Action Research, also called Participatory Action Research pursues action (or change) and research (or understanding) at the same time (Dick, 1999). Richards and Morse (2007) categorise Action Research as ethnographic research, specifying that Action Research challenges the researcher-participant relationship. Action Research is not conducted on people, but with people. Participants are part of the discussion on what will be researched, how it will be researched and what happens to the findings. It is a reflective, democratic practice. which values what people know. Action Research is generally about achieving change through helping participants reflect on a situation, a practice, a process. The aim is generally to change this situation, practice, process.
Participants and researcher have to have shared goals. Stakeholders want to improve a situation.
The researcher and the participants
The research is led by participants, and the researcher’s role is to provide expertise on how to address an issue.
Can be qualitative or quantitative, depending on what participants want to research.
Participants own the results of the research and use it to change a situation, solve a problem.
References and resources for Action Research
Dick, Bob (1999), What is action research? Available on line at http://www.scu.edu.au/schools/gcm/ar/whatisar.html
Kemmis, S. & McTaggert, P. (1988). The action research planner. Geelong, Victoria: Deakin University.
Herr, K. & Anderson, G. L. (2005). The action research dissertation: a guide for students and faculty. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications. This book provides a broad and clear overview of the varieties of action research. It shows that action research is appropriate not only for a dissertation, but also a deeply rewarding experience for both the researcher and participants. This book helps students understand the ways action research dissertations are different from more traditional dissertations and prepares students and their committees for the unique dilemmas they may face, such as validity, design, write-up, ethics, and defence of the dissertation.
Wadsworth, Y. (1997). Do it yourself social research (2nd ed). St. Leonards, N.S.W. : Allen & Unwin, 1997. UC Library HM48.W3 1997
Wadsworth, Y. (1997). Everyday evaluation on the run (2nd ed). St. Leonards, N.S.W. : Allen & Unwin. UC Library: H62.W23 1997