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Dissertation Overviews

Vol. 19 No. 1

An Action Research Dissertation as a Means of Engaging a Community Leadership Alumni Association

March 20, 2015


This dissertation overview details an action research (AR) project with a purpose of investigating how a grassroots neighborhood leadership alumni association in the southeastern United States learned to plan and take action on community problems. Qualitative research methods included semistructured interviews and observations. The findings indicated strong elements of experiential learning, formal training, past experience, and social learning. The alumni showed moderate indications of behaving as a community of practice (CoP). The four conclusions of the study were: (1) Learning takes place as a rhizomatic (Kang, 2007) network of learning types including but not limited to experiential learning, formal training, past experience, and social learning; (2) Through community leadership, adults learn functional skills, relationship skills, and gain personal insights; (3) Disruptive change can impact a CoP’s definition of community, purview, and organizational practices; and (4) The entwined relationship between actions and power defined the AR process.