This article explores the nature of the criteria which would be appropriate for evaluating a report on practice development submitted for a doctoral thesis-a significant issue in the various professional contexts where 'action research' or 'evaluation' is increasingly being adopted as a basis for PhD work. The practice-base of this article itself, and the urgency of the problems, are presented by means of reflections on the examination of particular cases of action research PhDs undertaken by practitioners, and reflections by one of the presenters, who was herself completing a PhD at the time of writing. Illuminative data have been collected from a questionnaire to PhD examiners from a wide range of disciplines in order to establish the scope of the problem by collecting a core vocabulary of terms. The key issue examined is the relationship between criteria derived from clearly 'academic' research and criteria which would be appropriate for the evaluation of practice.
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