Kurt W. Clausen


When reading through an article within this issue - the one by Cathryn Smith from Brandon University - I was delighted that she had revisited and expanded upon a pithy analogy I haven’t seen for a while. It was a phrase written by Kathryn Herr and Gary Anderson back in 2005 as they endeavoured to explain the challenges of engaging in Action Research during the dissertation process: That engaging in this methodology is like “designing the plane while flying it”. When I originally read Herr and Anderson’s simile, I had seen it as a rather humorous, yet negative one. Using wild exaggeration, the conclusion the authors seem to draw was that it was an impossible task – daredevil activity to say the least… or suicidal, more likely. Now, 13 years later, I am happy to see Dr. Smith take a pragmatic twist on this flight of hyperbole. Rather than seeing this aphorism as a mere “blow off” statement, scaring away potential researchers with its connotation of being a nonstarter, she looks at this phrase as a mere statement of the way things are. The trick is to understand the fact, and to ground your mindset around these parameters. Equally inventive, she parses out her work using aviation analogies, which allows her work to take wings.

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ISSN 1925-7147

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