Action Research

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Description of Action Research. Explanation.


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Definition Action Research. Description.

Action Research (AR) is a (typically  cyclic or spiral) process for planning change interventions and for intentional learning from experience, first described by social psychologist Kurt Lewin ('46) .

The method is characterized by intervention in real world systems, followed by close scrutiny of the effects.

The aim of AR aim is to improve practice, and AR is typically conducted by a combined team of practitioners and researchers.

AR can also be described as the process by which practitioners attempt to study their problems scientifically in order to guide, correct, and evaluate their decisions and actions. (Stephen Corey, 1953). Or more simply, as researching on the implications or effect of an action that is planned to resolve a certain problem.

It is an informal, qualitative, interpretive, reflective, collaborative and experimental methodology that requires all the participants to be collaborative researchers. AR is usually carried out by people who recognize a problem or limitation in their workplace situation and, together, devise a plan to counteract the problem, implement the plan, observe what happens, reflect on these outcomes, revise the plan, implement it, reflect, revise and so on.

In a way the AR method combines the strengths of academic research (objective, scientific, but not necessarily relevant) and consulting research (often subjective and case-based, often not very scientific, but tuned towards relevancy).

The Action Research Process


In its original form, AR was a three-step spiral process of 1. planning which involves reconnaissance; 2. taking actions; and 3. fact-finding about the results of the action. (Kurt Lewin, 1947)

A present-day action research cycle could have the following steps:

  • Data Collection > Evaluation > Action > Critical Reflection > Data Collection > Evaluation > ...
  • Planning (definition of the problem research practices) > Acting (implementation) > Observing (action and data collection) > Reflecting (developing revised action derived from what has been learned) > ... (Kemmis and McTaggart (1988).

Action Research Forum
  Action Research for Academic Staff Development
The strength of good education in any educational institution depends on the quality of the academic staff in that there is no satisfactory substitute for competent staff that possesses sound educational philosophy and dynamic leadership (Nakpodia, 2...
  Weaknesses of Action Research
Despite the many advantages that Action Research (AR) might have, Brydon-Miller et al. (2003) mention that one of the weaknesses of Action Research is: its localism. AR often takes place on the local scale and it cannot be extended to a broader conte...
  Action Research Takes Place in a COMMUNITY
In addition to what others have offered, action research involves identifying a problem within a community and mobilizing the community to collectively discuss the causes and to collectively seek solutions to address the problem.
In actio...
  What is the Influence of Action Research on Organizational Performance?
Context: There's a rising number of universities, hence students have many choices, leading to some universities facing low student enrollments.
I argue that if Action Research (AR) is used then a culture (tacit) will be created that is very dif...
  Action Research as a Basis for Making Decisions
Action research is simply defined as researching on the implications or effect of an action that is planned to resolve a certain problem.
As such anyone who goes into research should be able to:
- Clearly identify the problem after scrutini...
  Action Research in Universities
I want to do a PhD in action research and sustainable competitive advantage.. My possible title is action research as an intangible asset for sustainable competitive advantage in catholic institutes of higher learning of Kenya. My assumption is that ...
  Action Research is About What Works in the Real World
What I like about action research is that it appears to be about doing what works in the real world. Find out what is likely to work, do it, refine it...
The most 'attractive' aspect for me is the zero or little place for theories, ideologies, o...
  Warner Burke Seven Phase Model
Warner Burke’s Seven Phase Process Model builds on the original action research model.
The seven phase process is used by OD consultants to help client address their personal challenges, team challenges, and organizational challenges, identify n...
  Action Research History. Main Theories
The action research model was developed by the pioneers in the field of organization development as a method for planning change interventions. Kurt Lewin first coined the term “action research” in his 1946 paper “Action Research and Minority Problem...

Action Research Special Interest Group

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Best Practices - Action Research Premium

Expert Tips - Action Research Premium

Four Characteristic Dimensions of Action Research

Reason (2006) elaborates on action research and mentions 4 characteristics dimensions that together typify action research beyond those of empirical r...
Usage (application): Action Research Characteristics, Comparison with Empirical Research

Resources - Action Research Premium

Action Research In-depth: Views, Critiques and Key Issues

Presentation that discusses the concept of Action Research in more detail. The presentation includes the following sections:
1. Arthur Miller
Usage (application): Action Research, Action Learning

Views on Action Research and Teaching

This presentation is about the concept of Action Research (AR) and how it is defined/applied in the context of teaching. Several influential scholars...
Usage (application): Teaching, Action Research, Professional Development for Teachers


Action Research


Action Research


Action Research


Action Research

Compare with: Deming Cycle  |  Action Learning  |  Team Management Profile  |  Appreciative Inquiry  |  Positive Deviance  |  Analogical Strategic Reasoning  |  Knowledge Management (Collison & Parcell)  |  SECI model  |  Bridging Epistemologies  |  Organizational Learning  |  Organizational Memory  |  Root Cause Analysis  |  Metaplan  |  Groupthink  |  Six Thinking Hats  |  Emotional Intelligence  |  Training Within Industry

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