Language as a decisive factor for Action Research: Reflections on challenges encountered in an action research project and the centrality of language, dialogue, and conceptualisation to overcoming such challenges

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Abstract

The purpose of this article is to address the methodological implications related to the use of Action research based on my experiences from an Action Research project at the Danish higher Technical examination programme and further challenge the methodological discussion by pointing to the importance of having a focus on language when doing an Action research project in any organisation.
Doing the Action Research project at the Danish higher technical examination programme I used several different methods, mainly observations in classrooms and interviews with teachers and students, to gain a deeper insight into the HTX community and more specifically the Technology subject.
In terms of the role of an action researcher, I identified seven challenges which I encountered in the process of conducting such research over time related to the initial desire to create change, initial distrust, use of language, relationship building, power dynamics, vulnerability, and participant selection/ attraction/ retention. I have argued, and provided some empirical evidence in support of this argument, that language, dialogue, and conceptualisation are key to meeting and overcoming such challenges. It is further argued, the main methodological contribution of the article, that Nørreklit’s (1973) philosophically grounded ‘conceptualising method’ provided not only guidance to meeting such challenges but that it also provided the dialogic pathway to finding reasonably sustainable solutions to the real research.
Translated title of the contributionSprog som en afgørende faktor for Aktionsforskning : Reflektioner over udfordringer, jeg er stødt på i et aktionsundersøgelsesprojekt, og centraliteten i sprog, dialog og konceptualisering til at overvinde sådanne udfordringer
Original languageEnglish
JournalQualitative Research in Organizations and Management
Number of pages17
ISSN1746-5648
Publication statusSubmitted - 20 Dec 2019

Keywords

  • Action research
  • challenges in action research
  • language
  • conceptualising method
  • Danish higher technical examination programme (HTX)
  • reflection on role
  • technology teaching

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