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Research Methods

Action Research

Action research distinguishes itself from other research methodologies by blurring the lines between researcher and participants that would normally be considered as "subjects" in the process. It does this by encouraging a collaborative relationship between the two through the sharing of knowledge and expertise.

While present in other fields, action research has been more prevalent in education, health, and community development. At its core, action research is a process in which researchers become their own subjects, turning their observations towards their own practices and techniques in order to solve an apparent or predicted problem. The focus of action research is in self-improvement. Unlike the other research methodologies, which can sometimes focus on theories, hypotheses, and problem-solving in the sense that researchers are looking for the cause of a problem, action research is all about gaining knowledge on how to improve skills, practices, and techniques.

Further Reading:

Looking for additional readings on or examples of action research? Click the image below or here for a list of relevant resources.

Ferrance, E. (2000). Action research [PDF file]. Rhode Island: Northeast and Islands Regional Educational Laboratory at Brown University. Retrieved from
Woodhouse, D. (2009). Action research. In T. Blackshaw, SAGE key concepts series: key concepts in community studies. London, UK: Sage UK. Retrieved from