This article comes from my good friend Cody Haun.
Introduction This document begins with a brief overview of action research and a discussion of its advantages and disadvantages.
The intention is to help you make an informed choice about your approach to your research. There is a particular focus on doing research for a thesis or dissertation, or for a similar independent research report. If a thesis is not your interest Thesis theme body background think you will still find material of use.
The document also includes brief accounts of some of the methodologies that exist within action research. An even briefer mention of the data collection methods which can be used is also included.
This background material is followed by two practical sections. The first of them describes how action research can be carried out. A format for writing up the research is then presented.
The form of action research described is one which uses a cyclic or spiral process. It converges to something more useful over time for both action and understanding.
It is chosen because of the rigour and economy which it allows. I think it is also more easily defended than some other forms. I write as a practitioner in a psychology department where action research is viewed with some scepticism.
You may be doing your research within a setting where action research and qualitative approaches are more common. If so, you may not need to approach it with quite as much caution as I suggest.
In all of this, it is not my intention to argue against other research paradigms. For some purposes quantitative, or reductionist, or hypothesis-testing approaches, alone or together, are much more appropriate.
In many research situations action research is quite unsuitable.
My only intention is to offer action research as a viable and sometimes more appropriate alternative in some research settings. Should you choose to do an action research study this paper will then help you to do so more effectively and with less risk. Nor do I have any objection to quantitative research.
If your measures adequately capture what you are researching, quantitative measures offer very real advantages.
However, qualitative measures may allow you to address more of what you want to examine. In such situations it is appropriate to use them.
The paper is copiously referenced so that you can identify the relevant literature. Embedded in the reference list are also some other works.
About half of the references are annotated to assist you in an intelligent choice of reading. As the name suggests, action research is a methodology which has the dual aims of action and research At the extreme, the "research" may take the form of increased understanding on the part of those most directly involved.
For this form of action research the outcomes are change, and learning for those who take part.
This is the form which I most often use. In other forms, research is the primary focus. The action is then often a by-product.By: Engr.
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