Reflections for postgraduate students on writing an action research thesis


  • Steve Wayne Smith


action research, validity, sensemaking, action reflection, tacit knowledge


The prospect of conducting action research as part of formal academic study can seem quite daunting for many. The academy, often dominated by a positivist approach, does not always appreciate the value and quality of research that is qualitative, action-oriented and involves participants as co-inquirers.

In this article, the concept of ‘messiness’ in action research is introduced and the author shares seven insights gleaned through the process of writing two doctoral theses in different institutions using participatory action research. The intent is to share this knowledge in the hope it may be useful to other researchers starting their learning journey.