Abstract

This paper reports on the results of a study of how scholars engage with and use the action design research (ADR) approach. Since its publication, ADR has been acknowledged as an important variant of DSR, and has been adopted by a number of researchers. It has been the methodological basis for doctoral dissertations as well as research projects in several disciplines. With the increasing use of ADR, the research community is also learning about how to apply ADR in different contexts. In this paper, we focus on how researchers are using the methodology. Drawing on primary data from researchers who have recently engaged in or finished an ADR project, we identify several recurring themes: managing expectations with actual outcomes of ADR-projects, coordinating work across different ADR-stages, and balancing the focus on problem instance versus class of problems. Our work contributes a greater understanding about how ADR projects are carried out in practice, how researchers can avoid some of the common pitfalls, and how the methodology can be applied more effectively.

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