Action research refers to the combination of three elements: action, research, and participation. Action research is a research strategy that generates knowledge claims for the purpose of taking action to promote social analysis and democratic social change. Action research aims to increase the ability of the involved community or organization members to control their own destinies more effectively and to keep improving their capacity to do so within a more sustainable and just environment. Action research is not applied research, and it unequivocally rejects the separation between thought and action that underlies the pure/applied distinction that has characterized social research for some generations.
Action, Research, and Participation
As mentioned before action research comprises a balance of three elements. All the three elements have to be present for the process to be named as action research. The meanings of the three elements are explained below:
· Action: action research is participatory since it aims to alter the initial situation of the organization or community in the direction of a more self -managing, modern, and sustainable state. What is defined as a modern state varies from one research practitioner to another? Some researchers use action research to create a kind of modernization through greater self-realization. Others emphasize more political meanings of modernization, and these differ among themselves regarding how strong a political agenda they advocate.
· Research: Action research is one of the most powerful ways to generate new research knowledge, theories, methods, and analysis and models.
· Participation: Participation places a strong value on democracy and control over one’s life situations. These values permeate our arguments and create a strong general commitment to democratizing the knowledge generation process. Action research involves trained social researchers who serve as facilitators and teachers of members of local communities or organizations. Because these people together establish the AR agenda, generate the knowledge which is required to change the situation, and put the results to work, action research is a participatory process since everyone involved takes some accountability.
A Comparison of Traditional Research and Action Research
Basis for Comparison
Action research is practice-oriented. Research questions are derived from practice, and the role of theory is only secondary
Theory plays a very vital role, and research questions are derived from general theoretical propositions
Employees, Customers, Government, and Students with whom they work
Representative, Random Sampling
The focus is more on practical implication
The analysis of the data is very rigorous. Statistical tools are used to analyze the data
Findings are local specific
Conclusions may be in the form of generalizations and developing theories
Application of results
Results of the study are used immediately in the place where the research is being carried out. The results cannot be generalized
The results of the study have broad applicability. The results can be generalized.
Large sample size is required
The sample is usually small
The researcher need not have to undergo rigorous training
The researcher should have sound knowledge in research methodology so that he is in a better position to analyze the data
The purpose of carrying out the research is to understand what things mean to others
The purpose of carrying out the research is to enlighten and also to predict relationships
It is unfeasible for the researcher to distance himself or herself-to stand apart-from that which is being researched
The researcher can stand apart from the subjects he or she is studying
Specifics and significance are inextricably entangled
Specifics stand independent of the knower and can be known in a truthful way