ACTION RESEARCH & What it is and how conduct it.

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Wesley Seminary at IWU emphasizes that students should each week apply what they are learning and report back the results. Then they rework their plans and apply them again.  This requires them to work, dialogue and fine-tune their plans with other leaders, lay leaders and even non-churchgoers.  This type of research often involves “action research,” defined and explained by the Center for Collaborative Action Research hosted by Pepperdine University.

Understanding Action Research

by Margaret Riel, Center for Collaborative Action Research, retrieved 10/4/15 from

… Action researchers examine their interactions and relationships in social setting seeking opportunities for improvement. As designers and stakeholders, they work with their colleagues to propose new courses of action that help their community improve work practices. As researchers, they seek evidence from multiple sources to help them analyze reactions to the action taken. They recognize their own view as subjective, and seek to develop their understanding of the events from multiple perspectives. The action researcher uses data collected from interactions with others to characterize the forces in ways that can be shared with other practitioners. This leads to a reflective phase in which the action researchers formulates new plans for action during the next cycle.

Action research provides a path of learning from and through one’s practice by working through a series of reflective stages that facilitate the development of progressive problem solving (Bereiter & Scardamalia, 1993). Over time, action researchers develop a deep understanding of the ways in which a variety of social and environmental forces interact to create complex patterns. Since these forces are dynamic, action research is a process of living one’s theory into practice (McNiff & Whitehead, 2010).

Read the full article (updated yearly) at …

STUDENT SUCCESS & How Do You Cite Yourself?

by Bob Whitesel, D.Min., Ph.D., 10/4/15.

A recurring question I receive is “How do you cite yourself.”  This is because in our highly practical courses, my students weekly interview colleagues and non-churchgoers as part of their “Action Research.”

During this exercise students often wonder how and if they should cite themselves, especially if they cite verbatim homework they previous submitted in another course. I suggest they do, because submitting something verbatim in current homework, that came from previous homework for another course, could look like a student is trying to pass something off as new work.  When actually, this is just cut-and-pasting old work.

Now, there is nothing wrong with utilizing old work, as long as it is germane and relevant. But, the key is to let the instructor know (and the reader know) that it was written for a previous assignment.

But, if you are copying something that was written for the current course, just a previous assignment, then you do not need to cite yourself.  However, there are two caveats here:

  • I know your previous homework for this course because I have read it. Thus, you do not need to cite yourself if the homework was for the current course.
  • However, if your appendix is from a previous assignment, even in the current course, I want you to cite it. This is because I want people to see (as well as the student) how each week’s homework has built upon the previous week.

So, here are the APA rules for self-citation.

From a paper you submitted:

Thus, quoting your own previous homework for another course would be similar to quoting from an unpublished dissertation (see )

Lastname, F. N. (Year). Title of paper. (Unpublished master of divinity paper). Name of Institution, Location.

From an online forum or discussion room:

Also, here is how you would quote from an “online forum” or discussion:

From an email or forum posting:

And finally, here is how you would cite an email or personal communication: