action research

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action research A type of research in which the researcher is also a change agent, often used in local communities or by consultants working in companies, as part of the change process itself. The research subjects are invited to participate at various stages of a relatively fast-moving sequence of research–action–research–action. There is an iterative process of investigating a problem, using case-study methods, loosely defined; presenting the analysis, with one or more proposed solutions, to the subjects or group leaders; deciding which course of action to follow and implementing it; followed by further investigations to assess the outcomes, identifying unanticipated problems and possible solutions to them; followed by further action to refine and extend the new policies or activities. The process can be extended indefinitely, as the original focus of concern gradually moves to other related areas. The British community development programmes of the 1970s are an interesting example (see particularly the Coventry CDP Final Report, 1975)