Module 1 described in detail how the SLP for this course will produce a document that will begin a working draft of a proposal for your Doctoral Study. Once again, it is important that you not be concerned that the work you do at this early date will obligate you to that topic later on. Your thinking should and will evolve as you take additional courses. However, you should take this assignment and the feedback you receive seriously because it will serve as the template you will follow as you develop your ideas more fully. We continue the SLP series for this course with the Module 3 SLP deliverable.
Module 3: How would I classify the appropriate study design (explanatory, descriptive, etc.)? Describe how you would classify your design and explain the rationale for your design choice. Briefly discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the approach. (2-3 pages)
Although the SLP is a less formal document than a case study, it is expected that you follow APA convention at the doctoral level. Also, although you are asked for your opinion, remember that it is good practice to avoid writing in the first person. Instead, focus on stating the facts as you perceive them to be while writing in the third person—and cite supporting sources.
Action research is defined as applied research that focuses on solving practitioner problems (Johnson & Christensen, 2012). The term “action” within action research implies both the collection and evaluation data as well as undertaking specific initiatives—that is “doing something” in order to solve a specific problem, improve a process, or address a deficiency. Action research therefore follows a cycle of plan-act-reflect that is often repeated multiple times in order to converge on sound and workable findings. Although action research is similar to change management in its structured approach to change, action research is distinctive in its focus on reflection and evaluation of the collected data that emerges from the taken action. Further, action research is an iterative process. The results of the plan-act-reflect cycle are used to engage in further action (Dick, 2014). The intense reflection that takes place in action research could be compared to the successive stages of evaluation observed in root cause analysis. In the field of business, it is essential that the practitioner “solves the right problem”. Reflection on the results helps ensure that this happens.
If you noticed that the plan-act-observe-reflect cycle mirrors the Deming plan-do-check-act cycle, you would be right. There are similarities between these structured, common-sense steps associated with arriving at the fundamental nature of the problem. However, action research is grounded in the “appreciative enquiry” cycle that emphasizes a holistic depth of understanding that goes beyond surface analysis of empirical data (Coates, 2005).
The participatory element of action research also finds common ground with change management and case study research. The researcher is a participant in the actions taken and in the reflection on the collected data. As such, an action researcher may act as a change agent. This characteristic of action research makes it ideal for business practitioners who intend to embark on a career in consulting.