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Interview with Pat Thomson, Andrew Townsend & Carol Munn-Giddings

Pat Thomson, Andrew Townsend & Carol Munn-Giddings, Co-Editors of Educational Action Research

This is the twenty-seventh audio interview in a series that Routledge is conducting with the editors of some of its key Education journals.

The interview page has been split into sections which can be quickly accessed by selecting any of the links below:


These interviews are aimed at students, educational researchers, academics and visitors to the Education Arena website who are interested in particular journals and would like to find out more.

Each interview provides information about the editors in question, details about the creation of their journal and its purpose and scope within the wider sphere of educational research. Each editor is also asked to offer advice, hints and tips to prospective authors who may be hoping to submit papers to their journal.

This twenty-seventh interview is with Pat Thomson, Andrew Townsend and Carol Munn-Giddings, Co-Editors of Educational Action Research. The journal publishes accounts of a range of action research and related studies, in education and across the professions, with the aim of making their outcomes widely available and exemplifying the variety of possible styles of reporting. It aims to establish and maintain a review of the literature of action research. It also provides a forum for dialogue on the methodological and epistemological issues, enabling different approaches to be subjected to critical reflection and analysis.

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Pat Thomson, Andrew Townsend and Carol Munn-Giddings answer the questions

This interview took place at the University of Nottingham, UK on 30th March, 2011



Q1: For researchers or students who have never encountered Educational Action Research, what is the journal about in a nutshell?

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Q2: What do you think are the most contentious issues in contemporary debate and research in education which Educational Action Research seeks to address?

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Q3: Who do you feel are your readership, your core audience?

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Q4: What do you look for when considering articles for submission?

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Q5: What are your aspirations for the future of the journal?

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Q6: What educational and/or policy developments do you feel have particularly shaped the journal and its content in recent years?

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Q7: How do you see action research and its effects on education developing in the future? Are there any particular questions and/or issues which you feel will come to the forefront for researchers, academics and practitioners?

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Q8: Looking to the future, which countries or world regions do you feel will feature ever more prominently as areas of study in the journal?

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Q9: Are there any significant events on the academic calendar that you see being of strategic importance to Educational Action Research?

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We also provide a transcription of this interview to overcome accessibility problems if you have hearing difficulties (or for those of you who may just prefer to read the interview).

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More about Pat Thomson

Photo: Pat Thomson

Pat Thomson is Professor of Education at the University of Nottingham, UK, where she is also Director of the Centre for Research in Schools and Communities. She is an Adjunct Professor at the University of South Australia and a Visiting Professor at Deakin University, Australia. A former school principal, Pat has represented Australian principals on national policy making bodies and at international conferences, and was President of the South Australian Secondary Principals Association. She was a member of national and state policy making bodies and has extensive experience in equity policy development. She was awarded a Public Service Medal in 1991, a Fulbright Scholarship in 1992, the Garth Boomer Curriculum prize from the Australian Curriculum Studies Association in 1995, and the Australian Association for Research in Education Outstanding Thesis award in 2000. Her current research focuses on creativity, the arts and change in schools and communities, and postgraduate writing pedagogies. She is also looking at the ways in which innovative approaches to schooling are spread with /against policy agendas - and within and between countries. She maintains an interest in the changing work of school administrators and in children and young people who do not get the full benefits of education, and recently co-edited ‘Researching Creative Learning: Methods and Issues’, published by Routledge. All of her research is underpinned by a commitment to social justice and an interest in questions of power, identity, place and agency.

Click here to view Routledge books written by Pat Thomson.

Read Pat’s online blog at


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More about Andrew Townsend

Photo: Andrew Townsend

Andrew Townsend is Associate Professor in Educational Leadership at the University of Nottingham, UK, and was previously based at the University of Leicester and the University of Warwick. He spent nine years as a secondary science teacher in England and Canada, before working as an educational consultant concerned with supporting, evaluating and researching individual and organisational change initiatives. In 2006 he was Academic Director of the 30th anniversary Collaborative Action Research Network (CARN) conference. Andrew’s research encompasses action research; voice and participatory approaches to change; practitioner research; the management and leadership of education; professional, practitioner and institutional networks; and adult learning and development. He is the co-author of ‘Developing Leaders for tomorrow: releasing system potential’, published in School Leadership & Management.

Andrew is also co-author of the Routledge book Networking Practitioner Research.

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More about Carol Munn-Giddings

Photo: Carol Munn-Giddings

Carol is Professor of Participative Inquiry and Collaborative Practice in the Faculty of Health and Social Care at Anglia Ruskin University, UK. Before joining the University Carol worked for many years as a social researcher in various health and social services settings, including the voluntary sector. After re-joining academia she worked for several years with colleagues in Ukraine developing social and educational projects. One of her specialist areas is supporting practitioners and service users in undertaking participatory forms of research including action research and in this capacity she co-authored ‘A Handbook of Action Research in Health and Social Care’, published by Routledge. Carol also specialises in developing research related to self-help/mutual aid groups and user led organisations and has worked on a number of regional, national and international funded projects in relation to this work. A significant part of her current work is training and supporting citizen research groups in the fields of mental health and older people’s services. A direct outcome of this work has been the formation of ‘WhyNot!’, an older people’s research group who are currently involved in a range of research projects, including international work.


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Suggested Reading and Related Articles

Pat Thomson, Andrew Townsend and Carol Munn-Giddings recommend the following articles and issues from Educational Action Research:

What is to be done? The place of action research
By Stephen Kemmis
Volume 18, Issue 4, Pages 417 – 427

Exploring the value of service user involvement in data analysis: ‘Our interpretation is about what lies below the surface’
By Phil Cotterell
Volume 16, Issue 1, Pages 5 – 17

Journeying between the Education and Hospital Zones in a collaborative action research project
By Jayne Crow, Lesley Smith & Iain Keenan
Volume 14, Issue 2, Pages 287 – 306

Special Issue on Multiple Perspectives on Action Research
Volume 17, Issue 1

Special Issue on Young People’s Voices
Volume 15, Issue 3

Special Issue on Health and Social Care
Volume 14, Issue 2

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