What is Action Research?

Action research differs from traditional scholarship because the research question comes from the community. A good action researcher starts by listening and coming alongside the community it wishes to serve and impact. Action research does not program on to people and organizations; instead it reaches people where they are at and helps to develop ideas and solutions that are meaningful and sustainable.

The process of action research starts with observation which helps to frame the opportunities and identify the assets and strengths of the community. Next, a project is developed with the engagement of the stakeholders who will be directly impacted by the project. Buy-in is very important and people support what they help to create. Projects evolve in very dynamic ways. There is refinement and adjustment along the way as projects respond to internal and external factors.  Action research is the on-going effort to create change in respectful ways.

See examples of good action research projects on our blog and books and journal articles about action research are also listed in the section of ARC resources.