An Open Online Course

Action research is a process of deep inquiry into one's practices with others with the goal of evolving a deeper understanding of patterns of change. It involves taking action and collecting data to analyze and understand the actions from the perspectives of others and in relationship to a projected outcome. It is cyclic as the researcher moves through a stages of thoughtful planning of the action, taking action, then analyzing evidence collected to make sense of the action. One cycle is linked to the next by a phase of critical reflection on what was learned. The reflection often results in conceptual tools for planning the next actions. As one progresses through cycles, there is a continuous process of refining methods, making new decisions about data collection and evolving strategies for data interpretation.


The understanding developed through reflection on earlier cycles shapes the process of inquiry often in new directions. Action research is then an iterative process which converges towards a better understanding of what happens as a result of actions taken. Because practices involve other people, action research is participatory, often high collaborative and often employs both quantitative and qualitative methods. The only "object" of research is the researcher, him- or herself, the participants are often co-researchers or partners in change. The goal is to evolve a theory of change that is highly sensitive to the factors that operate in a particular context, and to understand the role that the action researcher plays in effecting change.

todo icon.pngT1 Activities

A. Creating your action research journal (Blog)
B. Forming action research learning circles.

resources icon.pngT1 Resources
A. Finding connections to Action Resource Communities
B. Action research tools

Continue to T1 Activities or T1 Resourcesor move forward to T2: Understanding Action Research
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