The going can be tough but the adrenalin will kick in.
Information and knowledge is always gained through action and for taking action
From this starting point, to question the validity of information and knowledge is to question how to develop genuinely well-informed actions that will have the biggest positive impact.
Action research is a reflective process of progressive problem solving by individuals working with others in teams or as part of a “community of practice” to improve the way they address issues and solve problems.
Action research challenges traditional problem-solving research. By moving beyond reflective knowledge created by outside experts to active moment-to-moment theorising, data collecting, and inquiring that is occurring in the midst of implementing a project.
Action research is carried out in the implementation process, to improve the methods and approach of those involved.
Action research consists of multiple research methodologies which pursue action and research outcomes at the same time. It, therefore, has some components which resemble consultancy or change management and some activities which resemble field research.
Using the action research approach
You can fully own and drive the action research process. Choose a focus, gather data, reflect on and share their findings, plan for action, carry it out, check their results, and plan for further action. This cycle of steps – act, observe, reflect, plan – supports ongoing improvement, validated by collecting and evaluating local data.
The process for action research is well established as an excellent approach to understanding and acting on issues, including those concerning businesses. Action research is a simple, effective tool for businesses wanting to constantly improve their operations and address the issues of their own choice.
“Action research is a way of bridging the gap between educational theory and getting on with the job”. Peter Sergeant
As action research is being set up, consider the practical things that will be important, including:
- Time for meeting and planning.
- Effective data gathering and recording methods.
- Getting a variety of stakeholders involved.
- Getting outside expertise when it’s needed.
Like any new process, action research may not be easy at first. Build in support for your work and projects by:
- Establishing a realistic timeline
- Arranging work-in-progress discussions
- Learning from experience over time
- Recording and sharing successes and frustrations
- Celebrating achievements as they arise
Action research can also be undertaken by larger organisations or institutions, assisted or guided by facilitators, or professional researchers, with the aim of improving their strategies, practices, and knowledge of the environments within which they operate.
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If you want to achieve something you have never achieved then you will have to take actions that you have never taken before. Just as you will have to do some research like you have never done before.