Action Research History. Main Theories

Action Research
Knowledge Center


Nancy Rehbine Zentis
HR Consultant, United States

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 Problems”.
In that paper, he described action research as “a comparative research on the conditions and effects of various forms of social action and research leading to social action” that uses “a spiral of steps, each of which is composed of a circle of planning, action, and fact-finding about the result of the action”.
Action research describes how humans and organizations behave in the outside world and is a change mechanism that helps human and organizations reflect on and change their own systems (Reason & Bradbury, 2001).
Action research theories:
• Chris Argyris’ Action Science
• John Heron and Peter Reason’s Cooperative Inquiry
• Paulo Freire’s Participatory Action Research (PAR)
• William Torbert’s Development Action Inquiry
• Warner Burke - 7 Phase Model.


Annette Boshoff
Manager, South Africa

Action Research (AR) Main Thoeries

Another AR theory can be added to the list: Jack Whitehead and Jean McNiff's Living Theory Action Re... Sign up


More on Action Research:
Discussion Topics
Action Research as a Basis for Making Decisions
Warner Burke Seven Phase Model
Action Research in Universities
Action Research is About What Works in the Real World
👀Action Research History. Main Theories
Action Research Takes Place in a COMMUNITY
What is the Influence of Action Research on Organizational Performance?
Action Research for Academic Staff Development
🔥Lewin's Action Research and Change Management
Weaknesses of Action Research
Special Interest Group

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Action Research
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