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Action research: lessons learned from a multi-iteration study of computer-mediated communication in groups

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1 Author(s)
Kock, N. ; Coll. of Bus. & Econ., Lehigh Univ., Bethlehem, PA, USA

Action research has been presented as a promising approach for academic inquiry because of its focus on real world problems and its ability to provide researchers with a rich body of field data for knowledge building. Published examples of action research, however, are hard to find in business communication literature. What are the reasons for this? I try to provide a basis for answering this question as well as helping other business communication researchers-particularly those interested in computer-mediated communication issues-to decide whether and when to employ action research. I offer a first-person, confessional tale-like account of an action research study of computer-mediated communication in groups. In order to focus on the lessons learned, my focus is on the process of conducting action research and not on empirical results. Some of the situations and related lessons discussed are somewhat surprising and illustrate the complex nature of action research. The doctoral research, conducted over four years in Brazil and New Zealand, highlights the challenges associated with action research's dual goal of serving practitioners and the research community.

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Professional Communication, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:46 ,  Issue: 2 )