Academic integrity in action research

June 25, 2015

This article offers an explanation for how academic integrity can be achieved in action research (AR). The academic integrity of AR depends on both 1) relevance (the ability to solve pertinent problems) and 2) rigor (the ability to rigorously scrutinize the experiences from the field engagement in order to communicate research-based findings). Thus, the essence of building academic integrity into AR is the researcher’s ability to create a necessary distance between the involvement in a change process and the reflexive process that aims at explaining the phenomenon. Action researchers can develop this ability through appropriate training, which the author names “Bildung”. This “Bildung” training process involves mastering relevant scientific knowledge, strategic and political skills, and the ability to run participative processes, reflect on ethical challenges in the research process, and write up AR in such a way that it contributes to the social science discourse. The author then describes five concrete factors that build integrity into the practice of AR: research partnering, researcher’s awareness of own biases, standardized methods, alternative explanations, and trustworthiness.

Levin, M. (2012). Academic integrity in action research. Action Research, 10(2), 133-149. Full Text.

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