The purpose of this action research study was to critically examine the use of action research as a mechanism to enhance graduate students’ development as emerging qualitative researchers. Although action research has been recognized as an effective means of transforming teaching practices, studies examining its use among graduate students learning to become qualitative researchers are lacking. Participants profiled in this study include two graduate students and one teacher educator. The context of the study was a graduate level course on action research where all three participants identified starting points, employed distinct action strategies, engaged in sustained, critical reflection, and developed metaphors representing their living educational theories of their practice. Results from this study indicate that each participant gained a deeper self-awareness and understanding of enacting qualitative research and furthermore, recognized action research as a powerful humanizing agent.


Action Research Methodology, Humanization, Qualitative Research

Author Bio(s)

Jeffrey Radloff is both a graduate student and research assistant in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at Purdue University. His research interests focus on teaching nature of science using culturally responsive pedagogy, and more broadly on issues surrounding the sociocultural embeddedness of science. He holds a B.S. and M.S. in Biology specializing in Ecology and Evolution. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: jradloff@purdue.edu.

Cole Joslyn is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. His research interests focus on emancipatory learning, critical pedagogy, humanistic education, contemplation and mindfulness, and spirituality particularly for humanizing engineering education and shaping engineering as a socially just profession in service to humanity. He holds a B.S. in Industrial Engineering and a M.Ed. specializing in mathematics education. Cole has worked as an engineer in the manufacturing industry, a pastor in full-time ministry, and a high school math teacher. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: joslyn@purdue.edu.

Dr. Brenda Capobianco is a Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and holds a courtesy appointment in the School of Engineering Education and an affiliated appointment in Women's Studies at Purdue University. Dr. Capobianco is the Co-Director for the Science Learning through Engineering Design (SLED) Partnership. Her research interests include girls' participation in science and engineering; teacher's engagement in action research; and science teachers' integration of the engineering design process to improve science learning. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: bcapo@purdue.edu.


Jeffrey would like to thank Drs. Selcen Guzey and Stephanie Zywicki for their assistance and consideration throughout the progress of this work. They were not only receptive to offering rich data and feedback, but also provided deeply influential support and mentoring towards becoming a proficient qualitative researcher.

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