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Action research international

Author guidelines



Action research international is a refereed on-line journal of
action research published under the aegis of the Institute of
Workplace Research, Learning and Development, and Southern
Cross University Press

We invite submission of articles which are in accordance with
the details below.



Types of submission

The content in more detail

Format and style


Copyright and research permission

This document includes some important information for intending authors.  If you intend to submit a paper to Action research international, we encourage you to read it carefully.

We expect these guidelines to change with experience -- please treat them as a guide only.  Their purpose is to help you to communicate worthwhile material clearly.  It isn't intended to constrain.  Depart from them if you believe you have a more useful offer or a more effective style of presentation.

Above all, we are looking for high quality papers.  We want them to advance the theory and practice of action research in some way.  We strongly prefer papers which are not doctrinaire.

Types of submission

We seek high quality papers about the integrated theory and practice of action research.  For these purposes we might define action research as follows:

Action research consists of a family of methodologies which pursue outcomes of both action (change) and research (understanding).  It uses a process which alternates between action and systematic reflection, or achieves theory-practice integration by some other means.

It is usually, though not universally, collaborative and qualitative.  Its many forms include such varieties as participative action research, emancipatory action research, action science, and soft systems methodology, among others.

We take the view that good research is research which is designed to achieve the desired outcomes in the research situation.  This isn't always action research. However, ARI is intended as an action research journal.

In preparing the paper, be mindful of the medium of publication: primarily plain text published electronically.  A suitable length is about 2000 words or a little more.  Briefer reports of about 1000 words or even less are especially encouraged.

At this stage, we imagine that many submissions will consist of brief accounts of actual fieldwork. The main emphasis may be case studies that contribute to a theoretical and practical understanding of action research in applied settings.

If there is a central emphasis to Action research international it is the integration of theory and practice.  Types of paper might therefore include (but are not limited to):

a completed case, successful or unsuccessful, partial or complete, which raises theoretical issues or illustrates theoretical concepts

work in progress, or a critical incident from within a larger case study, which does the same

problematic issues in current cases, especially those which question current theory or practice, or for which explanation is sought

theoretical papers with obvious and direct practical implications

descriptions of techniques or processes for which conceptual support is also provided

We also invite review articles:

reviews which synthesise the action research literature and history

reviews of theories or practices from other fields of research which have application to action research, and which can further illuminate the theory and practice of action research

reviews of books or papers which have theoretical and practical importance to action research

The conducting and reviewing and publishing of research is often a political act.  It is often coloured by fashion, ideology, and opinion.  We intend to research our own review and publication of action research, and seek papers which address these and related issues.

For example, we would like to receive papers which address such issues as the following:

the action research community as a social and political system

critiques of aspects of the complete process of action research, from design to conduct to reporting to review to publication.

We encourage dual or multiple authorship, especially where practitioners and theorists combine their experience and insights.  We also encourage novel and creative formats and styles which do not detract from the value of the paper.

On occasion, your original draft may spark some interest which leads to others' comments being included either in or with your paper.  We look forward to this occurrence.

The content in more detail

Our broad expectations are probably already evident from the above descriptions.  We expect papers to address theory (or concepts), practice (or processes), and how each informs and enhances the other.  We expect fieldwork to pursue outcomes of both action and research.  We expect theoretical pieces to have clear and explicit practical applications.

In other words we are seeking papers which have components of intervention and understanding, united through a process of critical reflection.  Different contributors may place a different emphasis on these, but we regard reflection as an important part of any approach.

In most papers it will probably be appropriate that you briefly describe your own background and experience.  It may also be appropriate that you address what you learned about yourself, when this has any wider relevance.

We expect no more than half of any paper to be descriptive.  The remainder will consist of critical reflection.  We do not expect to publish purely descriptive papers.

We expect you to relate the theory and practice of your paper to the relevant literature.  However, we expect citations to be sparing and selective rather than encyclopaedic.  (There may be exceptions to this, for instance for historical papers or reviews.)

Further, action research is a field where practice can lead theory.  Where you are familiar with current concepts in the field, we encourage you to identify and draw on them.  We do not believe that refereed papers, and only refereed papers, constitute the prevailing "truth".

Format and style

Above all we expect a style that is clear and free of jargon.  This is a multidisciplinary journal in a multidisciplinary field.  Simple language will make it easier for all readers to access your paper.

We suggest that you cultivate the use of short words in short sentences.  Unless there is good reason to do otherwise, write in the first person.  We encourage you to experiment with styles of presentation which aid intelligibility.

We have adopted the Harvard system of referencing as standard.  However, we accept any recognised system which is used consistently.

We are keen to encourage presentation in creative ways, either alone or in support of more conventional presentation.  We do expect the structure and intent of the paper to be obvious to the readers.

Ascii text is not conducive to the use of tables or (especially) figures.  On occasion they will be the most appropriate form of presentation.  But we ask that you use them wisely.

When your paper is accepted for the "inner" refereed list it will also be archived in hypertext.  At this stage you will be given the opportunity to add graphics sparingly, if these aid the intelligibility of your paper.

Your draft, and the eventual refereed paper, will have many readers.  Many of them will read it in small print on computer screens.  Be empathic.  The usual dense academic style of writing is ill-suited to this medium.  Shorter than usual lines and paragraphs will help greatly.


We accept papers on the understanding that they are not being considered for publication elsewhere.

There is nothing to prevent you submitting your draft directly to the "outer" discussion list. We suggest, however, that you first ensure that it is relevant for ARI.  You can check this by first emailing it to one of the series editors for comment:

Bob Dick
         Stewart Hase
         Ron Passfield
         Paul Wildman

They may limit their comment to the relevance of the paper to ARI.  You should not assume that their approval says anything about the likelihood of eventual publication.

(Other members of the editorial panel may also be willing to comment on the relevance of your paper to ARI, before you submit it.  However, you should check with them before sending material.)

Before submitting any drafts you must be a subscriber to the journal.  (If you were not subscribed you would be unable to take part in the discussion on your paper.) To subscribe, send an email message indicating your wish to do so, to Bob Dick <>. Before doing so, you should read the material below on copyright and research permission

You can then expect supportive and critical comment on your draft from the journal subscribers. Members of the editorial panel are also likely to comment.  They have been encouraged not to treat this as an adversarial activity.  They will do what they can to make this an exercise in striving towards high quality through mutual exploration and inquiry.  We urge you to respond non-defensively in like manner.

There are no appointed reviewers as such, though you may nominate some members of the editorial panel whom you would like to be invited to comment.  Any subscriber or panel member may comment.  You may revise or withdraw your draft at any time.  You are not obliged to modify your paper to suit the views of any particular panel member or editor.

When a quorum of the panel have stated that in their view it is of high quality, and relevant, it will be posted on the inner list and simultaneously in hypertext on the web.

From time to time, collated papers may also be issued in hard copy by Southern Cross University Press.

Copyright and research permission

There are two conditions which may influence your decision to submit a draft to ARI.  You should read the following.  Your submission of material to ARI will be taken as signifying agreement to these conditions.

First, copyright.  Copyright is vested jointly in the author(s) and the journal.  You are able to use the material as you wish without our permission.  (There is an exception if you later offer it for publication elsewhere.  We ask that you make clear to the intending publisher that it has already been published.  We require that ARI is identified in that later publication as the original vehicle for publication.) We retain the right to publish and republish your material in ARI (text, hypertext and hard copy).

You should note that material published in the journal in its various forms will include an explicit copyright waiver.  This will say:

Copyright © [year] Action research international and [author's name]. May be used with appropriate acknowledgment for any educational or training purpose without further permission

No royalties are paid for publication in ARI, either in the electronic or hard-copy formats.

Second, research permission.  The subscribers to ARI form an active action research community.  We research our own practice.  You should assume that anything you post on ARI is a public document.  It, and the accompanying discussion, may be analysed for research and evaluation purposes.


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Maintained by Bob Dick; Version 1.05; Last revised 20001017