Chapter Summary

This chapter is primarily about writing an action research dissertation but it also discusses writing for publication.

A dissertation is an academic document and therefore needs to conform to academic requirements around justification of topic and approach, description and defence of rigour in methodology and methods of inquiry, familiarity with existing content and process literature and contribution to knowledge. An action research dissertation is no different, though its presentation and argument differ from traditional presentations.

Practices describing action research dissertations typically suggest that it be structured to deal with: purpose and rationale of the research, the context, methodology and methods of inquiry, the story of what happened and outcomes, reflection on the story in the light of the experience and the theory and extrapolation to a broader context and articulation of practical knowledge. There would also be self-reflection and learning of the action researcher.

Whatever the outlet to which a piece of action research writing is directed and whatever form is adopted, some key features are necessary. These are: describing the context, thereby fitting the purpose and intended value of the action research into its practical and theoretical context; telling the story; making sense of it; showing how a rigorous methodology was applied; sense making directed toward the generation of useful knowledge which must produce outcomes which are of value to others – useful for practice and robust for scholars.