Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Research Methodologies Guide

A collection of resources describing research methods in the social sciences and the humanities

Action Research

Action research is defined by O'Leary (2007) as

"Research strategies that tackle real-world problems in participatory, collaborative, and cyclical ways in order to produce both knowledge and action."

It refers to a type of research methodology which works toward a kind of change (whether social or professional). Because its goals are oriented toward change rather than knowledge-gathering alone, active research studies are often based in everyday issues, and concern themselves with the creation of practical solutions to these problems.

Elements of action research studies include:

  • Identify a problem
  • Research the problem and its probable causes
  • Develop a response to the problem
  • Implement the proposed solution
  • Observe the implementation of the solution
  • Reflect on the results (and start over, if necessary)

For more in-depth information, browse the resources below:

Where to Start

Below, a few tools and online guides that can help you start your action research project are listed. These include free online resources and resources available only through ISU Library.

Online Resources