VirtualMV/Research in IT/Methodologies/Action

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By the end of this section you will be able to:

  • Describe the action research methodology in an IT Context

First appearing in a paper by K. Lewin in 1946. It refers to research conducted to solve a social problem, although its differentiating factor from other research methods is that of finding a solution (Dane, 1990, p. 8). McNiff (2002) described action research as open ended, which does not begin with a fixed hypothesis, but an idea that is developed. Dick (2002) defined Action Research as “a flexible spiral process which allows action (change, improvement) and research (understanding, knowledge) to be achieved at the same time. The understanding allows more informed change and at the same time is informed by that change. People affected by the change are usually involved in the action research. This allows the understanding to be widely shared and the change to be pursued with commitment.” Reason & Bradbury (2001, p. 1) defined Action Research as “a participatory, democratic process concerned with developing practical knowing in the pursuit of worthwhile human purposes, grounded in a participatory worldview. It seeks to bring together action and reflection, theory and practice, in participation with others, in the pursuit of practical solutions to issues of pressing concern to people, and are generally the flourishing of individual persons and their communities.” There are several strategies that are used to conduct action research: action science; cooperative enquiry (Heron & Reason, 2001); participatory action research (PAR); developmental action inquiry; and the living theory approach (Wikipedia, 2007).

Socio-technical action research

"The term "action research" seems to have been first used by members of the London Tavistock Institute in the early 1950s when deciding that their attempts to change current industrial practice should include both research and therapy (Neumann and Hirschorn, 1999, in Mumford 2001[1]). They conducted "careful formulation and testing of theoretical concepts which could provide a better understanding of the meaning of the term 'quality of working life'".

VmvIcon References.png References

  1. Mumford, E. (2001). Advice for an action researcher. Information Technology & People, 14(1), 12-27. Retrieved from