Action Research

  • Davydd J. Greenwood


This chapter discusses action research, a strategy for social research that combines the expertise and facilitation of a professional social researcher with the knowledge, energy, and commitments of local stakeholders in a particular set of organizational, community, political, or environmental problems. Together, these actors form a collaborative learning community to define the problems clearly and decide what data are needed to understand the problems and to generate hypotheses about the relevant causes. They then engage together in gathering data, recruiting of additional expertise, and interpreting the results. Finally, they co-design the actions arising from their results to ameliorate the problems, take the actions, and then evaluate the results. They evaluate the results together and, if the results do not meet their expectations, they engage in further cycles of research, analysis, and action until the problems have been addressed to their satisfaction. The learning community so created operates according to a set of values that privilege respect for the knowledge and interests of all participants (including the social researcher), democratic dialogue that aims to permit the group to learn from the experiences and commitments of all of its members, and that is premised on the ability of all people to become more effective researchers and to act more effectively on their own behalf.


Action research Stakeholders Professional researcher 


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Davydd J. Greenwood
    • 1
  1. 1.Cornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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