This paper describes an approach to developing and formatting research findings with the aim of making those findings easily understood within the wider “lay” community to encourage take-up and action. It is of value to researchers seeking to extend their findings beyond the immediate research participants and the academic literature. There are similarities with action research, but with an intended wider potential audience. The approach formats research findings as “instructive advices” able to be used by others beyond the research, drawing on similar work first developed in the field of architecture—wherein they are referred to as “patterns.” This is the second of a pair of papers published in The Qualitative Report describing the use of this approach in a particular research project. The first paper described a purpose-designed tool developed to obtain and structure the research data via interviews with the research participants. This second paper describes the subsequent conversion of this data into these instructive advice “patterns.” This involved a workshop where the research participants themselves wrote a set of such patterns based on a theme from their earlier interviews. Because the process was unfamiliar, it was found the participants could not fully complete the intended work. This paper also explains the revised process then adopted and includes a reflective review of its efficacy to assist use by others.


Pattern, Pattern Language, Collaborative Research, Action Research, Research Implementation

Author Bio(s)

Greg Paine PhD. is an environmental planner with extensive experience in local government. His research sought to translate the “whole” of sustainable development into actions manageable at local and personal levels. Currently he works with the Healthy Built Environments Program at the City Futures Research Centre, The University of New South Wales, Australia. Meanwhile his work on pattern is being developed into a book manuscript and a forthcoming interactive website www.revealingpattern.com

Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: Greg Paine at, gregory.paine@bigpond.com.


The assistance to this research of a Hawkesbury Postgraduate Research Award through the Centre for Research in Healthy Futures at the University of Western Sydney, the supervision by Emeritus Professor Valerie A. Brown, and the active contributions of the research participants is gratefully acknowledged. Particular appreciation is also expressed to Dr. Susan Thompson of The University of New South Wales and Jeremy Dawkins of the University of Technology Sydney as supervisors for the research, and to Barbara Doran of the University of Western Sydney, all of whom, amongst others, gave comment on the draft Patterns.

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