2.2 Advantages and disadvantages of Action Research
Action research in education refers to teacher-conducted classroom research that seeks to clarify and resolve practical teaching issues and problems. The term “action research” refers to two dimensions of this kind of activity: The word research in “action research” refers to a systematic approach to carrying out investigations and collecting information that is designed to illuminate an issue or problem and to improve classroom practice. The word action refers to taking practical action to resolve classroom problems. Action research takes place in the teacher’s own classroom and involves a cycle of activities centering on identifying a problem or issue, collecting information about the issue, devising a strategy to address the issue, trying out the strategy, and observing its effects. The nature of action research, however, with its cycle of observing, analyzing, acting, and reviewing, indicates that it is an activity that takes time to carry out and hence requires a considerable time commitment. For this reason, it is often more usefully viewed as a collaborative activity. The practical improvements action research seeks to bring about are not its only benefits, however. Through the process of planning and carrying out action research, teachers can develop a deeper understanding of many issues in teaching and learning as well as acquire useful classroom investigation skills.
Action research is a methodology of research generally applied in the social sciences. It is a process of taking action and doing research, which are linked together by critical reflection. Kurt Lewin, a professor at MIT, first coined the term "action research" in 1944. In his 1946 paper "Action Research and Minority Problems" he described action research as "a comparative research on the conditions and effects of various forms of social action and research leading to social action" that uses "a spiral of steps, each of which is composed of a circle of planning, action and fact-finding about the result of the action".
Action research in education involves actively participating in a change situation, often via an existing organization, whilst simultaneously conducting research. It can also be undertaken by larger organizations or institutions, assisted or guided by professional researchers, with the aim of improving their strategies, practices and knowledge of the environments within which they practice. As designers and stakeholders, researchers work with others to propose a new course of action to help their community improve its work practices. Depending upon the nature of the people involved in the action research as well as the person(s) organizing it, there are different ways of describing action research.