: YPAR

 
Action Research as Narrative: Self-Study and Autoethnography

 
Arts-Based Approaches to Action Research

 
Feminist, Post-Colonial, and Antiracist Approaches to Action Research

 
The Knowledge Interests of Action Research

 
Notes

 
 
3. The Continuum of Positionality in Action Research
Insider: Researcher Studies Own Self/Practice

 
Insider in Collaboration With Other Insiders

 
Insider(s) in Collaboration With Outsider(s)

 
PAR: Reciprocal Collaboration (Insider-Outsider Teams)

 
PAR: Outsider(s) in Collaboration With Insider(s)

 
Outsider(s) Studies Insider(s)

 
Multiple Positionalities

 
The Outsider-Within Stance as a Flawed Approach to Action Research

 
Conclusion

 
Note

 
 
4. Quality Criteria for Action Research: An Ongoing Conversation
Delegitimizing Action Research: Opposition in the Academy

 
Redefining Rigor: Criteria of Quality for Action Research

 
Reason and Bradbury’s Discussion of Validity and Choice Points

 
Addressing Bias in Action Research

 
Are the Findings of Action Research Generalizable?

 
The Politics of Action Research

 
Institutional Micropolitics

 
The Politics of Redefining Professionalism

 
The Politics of Knowledge

 
The Macropolitics of Action Research Projects

 
Note

 
 
5. Designing the Plane While Flying it: Proposing and Doing the Dissertation
Possibilities of a Pilot Study

 
The Dissertation Proposal

 
Introducing the Proposed Inquiry

 
Situating the Study in Relevant Literature

 
Methodological Considerations

 
Data Analysis and Representation

 
Where Do Action Research Questions Come From?

 
Insider Action Research

 
Outsider Action Research

 
Issues of Design and Methodology

 
Designing Insider Action Research

 
Designing Outsider Action Research

 
The Literature Review: Literature in Dialogue With the Data

 
Writing the Dissertation

 
Defending the Dissertation

 
 
6. What Does an Action Research Dissertation Look Like?
Lynne Mock: Carving a Dissertation Out of a PAR Project

 
The Entry Process

 
Creating Participatory Structures

 
Writing the Dissertation

 
Emphasizing the Strengths of Action Research

 
Researcher-Initiated PAR Studies

 
Initiating the PAR Study

 
The Emergent Design of the PAR Process

 
Collaborative Data Analysis

 
Disseminating the Results: Multiple Forms of Representation and Audiences

 
John Mark Dyke: Insider Action Research

 
First Phase of the Work

 
Iterative Cycles of Inquiry

 
The Dissertation Research

 
Gary W. Street: A Principal Cultivating Action Research

 
Conclusion

 
Note

 
 
7. Ethical Considerations and Action Research
Working with Institutional Review Process

 
Ethics in Practice

 
Authentic Collaboration

 
Learning to Be Researchers

 
Who’s the Writing For?

 
Moving Beyond Do No Harm

 
 
8. Final Thoughts
 
References
 
Index

Great text that introduces doctoral students to action research in relation to dissertation projects.

Dr Delores E McNair
Educational Admn & Leadership, University Of The Pacific
November 16, 2018

Recommended for any student or practitioner involved in research. Clearly set out and easy to follow. Used by all my dissertation students and for my own practice.

Mrs Ros Steward
Department of Education, University of the West Of England
June 25, 2015

A superb book to guide dissertation students as they undertake their action research.

Ms Shan Ashton
Lifelong Learning, Bangor University
April 21, 2015

Supports students to study the different approaches within action research; exploring their own practice and that of others. (This publication has been recommended to both our Early Childhood Studies and Education in Lifelong Learning Degree programmes)

Miss Tracey Canham
Health Care And Early Years, Swindon College
October 19, 2014

This book supports the students in the developmental stages of their research ideas and planning of their action research projects. It has also supported ongoing professional discussions between tutors and students.

Ms Linda Leith
Department of Professional Development, Canterbury Christ Church University
October 17, 2014
Key features
 NEW TO THIS EDITION:

 

  • New sections in Chapter 1 reflect the changes and ongoing development in the field of action research, such as youth participatory action research and the emerging area of arts-based approaches to action research.
  • A restructured Chapter 5 offers a substantive new introduction, expanded coverage of the proposal and proposal writing, and incorporates narratives from current dissertations to showcase the real world of dissertation writing.
  • Chapter 6 includes a new composite illustration of PAR dissertations and adds a completely new case example that reflects the recent dramatic growth of EdD programs with part-time students.
  • An all-new Chapter 7 is loosely structured around Guillemin & Gillam’s work that distinguishes between “procedural ethics” and “ethics in action,” and covers the ethical issues commonly encountered in action research.

KEY FEATURES:

  • The text provides an interdisciplinary and thorough review of action research for graduate students.
  • Case Examples and narratives from current dissertations highlight the real world of dissertation writing.
  • Detailed tables offer comparisons of action research and other qualitative techniques, as well as different approaches to action research.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 3


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