Graduate students commonly experience isolation and estrangement when conducting their final research projects, which can contribute to difficulties in completion. A creative and socially beneficial way to offset academic isolation is for graduate students to engage in participatory and action-oriented research projects with local communities. Facilitating a research study with a local partner can be a richly rewarding experience. This article argues that students who enjoy working in collaborative environments and want their final research projects to lead to beneficial social change can find fulfillment in action research (AR) methodologies. Critiqued by some for its lack of tangible and practical methods and its over-reliance on ideology, others, including the author, argue that the benefits of participatory research far outweigh the challenges.
Action Research, Participatory Research, Community-Engaged Research, Graduate Student, Dissertation
Funding: The author gratefully acknowledges the support of the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, the Peterborough KM Hunter Fellowship, the Helena Orton Memorial Scholarship, the W. Jean Fewster Scholarship, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
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Recommended APA Citation
van der Meulen, E. (2011). Participatory and Action-Oriented Dissertations: The Challenges and Importance of Community-Engaged Graduate Research. The Qualitative Report, 16(5), 1291-1303. Retrieved from https://nsuworks.nova.edu/tqr/vol16/iss5/5