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Journal Article

Action Research: Intertwining three exploratory processes to meet the competing demands of rigour and relevance  pp111-124

Gertjan Schuiling, Derk Jan Kiewiet

© Nov 2016 Volume 14 Issue 2, Editor: Ann Brown, pp71 - 167

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For decades, scholars have questioned whether it is possible to conduct research that is both relevant to practitioners and empirically sound. This is the very challenge faced by researchers at Dutch universities of applied sciences. In this paper we build on the findings of an action research project into the research practices of a Research Centre at a Dutch university of applied sciences. We found that action research (AR) works best when conceptualised as three intertwined processes: (1) a joint inquiry with practitioners aimed at improving their actions and reflections on their own practice; (2) a collaborative review with (representative) practitioners and management researchers aimed at conceptualising the issue and process of the joint inquiry; and (3) making a contribution to academic theory through a published paper building on theory related to the specific content and process of the inquiry. This paper will argue that this triple process structure can encompass the Lego AR project—one of the few published in a leading academic journal—as well as new conceptualisations of practice research (Goldkuhl, 2011, 2012) and meta‑action research (Fletcher et al., 2010). As such it can be of value for all researchers looking to balance the competing demands of rigour and relevance.


Keywords: practice-based research, practice research, action research, meta-action research, Triple Process Structure, process levels


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