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Action Research


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements Introduction PART I: WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW? Chapter 1: What is action research? Chapter 2: Who can do action research? Chapter 3: The values base of action research Chapter 4: Critical times for action research PART II: WHY DO I NEED TO KNOW? Chapter 5: Why do action research? Chapter 6: The responsibility of practitioner-researchers: contributing to new practices and new learning Chapter 7: The responsibility of practitioner-researchers: contributing to new thinking and ideas Chapter 8: The responsibility of practitioner-researchers: engaging with the literatures PART III: HOW DO I FIND OUT? Chapter 9: Thinking about doing an action research project Chapter 10: Planning to do your action research Chapter 11: Carrying out your action plans Chapter 12: Evaluating the quality of your plans, practices and research PART IV: HOW DO I GENERATE EVIDENCE TO TEST THE VALIDITY OF MY KNOWLEDGE CLAIM? Chapter 13: Monitoring practices and gathering data Chapter 14: Working with data: analysing, authenticatin and interpreting Chapter 15: Generating evidence from the data and making knowledge claims: summary chapter PART V: HOW DO I TEST AND CRITIQUE MY KNOWLEDGE? Chapter 16: Testing the validity of your knowledge claim Chapter 17: Establishing the legitimacy of your knowledge claim PART VI: HOW DO I REPRESENT AND COMMUNICATE MY KNOWLEDGE? Chapter 18: Thinking about writing your dissertation Chapter 19: Writing up your dissertation PART VII: HOW DO I SHOW THE SIGNIFICANCE OF MY KNOWLEDGE? Chapter 20: The significance of it all References Index

About the Author

Jean McNiff is Professor of Educational Research at York St John University, UK. She is also a Visiting Professor at UiT the Arctic University of Norway, and at the Beijing Normal University and Ningxia Teachers' University, People's Republic of China. Jean took early retirement from her position as deputy head teacher of a large secondary school in Dorset, UK. She went into business for herself, and developed her writing. Her textbooks on action research and professional education are now used internationally on workplace-based professional education courses and on higher degree courses. Jean provides interdisciplinary consultancy work to institutions around the world where she gives lectures and conducts workshops on planning, doing and writing action research. Jean aims to contribute to personal and social betterment through educational research. She encourages everyone to make their stories public in the form of their personal and collaborative theories of practice; and she firmly believes that each individual is able to contribute to social and planetary wellbeing by explaining how they hold themselves accountable for what they do. In this way she links education with moral accountability. She tries to bring the university to everyday contexts, and everyday contexts into the university, for it is only by involving everyone, she feels, that the world will become a better place for us all. Visit Jean at, or contact her at


Well structured, clearly written and accessible. I highly recommend it for anyone who plans to enhance their professional practice through action research.

-- Valsa Koshy

This is an empowering, practical, accessible book, embedded in a deeply humane understanding of research. It shows how and why practice is integral to a healthy, thinking world. It opens doors and enables you to turn lived experience into liberating professional enquiry.

-- Welby Ings

For anyone interested in action research, irrespective of experience and expertise, this text, explaining the origins, forms, process, problems and functions of action research, and how these relate to position and role of action researcher, should be essential reading.

-- Andrew Townsend

At a time when academic 'experts' are increasingly setting practice agendas, this scholarly but deeply practical book helps practitioners to reclaim ownership of their professions.

-- Gary Rolfe

Jean McNiff is an inspiration. Imbued by her values, she takes the `mystique' out of action research and provides an accessible, practical and useful step by step guide to doing action research for novices and experts alike. This book will support action researchers to live by their values and produce robust accounts of their research. I look forward to recommending it as a `must read' to my fellow action researchers.

-- Josephine Bleach

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