Action Research Spiral
By Dr Jeff Hawkins Nov 2, 2020 updated
Who is Action Research for?
Any individual or group inside social organizations that seek a democratic process to change and improve the status quo. A few examples include: Private Schools, Hospitals, Factories and individual team members, teachers, principals, educational administrators, nurse practitioners, union representatives, factory workers, management teams that seek innovation in the work space.
Action Research / Participatory Action Research
Professional organizations and Individuals that are involved in complex social work environments often seek a Way Forward (methodology) to IMPROVE or CHANGE the status quo from inside their organization. This is the very purpose of Action Research, to provide a logical and proven scientific approach that can improve the social environment / workplace that all human beings interact within on a day to day basis. Action research is the way forward that enables "the intractable status quo to change."
Why action research?
Action Research provides a systematic framework & methodology (plan, act, observe, reflect) to examine the complex relationships inside social institutions (schools, hospitals, retirement homes) and through this intensive examination finds explicit areas to change and improve the status quo. As Professor Stephen Kemmis argues "Only Action Changes Reality” not talking about action.
How is AR Different from other forms of Qualitative or Quantitative research?
As the name implies Action Research is different from other forms of (second person or third person) research as the emphasis is on INDIVIDUALS (YOU) inside organizations taking action to improve and change the status quo; learning from that action (both positively and negatively) and improving social reality for everyone over the iterations of the research project. Essentially, action research is about YOU, and your organization taking action today to make a better tomorrow. Notice the emphasis here is on "informed Action" as the CHANGE AGENT and researching the change that is implemented to improve the social systems that human beings interact in on a day-to-day basis. When done correctly, this is an empowering moment for all members of the PAR research team -understanding that the status quo is a social contract that can change and evolve to the benefit of all.
Action research does not need to rationalize itself in comparison to other research paradigms. In fact, Kurt Lewin (1940's), often called the father of action research, used the approach to improve conditions in factories for workers and management. Because Action Research is battle tested in Reality the results are often more reliable, valid and trustworthy than other forms of research conducted or manipulated to achieve ideal conditions (selective rendering).
A Participatory Action Research project can be a lot like climbing Mount Everest. IF I was going to climb Mount Everest, I would be 1000% sure to Hire the very best SHERPA Guide available so that I not only survived the climb but also prospered from the experience.
Expert advice ensures that you avoid the many footfalls that an action research project provides and makes certain that the research team is guided in the right direction. The right direction is recognized by the new insight, knowledge, new solutions and innovations that are generated through the PAR process to energize your organization like never before. If you mistake a survey as new knowledge then you know you are on the wrong track.
Fortunately, I am an Action Research SHERPA with expertise in my field. I can definitely help guide your PAR project in the right direction. Consultancy fees (50$ per hour) as advertised on our service and fees page.
I shall include one AR study which I led as a Research Consultant in Malaysia for free download. Read carefully for a better understanding of what is required to conduct an action research project. However, be advised that reading about action research is not the same as DOING an action research project with all of its complex moving parts, personalities and participants.
Should you wish to discuss your Action Research Project further, please feel free to schedule a free consultation to review your project goals. Talk is still free and I really do enjoy discussing action research :).
Zoom chat also available for those that prefer online or reside Internationally outside of Canada.