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EDUC.6922: Qualitative Research Methods for Practitioner Scholars

Action Research



Definition of Action Research

Applied research which seeks to implement policy through the research itself. It involves respondents in the process of investigation and the implementation of the findings. Cf. Evaluation Research and Participant Action Research

Source: Online QDA 


What is it?
Action research is a methodology that combines 'action' and 'research' together. During a study the researcher is repeating the process of performing an action, reflecting on what has happened and using this information to plan their next action. This process of action research has a refining effect on action and the researcher gains understanding of what is going on (Dick, 1999)

Action Research Definitions:
Systematic enquiry designed to yield practical results capable of improving a specific aspect of practice and made public to enable scrutiny and testing. 


Inquiry-based research conducted by teachers that follows a process of examining existing practices, implementing new practices, and evaluating the results, leading to an improvement cycle that benefits both students and teachers. Synonyms include practitioner research, teacher research, site-based research, and action science. 

A (usually cyclic) process by which change and understanding can be pursued at the one time, with action and critical reflection taking place in turn. The reflection is used to review the previous action and plan the next one. (Dick 1997)

Action Research is 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)

Action Research is 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) 

Action Research in education is study conducted by colleagues in a school setting of the results of their activities to improve instruction. - Carl Glickman (1992) 

 Action Research is a fancy way of saying let’s study what’s happening at our school and decide how to make it a better place. - Emily Calhoun (1994)

A teacher tries a new activity in the class to help students understand a concept they are being taught. After the class the teacher reflects on how well the activity helped the students' understanding of the topic. They then modify the activity for the next time they use it in a class to make it more effective.

Source: Online QDA