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Action-research in education: a narrative of a longitudinal case study

In recent years some academics have started to approach the study of Accounting from the perspective of social studies, and several journals have evolved to promote such an approach. These academics believe accounting practices are understood better when considered from a perspective which acknowledges the psychological, emotional and intuitive influences which impact upon individuals preparing and using accounting information. Many people no longer accept Accounting as an “objective and neutral”, “true and fair” record of financial transactions: it may be better understood from a social studies perspective. This will involve a change in accounting education towards a more holistic approach which goes beyond the ‘technical’. However, many university courses are still taught from this technical perspective. Educational practice generally has developed in such a way that many students are encouraged to consider education to involve little more than the rote learning and regurgitation of ‘true’ facts. Such learning may enable students to become suitably qualified to gain employment within contemporary society, but I believe university students should obtain more than this. They should be encouraged to acquire attributes which will allow them to continue to develop throughout their lives, and to aid societal development. This report provides a narrative concerning the development of a fourth year integrative course, which encourages students to approach Accounting from a social-studies perspective, and to challenge current practices where they deem it appropriate. The course is student-centred. It involves six modes of learning developed from ideas furnished by Rogers (1983). It provides an example of a longitudinal study, which describes the development of a course over five iterations. I attempt to provide holistic learning opportunities which will encourage students to develop attributes which I believe will benefit their ongoing development. I undertake an investigation into the immediate impact of the course, and into its longer term impact on graduates to ascertain if the graduates believe, after they have spent several years in the workplace, that the course did provide holistic learning opportunities and outcomes. I attempt to evaluate the use of an ‘action-research’ methodology in developing the course, and the use of ‘narrative’ for reporting on the design and implementation process.
Type of thesis
The University of Waikato
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