Action research has become a popular form of research for institutions and educational organizations to improve professional and personal practice. Action research provides participants with the opportunity to work together to explore, investigate and solve a problem. In this paper I intend to explore what action research is, how and when to use it and the different challenges practitioners face when using action research. Action research is an important form of research that allows practitioners to incorporate different aspects of a problem through the participation of all stakeholders with the purpose of finding a solution. We must also be aware of the challenges that may arise to implement Action Research successfully.
What is Action Research?
According to Stringer, (2014) action research is a form of investigation used by practitioners to facilitate and/or research a problem found in current practice that is affecting members of an organization. The main purpose of action research is to research a solution for a problem while also improving professional and personal practice. Action research provides a platform for all affected by this problem so that those affected can become involved in the investigation and inquiry to find a solution. (Stringer, 2014) Those involved in the process of action research help to differentiate it from traditional research. Traditional research can often be more quantitative in nature while action research tends to be more qualitative because of the natural language drawn from participants in the inquiry process. (Stringer, 2014)
Stringer (2014) explains that solutions found in action research are not a one size fits all. Rather, the goal of action research is that in involvin...
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...nizational politics, and bias.
When completing action research within your own organization, politics can become involved and lead to resistance to change or resistance to participation. (Coghlan, 2003) Every organization has a culture and rapid change can threaten the culture that is familiar to the members. The goal of the research should always be placed at the forefront of any inquiry to move past the political platforms.
Insider researchers also run the risk of becoming biased in the process. In order to avoid this from happening the researcher should remain objective. Mercer (2007) proposes that the researcher must evade biased influence of their personal beliefs as well as those of the participants. In order to retrieve successful unbiased data collection practitioners must remain objective and clearly define the roles of all involved in action research.
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