The Palgrave Encyclopedia of the Possible

Living Edition
| Editors: Vlad Petre Glăveanu (Editor-in-Chief)

Action Research

Living reference work entry


Action research is an approach to research which aims at both taking action and creating knowledge or theory about that action as the action unfolds. It starts with everyday experience and is concerned with the development of living knowledge. Its characteristics are that it generates practical knowledge in the pursuit of worthwhile purposes; it is participative and democratic as its participants work together in the present tense in defining the questions they wish to explore, the methodology for that exploration, and its application through cycles of action and reflection. In this vein they are agents of change and coresearchers in knowledge generation and not merely passive subjects as in traditional research. In this vein, action research can be understood as a social science of the possible as the collective action is focused on creating a desired future in whatever context the action research is located.


Action research Change Development Emancipatory research Participatory research 
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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Trinity Business SchoolUniversity of Dublin Trinity CollegeDublinIreland

Section editors and affiliations

  • Richard Randell
    • 1
  1. 1.Webster University GenevaGenevaSwitzerland