Action Research

Planning, Action, Evaluation, Replanning

Action research is a methodology where information is collected through both professional and personal experience and through reading literature that informs insights upon which a plan of action is developed and put into practice.

There is a continual cycle of reflecting upon the plan and its implementation, so that action is always taken to adapt according to service user/client experience and your own professional experience. Action research develops an audit and quality assurance of practice. It ensures service user feedback and involvement to co-design an inclusive and responsive art therapy service.

Action research incorporates triangulation and a review of multiple kinds of literature sources (and knowledge sources such as reports, conferences, webinars, and interview questions with experts). You are comparing information for themes and relationships that relate to best practice.

Overby, A. (2020) How Action Research Can Improve Your Teaching [Mixed media].

A Living Knowledge, Participatory Knowledge

Koshy, V. (2005) Action Research for Improving Practice: A Practical Guide [Infographic].

The quotation below is from Action Research by V. Koshy.

  • Action research is participative and collaborative; it is undertaken by individuals with a common purpose.
  • It is situation-based and context specific.
  • It develops reflection based on interpretations made by the participants.
  • Knowledge is created through action and at the point of application.
  • Action research can involve problem solving, if the solution to the problem leads to the improvement of practice.
  • In action research findings will emerge as action develops, but these are not conclusive or absolute.

Koshy, V. (2005) Action Research for Improving Educational Practice: A Practical Guide. London: Sage.

The quotation below is from Action Research by Waterman, et al.

“Action research is a period of inquiry, which describes, interprets and explains social situations while executing a change of intervention aimed at improvement and involvement. It is problem-focused, context specific and future-orientated. Action research is a group activity with an explicit value basis and is founded on a partnership between action researchers and par- ticipants, all of whom are involved in the change process. The participatory process is educative and empowering, involving a dynamic approach in which problem-identification, planning, action and evaluation are inter- linked. Knowledge may be advanced through reflection and research, and qualitative and quantitative research methods may be employed to collect data. Different types of knowledge may be produced by action research, including practical and propositional. Theory may be generated and refined and its general application explored through cycles of the action research process.”

Waterman, H., Tillen, D., Dickson, R. and de Koning, K. (2001) ‘Action research: a systematic review and assessment for guidance’, Health Technology Assessment, 5 (23).

Smith, M.K. (2017) What is action research and how do we do it? [Infographic]. The encyclopaedia of pedagogy and informal education.

Action research is participatory and involves joint decision making and the creation of living knowledge.