3.26 Simonsen, J. (2009): "The Action Research Project – an Endangered Species in Scandinavian IS Research?", in J. Molka-Danielsen (Ed.): Proceedings of the 32nd Information Systems Research Seminar in Scandinavia, IRIS 32, Inclusive Design, Molde, Norway, August 9-12, Molde University College, 2009.


Is the Scandinavian collaborative research practice and tradition for conducting action research projects threatened? In this article, I contribute to a debate on this concern. Action research is without doubt an exciting and relevant research strategy for IS, but a recent trend to “treamline” PhD programs and to comply with international research publication traditions seems to introduce critical challenges: (1) Action research is a very time-consuming way of producing empirical data and there is a high risk for the project not evolving as planned, which might lead to the failure of acquiring the empirical data. (2) Action research is also personally demanding and challenging because it entails a close engagement and commitment with collaborating industrial practitioners. (3) Action research might be a risky and ineffective career strategy in terms of obtaining research publications within a short period of time. I provide a framework for action research projects and contrast action research to the case study research approach. I present the above mentioned challenges of action research and give examples from my own experiences. Finally, I try to describe some possible ways for PhD-students and their supervisors to cope with action research.