Writing and publishing about the research process

As academic researchers we mostly worry about research ‘outcome’ as in ‘result’ — because that is what gets written about and published.1 However, it might take years sometimes to fully see the outcome of your research, especially when you are talking about impacts through Action Research, action that relates to changing institutions and social behaviours. I was involved in one such ‘Action Research’ while working in Sweden. Although we were only just beginning to see signs of impact of our research actions after more than two years of engagement, we decided to not just wait for it to manifest fully but to write about it, and try to get it published. Of course, it is mostly about the process, our involvement/role as ‘action’ researchers, and our theorising about the difficulties in getting people and institutions to see and do things differently, but very glad to report that it has now been published as a peer-reviewed paper in the International Journal of Action Research by Rainer Hampp Verlag.

Abstract below with link to full paper:

Supporting community governance in boreal forests by introducing participatory GIS through Action Research
Mahesh Poudyal, Gun Lidestav, Per Sandström, Stefan Sandström

Abstract: We use the case of Vilhelmina Upper Forest Common (VUFC) in northern Sweden to test whether the introduction of a Participatory Geographic Information System (PGIS) can increase shareholder engagement. We take an Action Research approach to introduce a PGIS as a tool to help with forest management plans, and as a tool for communication between management and the shareholders. We found that the board and shareholders were initially resistant to adopting PGIS. However, continued collaboration and engagement seem to have encouraged the board to be more proactive in their communication with the shareholders, and also more transparent regarding the management/governance of VUFC. We also find increasing interest among previously passive shareholders to engage in their forest common’s management.

Key words: community forestry, Sweden, technology adoption, forest governance, participatory GIS

Full text: Click here for PDF copy

  1. I am deliberately avoiding writing about other related topics, such as that of publication bias towards ‘positive’ results, especially in the field of medicine — and an increasing move towards giving more space to ‘negative’ results (for example, http://goo.gl/fNdT1i). ^


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