Centre for Information Management

Research blog


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The PhD journey continues

This, my second blog, is timed to coincide with some good news – I got through my first year viva! Thank you all for your support and encouragement – it did make a huge difference.

In my last entry, I stated how much of a struggle it had been to crystallise the focus of my study, its aims and the methodology to use. However, heading towards my first year viva meant that this part of the journey had to be speeded up. With the support of my supervisors, I was able to present a reasonably coherent viva paper summarising my research strategy and some initial observations that have started to emerge. The bullet points below will give you an indication of where I am heading:

  1. This is an action inquiry, a variant of action research involving research and inquiry simultaneously.
  2. This is a practice-based study on knowledge brokering and KM within a community based/NGO partnership.
  3. The partnership in question is Charnwood Connect, where I am employed as the project’s Knowledge Management Officer.
  4. This is a qualitative study and data collection tools include observations, project documentation, semi-structured interviews and focus groups.
  5. Key academic reference points include Marshall’s ‘living life as inquiry’, Whitehead’s ‘Living Theory’ and Torbert’s ‘development action inquiry’ underpinned by Argyris at al’s ‘action science’.

This study will:

  1. Offer an insight into KM within a non-commercial setting although the lessons learnt will be generalizable to other sectors.
  2. Offer insights into insider practitioner research and action inquiry as a form of participative action research.
  3. Help, in a modest way, to offset the dearth of academic and practice-led literature on KM within the VCS.
  4. Generate a wealth of practice-led evidence, adding value to the work of the partnership and its future resilience.

My one-minute in the lift description of my study reads ‘….my research is an action inquiry on knowledge brokering and its role and function in knowledge management within a community-based partnership’.

This is my story so far but as an action inquiry, the research process will be dynamic and subject to some fluctuations. Really looking forward to the next phase. Any comments or suggestions on the above, most welcome. Kind regards



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