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Action Research Research in the Social Sciences week 18.

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1 Action Research Research in the Social Sciences week 18

2 Outline What is action research? – Participatory action research – Insider action research – External action research Why action research? Stages in Action Research Ethics Activity

3 Key Resources Journal: Action Research McNiff, J & Whitehead, J (2011) All You Need to Know About Action Research, London Sage McNiff, J, Lomax, P & Whitehead J (eds) (2003) You and Your Action Research Project. Stringer, E.T. (2007) Action Research. London, Sage.

4 Action Research “An approach in which the action researcher and a client collaborate in the diagnosis of a problem and in the development of a solution based on the diagnosis” – Bryman

5 Action Research “Action research is small-scale interventions in the functioning of the real world and a close examination of the effects of such intervention” – Cohen & Manion (1989) Research Methods in Education, p.217

6 Action Research “The study of a social situation with a view to improving the quality of action within it” – Elliot (1991) Action Research for Educational Change, p.69

7 Participatory Action Research Involves people participating in research Aim is to transform structures, situations or systems in an egalitarian way Often focuses on oppressed groups and involves non-experts in research

8 Insider Action Research Managers engage in research projects in their organisations Aim to improve systems, organisational learning and managerial change Managers have knowledge of the system and may act covertly Difficult to be detached

9 External Action Research Researcher is independent of professional context Researches alongside professional practitioners Aim is to achieve change & improve practice Through process of collaboration

10 Action Research Origins in education policy research in USA in ‘40s & ‘50s Became popular in UK in ‘70s 1980s: teacher centred research became popular Many teachers dislike educational theory (irrelevant to classroom) Action research challenges idea that to do research you must be qualified and based at university

11 Why Action Research? Used for ‘real situations’ not objective experiments or observations Can be used for pilot studies toward more traditional research Circumstances require flexibility People must be involved Change must take place quickly Practitioners lack methodological knowledge

12 Characteristics Situational: – Concerned with diagnosing a problem in a specific context and attempting to solve it in that context Collaborative: – Practitioners and teams of researchers work together on a project Participatory: – Team members themselves take part directly or indirectly in implementing the research Self-Evaluative: – Modifications are continuously evaluated within the ongoing situation

13 Stages in Action Research Identification and formulation of the problem perceived Preliminary discussions and negotiations among the interested parties Review of research literature A possible modification or redefinition of the initial statement of the problem Selection of research strategies Choosing appropriate evaluation procedures Implementation of the project Interpretation of the data

14 Ethical Considerations Real world situations demand close attention to ethics All relevant people consulted Close and open communication throughout All participants allowed to influence the work Visible & open to suggestions Researchers accept responsibility for maintaining confidentially

15 Activity

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