The role of action research in my autoethnographical transition from the natural sciences to scholarship in education


  • Nadine Lida Broodryk University of Pretoria
  • Johannes A. Slabbert


Personal development, transition, natural sciences, education science, PhD scholarship, maximising potential


Having graduated with a Master’s degree in Natural Sciences, the educational aspects that I engaged in during my studies seemed to have ignited my latent affinity for education, which prompted me to pursue a scholarship in education. Fortunately, I did not have to choose between the two disciplines but could merge the Natural Sciences into the field of education. However, I obtained my entrance to the field of education through enrolling for a Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education (PGCHE).

This qualification assumes that I am engaged in a professional education practice which I could comply with when I became a Life Sciences teacher-educator for postgraduate student-teachers. Obtaining the PGCHE qualification revolved around the continuing improvement and/or innovation of my education practice through a comprehensive action research project.

From the onset it became clear that being a good scientist does not mean that one is a good educator. Through this action research project I quickly learned that it is not only the improvement of my professional education practice that is under scrutiny, but, since learning is personal and fundamentally holistic in nature, my personal development is also under investigation. This also provided the impetus to extend my action research project into my proposed autoethnographic PhD scholarship.

I was surprised by how the simplistic cyclic conception of action research could be transformed to support a complex endeavour of cycles and spirals in which personal development of the highest order to maximise one’s potential (being not only central but also an ethical imperative in education) could so effectively be fulfilled through action research.

Author Biography

Nadine Lida Broodryk, University of Pretoria

PhD Student 

Department of Humanities Education