Action Research The nature of academic research encompasses a broad array of investigative criteria. Within this spectrum of understanding, quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods research form the backbone of a system that functions to investigate some of the most pressing questions of contemporary culture. One of the most notable research approaches is what is known as action research. While action research takes on a variety of context and has been understood from a variety of perspective it has been broadly categorized as a group of individuals working in a team as a means of developing solutions and increased insights to the problems at hand (Whitehead & McNiff 2006).
This essay examines my perspective on action research as conducted by a social scientist, as well as my growth edge when in comes to learning about the practice of social research. When examining my perspective on action research within the social sciences my perspective is greatly influenced by major theoretical paradigms. While I recognize that action research has prominently been implemented in academic contexts, this approach to investigation has been extended to a number of business and organizational contexts.
Simply speaking, action research involves taking practical and defined action in response to set of problems. Within the organizational context such processes emerge daily in pragmatic and functional ways (Argyris 1994). In these regards, social science principles, including sociology and psychology have been implemented in substantial amount of action research initiatives as a method of determining strategic approaches to the business climate. While action research in the organizational context constitutes a major implementation of this investigative approach, there is also substantial implementation of this research within academia.
In terms of social science research, I recognize that there are a number of theoretical perspectives. In these regards, action research combines real world investigative solutions in combination with data in a collaborative analysis to reach investigative solutions (Argyris 1994). In this context of understanding, action research in the social science context can be understood as a fluid approach to investigative solutions. One perspective notes, “Knowledge is always gained through action and for action. From this starting point, to question the validity of social knowledge is to question, not how to develop a reflective science about action, but how to develop genuinely well-informed action — how to conduct an action science” (Torbert 2002).
This is important as it encapsulates the structural dimensions of action research. Action research goes beyond simple data analysis or collation of information and recognizes that knowledge exists in complex and fluid context that necessitates an equally malleable approach to investigation. In my own doctoral program I am planning on pursuing action research through patient healing in a well environment. Such an investigation will necessary include qualitative action in understanding this healing process through regular action research.
Ultimately, while action research can be broadly equated with the classical notion of the ‘experiment, ’ in the context of social sciences this takes on a variety of qualitative assumptions wherein the researcher and collaborative team oftentimes discover new research criteria that may have been lost by a more rigid investigative process. Another important aspect of research is what has been referred to as one’s growth edge. In these regards, I recognize that I have a number of areas of where my growth edge can be strengthened.
While I currently recognize that I have an adequate understanding of qualitative investigative practices, one of my major potentials for growth are in-term of quantitative and mixed-method research practices. Although my knowledge of statistical correlations is only rudimentary, I would like to strengthen my ability in this realm as it relates to my doctoral research in the health care field. I believe that through developing my growth edge in terms of quantitative research I can then combine this with qualitative approaches in conducting significant action research initiatives.
In conclusion, this essay has examined action research as implemented in the social sciences in terms of my personal perspectives. In addition to this investigative concern, the essay has examined my growth edge in terms of social science research. The essay has revealed that action research constitutes a unique collaborative approach to developing research solutions. My growth edge has been established as quantitative research. Ultimately, the collection of these concerns and research practices should combine to significantly aid my doctoral research in the health and medical care field.
References Argyris, C. (1994). Knowledge for Action. San Francisco CA: Jossey-Bass. Torbert, W. (1991). The Power of Balance: Transforming Self, Society, and Scientific Inquiry. New York: Templeton. Whitehead, J. & McNiff, J. (2006) Action Research Living Theory, London; Sage.