Action Research Dissertations: The Research Question and the Process

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One of my doctoral students who is working on an action research dissertation asks: "Since Action-Research (AR) is longer and results in future practices, etc....am I NOT to resolve my research question?" Good question! This article will discuss the ramifications of action research principles when applied to dissertation methodology and the tension that many doctoral students feel when using AR for their dissertations. It will conclude with a discussion about how these subtleties lead to the answer to this question.

Most universities have built their doctoral program on the assumption that their students will be doing positivistic research. By that, I mean that they assume the student will write a three chapter proposal, defend the proposal and go through the IRB, take a short period of time to collect data and then an equivalent period of time to analyze while writing the findings and discussion chapters. Therefore, the student who asked this question will feel some tension as she works a three-step action research process in the midst of this linear course design.

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