Dissenting in Reflective Conversations: Critical Components of doing Action Research

Pernille Bjørn, Nina Boulus-Rødje

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Reflective monitoring of research practices is essential. However, we often lack formal training in the practices of doing action research, and descriptions of actual inquiry practice are seldom included in publications. Our aim is to provide a glimpse of self reflective practices based on our experience of enacting action research. Our engagement in a large action research project brought about many dilemmas and uncertainties related to our roles and interventions. We focus on these uncertainties as a way of opening the ‘black box’ of action research ‘in the making’. We conceptualize a methodological reflective approach that provides space for taking seriously uncertainties experienced in the field as these can be a catalyst for learning and sharpening our theoretical and empirical skills as action researchers. Through first-person inquiry, we investigate how our reflective conversations gradually evolved into second-person inquiry. We argue that enacting second-person reflective conversations renders alternative strategies for handling uncertainties through articulation of the tacit assumptions within particular empirical situations. Finally, we argue that reflective conversations should be understood and handled as iterative, open, and inquiring processes within a trust relationship, and should not be limited to any particular value schemes of action research
Original languageEnglish
JournalAction Research
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)282-302
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • action research, first-person inquiry, health care technologies, information systems, role identity, reflective conversations, reflexive research, Science and Technology Studies

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