Post-print of Fisher, K & Phelps, R 2006, 'Recipe or performing art?: challenging conventions for writing action research theses', Action Research, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 143-164.
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This article explores the tensions and incongruities between conventional thesis presentation and the principles of action research. Through the experiences of the authors alternative approaches to thesis structure are proposed which are argued to be more congruent with the epistemological, methodological and ethical aspects of action research. Consistent with our arguments, the article is presented as a play. Act I considers the tensions facing research students wishing to write up their action research in the context of conventional thesis writing requirements; Act II consists of four ‘scenes’, each of which illustrates a key learning arising from our own stories: writing in the researcher as central to the research; staying true to the unfolding research story; using metaphor; and finally, weaving literature throughout the thesis. Act III considers the challenges of examination in the face of breaking with tradition. We conclude with a ‘curtain call’ from the narrator that offers a reflexive engagement with the main themes of the article.