Action Research Approaches

Action Research Approaches

Karen E. Watkins (The University of Georgia, USA), Aliki Nicolaides (The University of Georgia, USA) and Victoria J. Marsick (Teachers College, Columbia University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5164-5.ch001
OnDemand PDF Download:
No Current Special Offers


The contemporary use of action research draws on the exploratory, inductive nature of many qualitative research approaches because the type of research problems studied are complex, dynamic, and located in rapidly changing contexts. When action research is undertaken to support social and organizational change, support from stakeholders affected by the research problem is essential, creating further complexity. Action research may serve as an alternative to more traditional views of social science. In this chapter, the authors describe action research as envisioned by Kurt Lewin, its originator. Using the example of an innovative action research approach to doctoral research, they illustrate the context-rich, exploratory nature of action research that both generates knowledge for change and engages collaborating researchers and participants. The authors conclude with reflections on criteria for rigor and relevance in action research in today's post-modern, complex world.
Chapter Preview


This paper explores the initial framing of action research as a much needed alternative research approach in the social sciences within a positivist research tradition, and then offers emerging variations both in organizational practice and in a doctoral program to demonstrate how action research has evolved. With this evolution, new criteria for rigor are needed. This chapter offers a new perspective on validity in action research.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book: