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Action Research

The Action Research Process

❶Argyris applies single- and double-loop learning concepts not only to personal behaviors but also to organizational behaviors in his models.

Three Purposes for Action Research

What is Action Research?
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All else being equal, numbers do offer advantages. In field settings, though, one often has to make other sacrifices to be able to use them. Most importantly, sometimes numbers are not easily applied to some features of a study.

If these include features of particular interest or importance, the choice is between qualitative research or omitting important features. In addition, developing a suitable quantitative measure is often difficult and time-consuming. It may be more time-efficient to use qualitative data. As I mentioned before, it is also easier to be flexible and responsive to the situation if you are using qualitative methods.

In short, it is my view that action research more often than not exhibits certain features. It tends to be, in some sense of the terms, cyclic, participative, qualitative and reflective. I see all of these features except the last as choices to be made by the researcher and the other participants. In my view, good action research and good research of any variety is research where, among other features, appropriate choices are made. Perhaps even critical reflection might be abandoned for sufficient reason.

Whatever action research is, I suspect it is mostly or always emergent and responsive. In fact, I think that the choices made about its cyclic and qualitative nature are mostly to be justified in terms of the responsiveness which they allow.

This may be true of decisions about participation too. In many field settings it is not possible to use more traditional quasi-experimental research methods.

If you do alter them in midstream you may have to abandon the data collected up to that point. This is because you have probably altered the odds under the null hypothesis. But to achieve both action and research outcomes requires responsiveness -- to the situation, and the people, and the growing understanding on the part of those involved.

Using a cyclic process in most circumstances enhances responsiveness. It makes sense to design the later stages of an action research activity in such a way that you capitalise on the understanding developed in the early stages.

It is the cyclic nature of action research which allows responsiveness. It is often difficult to know just where a field intervention will end. Precise research questions at the beginning of a project may mislead researcher and clients. Imprecise questions and methods can be expected to yield imprecise answers initially.

But if those imprecise answers can help to refine questions and methods, then each cycle can be a step in the direction of better action and research. In other words, there are times when the initial use of fuzzy methods to answer fuzzy questions is the only appropriate choice.

Action research provides enough flexibility to allow fuzzy beginnings while progressing towards appropriate endings. To my mind, a cyclic process is important. It gives more chances to learn from experience provided that there is real reflection on the process and on the outcomes, intended and unintended.

Qualitative information is less constraining of the process. Participation is a somewhat different issue, more to do with action than research. Action outcomes can usually be achieved only with some commitment from those most affected. One of the most important ways of securing that commitment is through involving those affected.

There may well be other reasons, too. For instance, for some researchers it is more ethical to use participative methods in general, this is my position in the action research I do. On some occasions the eventual interpretation of information is richer if involvement is greater.

So far, I have taken the view that action research can take many forms. There are some conditions, however, that I believe are more important. As a starting assumption I assume that good action research is empirical: Action Research is a form of collective self-reflective enquiry, undertaken by participants in social situations such as employees within an organization.

Research that produces nothing but books will not suffice according to Kurt Lewin. It is about practice and a goal-oriented approach in which planning , action and fact-finding lead to good and satisfactory results and to understanding among the participants. What do you think? Do you conduct Action research? If so, what are your experiences? If not, which new insights did you get by reading this post? What are in your opinion success factors for conducting Action research?

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How to cite this article: Retrieved [insert date] from ToolsHero: Add a link to this page on your website: Did you find this article interesting? Cooperative, aka collaborative, inquiry was first proposed by John Heron in and later expanded with Peter Reason and Demi Brown.

The major idea is to "research 'with' rather than 'on' people. Cooperative inquiry creates a research cycle among 4 different types of knowledge: At every cycle, the research process includes these four stages, with deepening experience and knowledge of the initial proposition, or of new propositions.

Participatory action research has emerged in recent years as a significant methodology for intervention, development and change within groups and communities. It is now promoted and implemented by many international development agencies and university programs, as well as countless local community organizations around the world. This was further developed in "adult education" models throughout Latin America. Orlando Fals-Borda — , Colombian sociologist and political activist, was one of the principal promoters of participatory action research IAP in Spanish in Latin America.

He published a "double history of the coast", book that compares the official "history" and the non-official "story" of the north coast of Colombia.

William Barry Atkins and Wallace defined an approach to action research which focuses on creating ontological weight. Barry was influenced by Jean McNiff's and Jack Whitehead's phraseology of living theory action research but was diametrically opposed to the validation process advocated by Whitehead which demanded video "evidence" of "energy flowing values" and his atheistic ontological position which influenced his conception of values in action research.

Barry explained that living educational theory LET "[It is] a critical and transformational approach to action research. It confronts the researcher to challenge the status quo of their educational practice and to answer the question, 'How can I improve that I'm doing? The mission of the LET action researcher is to overcome workplace norms and self-behavior which contradict the researcher's values and beliefs. The vision of the LET researcher is to make an original contribution to knowledge through generating an educational theory proven to improve the learning of people within a social learning space.

The standard of judgment for theory validity is evidence of workplace reform, transformational growth of the researcher, and improved learning by the people researcher claimed to have influenced French and Cecil Bell define organization development OD at one point as "organization improvement through action research".

Concerned with social change and, more particularly, with effective, permanent social change, Lewin believed that the motivation to change was strongly related to action: If people are active in decisions affecting them, they are more likely to adopt new ways.

Lewin's description of the process of change involves three steps: Figure 1 summarizes the steps and processes involved in planned change through action research. Action research is depicted as a cyclical process of change. Major adjustments and reevaluations would return the OD project to the first or planning stage for basic changes in the program.


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Action Research ModelThe action research model focuses onplanned change as a cyclical process inwhich initial research about the organizationprovides information to guide subsequentaction. Then the results of the action areassessed to provide further information toguide further action, and so on. 3. The main steps involved are

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Implementing the Action Research Model Change influences every aspect of life. For organizations, change is the way to remain competitive and to grow. Being prepared to initiate, anticipate, and respond positively to change is beneficial to efficiency and sustainability of organizations.

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Action Research Spiral. Kemmis and McTaggart () do acknowledge that individual stages specified in Action Research Spiral model may overlap, and initial plan developed for the research may become obselete in short duration of time due to a range of factors. A succinct definition of action research appears in the workshop materials we use at the Institute for the Study of Inquiry in Education. That definition states that action research is a disciplined process of inquiry conducted by and for those taking the action. The primary reason for engaging in.

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Action research – which is also known as Participatory Action Research (PAR), community-based study, co-operative enquiry, action science and action learning – is an approach commonly used for improving conditions. Feb 10,  · Kurt Lewin ’s approach of Action Research is a research method in which the researcher intervenes in and during the research. This serves two purposes: firstly, according to Kurt Lewin, it will bring about positive change and secondly knowledge and theory will be coachoutleta.cfs: 7.