Chapter Summary

Now that you have a sense of the action and learning-in-action processes as you engage in your project, chapter 3 takes a step back and considers some of the theoretical issues in action research. The guiding questions underpinning this chapter are. How do I understand what I am doing in my insider action research initiative? How do I understand how it fits into a rich research tradition?

As the chapter explores action research has its own philosophies which are different from what is considered to be traditional science and which are based on bring close to the situation and engaged in working collaboratively to change it. There is no one uniform philosophy of action research and action research may be traced to the work of philosophers like Aristotle, Dewey, MacMurray, Habermas, Wittgenstein among others.

A second dimension of action research is that there are many different ways of doing it. These are often referred to as modalities. So action science, appreciative inquiry, clinical inquiry, cooperative inquiry, developmental action, to take some examples, express different settings and ways of working. These are not hard and fast distinctions and may be used together.