Structure Of An Action Research Dissertations

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I have recently been involved in a five-year action research project in a Queensland primary school. I initially developed a format for the thesis and commenced the task of writing up the study, based on the accepted sequence, and academic norm, of literature review, methodology, research design, findings and conclusions. However, the cyclical and evolving nature of action research meant that new areas of literature were constantly added to the research process, new data kept on being generated, and new meanings and additional lines of inquiry were regularly suggested. These shifts and changes complicated the conduct of the research and made the process of writing a report particularly challenging. After much anxiety and considerable experimentation, I resolved the problem of ‘fit’ between action research and the traditional thesis format by creating an alternative structure which better reflects the nature of the study. This paper outlines this alternative and discusses its purpose.

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