The Researcher-Participant Relationship in Action Research: A Case Study Involving Australian Project Managers

International Association of Technology, Education and Development (IATED)
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
ICERI2013 Proceedings, 2013, pp. 6042 - 6049
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The leading question which will be explored in this paper is how does an action researcher determine what is required from their informants to meet the research brief, and once identified and engaged, how to develop appropriate relationships to ensure the quality of the research outcomes. This question will be explored through examining a recent action research project which was aimed at identifying how project managers in Australia share knowledge while managing projects. The way in which knowledge is acquired and exchanged when managing projects was undertaken using a four-staged action research cycle that involved regular interventions in the project manager's workplace. The interventions involved the researcher conducting one-on-one convergent interviews followed by individual observation days. During these interventions the role of the research informant evolved from being an informant to taking on the role of a research partner. This evolution is evident as the research informants were invited to participate in a final intervention. This intervention was framed as a Focus Group meeting where a review was undertaken into how a tool developed by the researcher to facilitate knowledge exchange was implemented by the research partners. Throughout the action research cycles the research informant was required to complete a reflective journal to capture lessons that were learnt during the research. One of the outcomes of this paper will be an increased awareness of the relationship between a researcher and their informants, and how this role may evolve as demonstrated through an action research project.
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