Systemic Practice and Action Research

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 9–21 | Cite as

Action Research: Its Nature and Validity

  • Peter Checkland
  • Sue Holwell


The process of knowledge acquisition which has the strongest truth claim is the research process of natural science, based on testing hypotheses to destruction. But the application of this process to phenomena beyond those for which it was developed, namely, the natural regularities of the physical universe, is problematical. For research into social phenomena there is increasing interest in “action research” in various forms. In this process the researcher enters a real-world situation and aims both to improve it and to acquire knowledge. This paper reviews the nature and validity of action research, arguing that its claim to validity requires a recoverable research process based upon a prior declaration of the epistemology in terms of which findings which count as knowledge will be expressed.

research action research research methodology 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Checkland
    • 1
  • Sue Holwell
    • 1
  1. 1.Management SchoolLancaster UniversityLancasterUK

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