University of Oulu

Ingibjorg Sigurdardottir & Anna-Maija Puroila (2020) Encounters in the third space: constructing the researcher’s role in collaborative action research, Educational Action Research, 28:1, 83-97, DOI: 10.1080/09650792.2018.1507832

Encounters in the third space : constructing the researcher’s role in collaborative action research

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Author: Sigurdardottir, Ingibjorg1; Puroila, Anna-Maija2
Organizations: 1University of Iceland, School of Education
2University of Oulu, Faculty of Education
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.6 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Informa, 2020
Publish Date: 2020-02-18


Action research is a methodology that has been increasing in educational studies in recent years. Previous studies have revealed that action research affects practitioners more than traditional methods, since the practitioners are not only participants but also researchers themselves. One branch of action research is collaborative action research (CAR), whereby practitioners and the researcher collaborate through the action research process. This study builds on material from CAR in one Icelandic preschool that lasted over 24 months. The focus of this article is on the role of the researcher in the action research project and how it was constructed through the process. The research material consists of the researcher’s self-narratives, practitioners’ diaries, interviews, and recordings from meetings. The findings show that the researcher’s role was constructed in a so-called third space where the researcher and practitioners collaborated. The researcher went through an emotional landscape while constructing her role and her position was something in between an insider and an outsider. Finally, she faced different kinds of tension concerning her role as a researcher in the CAR. The study contributes to the limited number of studies on the researcher’s role in CAR and how it is constructed during the process.

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Series: Educational action research
ISSN: 0965-0792
ISSN-E: 1747-5074
ISSN-L: 0965-0792
Volume: 28
Issue: 1
Pages: 83 - 97
DOI: 10.1080/09650792.2018.1507832
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 516 Educational sciences
Funding: The Nordic project was funded by NordForsk. This study was further funded by the University of Iceland.
Copyright information: © 2019 Informa UK Limited. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Educational action research on 18 Aug 2018, available online: