This article is a short reflection of The Action Research Podcast episode 16 with Dr. Deborah L Schussler, where we talk about how different methodological approaches relate to action research. I reflect on this episode from three different lenses: co-host, action researcher, and podcast listener.
The Action Research Podcast is a recurring (iterative) podcast meant to bring action research theory and practice to life for our listeners. In each episode, co-hosts Adam and Joe bring influential and entertaining guests on to the podcast to talk about all things action research. Listeners can expect to hear a mix of pedagogy, voices from the field, and hopefully a bit of humor in each episode.
A Reflection from the Action Research Podcast
When I listen to the Action Research Podcast, I interpret each episode through various lenses. For instance, I listen as a co-host of my own podcast, an action researcher writing my dissertation, and an avid podcast listener in general. I just listened to episode 16 with Dr. Deborah L Schussler titled Methods, Methodologies, and Action Research and want to reflect on and share some of my major takeaways through each of these aforementioned lenses. As co-host, this episode exemplified how we (Joe and I) are improving in engaging our guests and creating the dialogical learning that we aspire for. We were able to stay on course with respect to the topic at hand, while also incorporating action research specific discussions into a broader discussion about research methodology (I believe Dr. Deborah Schussler considers herself more of an overall research methodologist rather than a specific action researcher). Some examples of how we incorporated action research concepts into a larger discussion on research paradigms and methodologies included the role of collaboration, triangulation, the purpose of research and how it could/should be used, sample sizes, and bias. These discussions should appeal to a large audience, including faculty teaching research methods, graduate students, practitioners, and policy makers.
I also had some major takeaways as a graduate student writing an action research dissertation. I think the greatest takeaway for me had to do with our discussion on what makes research rigorous. Deb’s response was so straightforward and logical and it really resonated with me. I am paraphrasing here, but in response to what makes research rigorous she said something along the lines of, “Definitely being very clear about the methods that were selected and the steps that went into how that decision was made.” Research is tricky, and especially in action research, it has a way of taking on a life of its own. Deb’s response to this question really left me thinking about how and why I am choosing action research as my methodology and participatory evaluation as the primary method for my dissertation. I personally know why I made those decisions, but I am not sure how clearly I expressed that to my reader audience in the methodology section. Now, it seems worthwhile to go back and give it a second glance.
Finally, as a podcast listener, I couldn’t help but notice how the Action Research Podcast is starting to sound like an actual, professional podcast – one that I would probably listen to even if I weren’t the host! Joe and I are really starting to find a rhythm as co-hosts and I am beginning to see how each of our unique skill sets as interviewers and action researchers complement the other’s. Additionally, our production team Vanessa Gold and Shikha Diwakar have done an amazing job with the post-production editing. The sound bites, narration, background music, and transcription edits are improving with each episode. We have certainly come a long way from episode 1 where it was just Joe and I trying to figure out how to make a podcast! I am looking forward to seeing how the podcast continues to develop and improve.
To conclude this reflection, here are some of my additional takeaways from the episode: Don’t be scared of quantitative data; Think of an action research audience as policy makers as much as, if not more than, other scholars; Do not mention what research method I am using without including the steps that went into making that decision; The academic and action research community need to get creative or be more open about ways to bridge academic research and public policy creation. Thanks so much for reading this reflection and I hope you listen to and subscribe to the Action Research Podcast. Here is a link to the specific episode with Dr. Deborah L Schussler, which is the episode I am reflecting on in this article.
You can find all other episodes of the Action Research Podcast on most podcast distribution platforms including Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-action-research-podcast/id1530092194 and Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/39sxHbkR3a9MPH4edhERum?si=gPD9rnCXRJOc-f6BBH8YzA
To cite this work, please use the following reference:
Stieglitz, A. (2021). A reflection from the action research podcast episode 16. Retrieved from https://www.socialpublishersfoundation.org/knowledge_base/a-reflection-from-the-action-research-podcast-episode-16/