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Theory and Practice in Action Research
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Theory and Practice in Action Research

some international perspectives


2002 paperback 244 pages, £24.00, ISBN 978-1-873927-44-1

However, it is still available immediately as an eBook: please click on the links below to Amazon Kindle and/or Google Books.

About the book

The work of public service professionals all over the world has become more complex in recent years as they have had to manage new realities of the intensification of work, persistent demands to raise standards without the power to influence the nature, direction or pace of these, and associated increases in bureaucracy. By regularly and systematically reflecting upon their thinking and practice and the contexts in which these take place, many professionals have found 'room to manoeuvre' and have been able to rediscover, articulate and communicate a set of core values that promote the care and concern for welfare and the public good, which are essential components of work in the public service sector.

This book contains 16 articles from across the professions and from different countries which explore and examine the nature, purposes, processes and outcomes of action research, its importance to professional growth and the challenges of collaboration and change. Written by practitioners from schools and universities, health and social services, it provides a comprehensive yet focused critical appraisal which the Editors believe is essential reading for all for whom lifelong learning is a key component of being and sustaining themselves as professionals.


PART ONE: Conceptualisations of Action Research Introduction; Susan Noffke. Action Research: towards the next generation; Richard Winter. Managers, Spectators and Citizens: where does 'theory' come from in action research? Colin Biott. Latency in Action Research: changing perspectives on occupational and researcher identities; Maggie MacLure. Postmodernism: a postscript

PART TWO: Praxis and Partnership in Action Research Introduction; Christine O'Hanlon. Reflection and Action in Research: is there a moral responsibility to act? Jean-Claude Couture. Dracula as Action Researcher; Kath Green. Defining the Field of Literature in Action Research: a personal approach; Bridget Somekh. Inhabiting Each Other's Castles: towards knowledge and mutual growth through collaboration

PART THREE: Action Research for Change Introduction; Melanie Walker. Subaltern Professionals: acting in pursuit of social justice; Victor Valla. Popular Education and Knowledge: popular surveillance of health and education services in Brazilian metropolitan areas; Peter Posch. Changes in the Culture of Teaching and Learning and Implications for Action Research; Arphorn Chuaprapaisilip. Thai Buddhist Philosophy and the Action Research Process

PART FOUR: Action Research in Practice Settings Introduction; Belinda Watts & Shirley Jones. Inter-professional Practice and Action Research: commonalities and parallels; Carol Munn-Giddings. 'A Different Way of Knowing': social care values, practitioner research and action research; Pete Strauss. No Easy Answers: the dilemmas and challenges of teacher research; Angie Titchen & Alison Binnie. A Unified Action Research Strategy in Nursing


Alison Binnie held senior clinical posts at the John Radcliffe Hospital, in Oxford, for 16 years. During that time, she led major practice development initiatives, aimed at developing a genuinely patient-centred nursing service. Her own work with patients was always a central part of her professional life. She found it to be her main source of inspiration and energy, as well as a powerful medium for influencing the practice of others. Alison now works independently as a practice development consultant in hospitals in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Colin Biott is Professor of Professional Education and Development at the University of Northumbria. He is engaged currently in a number of evaluations and action research projects related to government policies in the field of social inclusion, studies of life histories of school leaders, and induction for newly qualified teachers. Recent work has included national evaluations of the training needs of community children's nurses, and of career entry profiles for new teachers. Books include: Working and Learning Together for Change (with J. Nias) and Collaborative Learning in Classrooms and Staffrooms (with P. Easen).

Arphorn Chuaprapaisilp is currently an Associate Professor and Associate Dean at the Faculty of Nursing, Prince of Songkla University Thailand. She graduated with a BSc in Nursing and Midwifery, and received MSc in Nursing from Thailand. Her PhD in Health Personnel Education was undertaken at the University of New South Wales, Australia. She finished her PhDthesis entitled 'Improving Learning from Experience: action research in nursing education in Thailand' in 1989. It was the first action research project in nursing profession in Thailand. Her post- doctoral special studies in Philosophy of Nursing Science & Interpretive Research Methods took place at the University of California, San Francisco School of Nursing. Her research projects involve HIV/AIDS prevention and care, quality of life of cancer and AIDS patients, end of life care, application of Buddha Dharma and Eastern wisdom in holistic nursing. Her special skills are action research and qualitative research methods, self-healing, interpersonal healing and Vipassana meditation.

Jean-Claude Couture works with the professional development staff of the Alberta Teachers' Association in Edmonton, Canada. His current research utilizes a psychoanalytic cultural critique of the intensification of teachers' work. He has worked extensively with school communities using action research as a way to interrogate the contemporary difficulties of teaching. He has written in media studies and on the impact of technology in education. His publications include 'The Tie that Bonds' in Multi/Intercultural Conversations: a reader (Ed. S. Steinberg) and 'Teachers' Work: Living in the Culture of Insufficiency' in Tech High (Ed. Marita Moll). He has co-authored social studies textbooks and has been involved in numerous curriculum development initiatives in western Canada.

Christopher Day is Professor of Education and Co-director of the Centre for Research on Teacher and School Development at the School of Education, University of Nottingham. He has worked as a schoolteacher, teacher, educator and local authority adviser. He has extensive research and consultancy experience in England, Europe, Australia, South East Asia, and North America in the fields of teachers' continuing professional development, action research, leadership and change. He is editor of Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, co-editor of Educational Action Research and Journal of In-Service Education. He is a Board Member of the International Council for Teacher Education (ICET). In addition to Leading Schools in Times of Change (Open University Press, 2000), recent publications include The Life and Work of Teachers: international perspectives in changing times, (co-editor and contributor; Falmer Press, 2000); Educational Research in Europe: Yearbook 2000 (co-editor; Leuven-Apeldoorn, Garant, 2000); Developing Teachers: challenges of lifelong learning (Falmer Press, 1999).

John Elliott is Professor of Education within the Centre for Applied Research in Education, which he directed from 1996_99. He is well-known internationally for his role in developing the theory and practice of action research in the contexts of curriculum and teacher development, and has directed a number of funded collaborative classroom research projects with teachers and schools. He is currently an Advisory Professor to the Hong Kong Institute of Education and a consultant to the Hong Kong Government on the strategic development of its curriculum reform proposals.

Kath Green began her teaching career in the 1960s in inner city primary schools before moving into higher education. Her present post, as an Education Adviser for postgraduate medical and dental education, involves her in working with hospital consultants and dental regional advisers to support the development of teaching in a variety of workplace settings such as ward rounds, theatres, clinics etc. Kath has two children, Rachel and Thomas, who have both 'caught the bug' and embarked on careers in teaching and she remains in regular contact with James, her 35-year-old foster son. She is proud to be classified as 'resistant to change' whenever that means refusing to give up on cherished educational principles and finds cooking meals for a kitchen full of friends to be the best antidote to some of education's current orthodoxies.

Shirley Jones qualified as a physiotherapist in 1976 and worked as a clinician until 1980 in a variety of nhs hospitals. In 1980 she moved into teaching, and taught on undergraduate physiotherapy courses, initially as a lecturer and then as a senior lecturer until 1992. In this period she completed her masters degree in education at Liverpool university . In 1992 she joined Anglia Polytechnic University as a senior lecturer to support the teaching on a multi_professional top up degree in Health Studies. In 1998 she co_wrote an undergraduate and post_graduate mutli_professional programme in response to the Government initiatives for Health & Social Care and collaborative working. She currently leads the BSc Hons Health & Social Studies.

Maggie MacLure is Professor of Education at the University of East Anglia. She has an unhealthy interest in research methodology – particularly those mutations that go by the name of poststructuralism and deconstruction. She is co_author with Ian Stronach of Educational Research Undone: the postmodern embrace (Open University Press).

Carol Munn-Giddings worked for many years as a social researcher in various health and social services settings, undertaking, managing and facilitating projects related to service users perspectives. In her current post at Anglia Polytechnic University, School of Community Health and Social Studies she is Reader in Participative Inquiry and Director of Research. Her work includes research with self_help groups, teaching research to practitioners and supporting staff in developing their research. She recently co-wrote with Richard Winter A Handbook for Action Research in Health and Social Care (Routledge, 2001).

Susan E. Noffke taught elementary and middle school children for 10 years before pursuing a doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin. She is now Associate Professor at the University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign, where she teaches courses in Elementary Education, Curriculum Studies, and Action Research. Her publications have included Educational Action Research (with Robert Stevenson) and articles in Review of Research in Education, Theory into Practice, and Teaching and Teacher Education. She is coauthor (with Kenneth Zeichner) of the chapter on 'Practitioner Research' in the newest edition of the Handbook of Research on Teaching. She is currently working on a long term field project involving facilitating action research with classroom teachers who are exploring issues of social justice in their educational practice.

Christine O'Hanlon is an Honorary Research Fellow in Education at the University of East Anglia. She has researched and published widely on the topic of action research as a means of professional and personal development in teacher education. She has worked at the University of Ulster and the University of Birmingham developing teacher education courses through action research. She currently organises and teaches courses for teachers and other professionals in support of 'inclusive' education to reduce the marginalisation of specific individuals and groups in mainstream schools. Her latest book to be published shortly is entitled Teacher Action Research for Inclusion.

Peter Posch has teaching degrees in English and Geography, and a PhD in Education and Psychology. He has conducted studies and research activities at the Universities of Innsbruck and Constance and the Vienna School of Economics. Now retired, he was Professor of Education at the Institute of Education at the University of Klagenfurt in Austria since 1976, and was Visiting Professor at the School of Education of Stanford University in 1992.

Bridget Somekh was a secondary English teacher before becoming a full time researcher at CARE, University of East Anglia, in 1987. She was Co-ordinator of the Collaborative Action Research Network between 1987 and 1995 and is a founder Editor of the journal Educational Action Research. Bridget is currently Professor of Educational Research at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her main research interests are educational change for individuals and organisations, information and communication technologies, curriculum, pedagogy and learning. She is also an experienced evaluator of innovatory educational programmes.

Pete Strauss is 43 years old and has been a primary school teacher in Nottingham for ten years. After working as a carpenter for several years, he began his teaching career at Greythorn Primary School in 1991 and then became Deputy Head of Forest Fields Primary School in 1996. He has been the Head Teacher of Arkwright Primary and Nursery School since 1998. Since completing his action-research-based MEd at Nottingham Trent University, he feels guilty that he has not done as much reading, writing or research as he would have liked.

Angie Titchen is a Senior Research and Practice Development Fellow based at the Royal College of Nursing Institute, Oxford. Her work is rooted in clinical experience as a physiotherapist and now in her high challenge/high support facilitation of nurses and health care professionals who are developing effective, patient-centred care. Her research interests focus around the facilitation of transformational, learning cultures, experiential learning and the use of creative arts in research, practice development and education. She has published widely in these areas. She loves to walk, dance, practise Tai Chi and paint by a beautiful lake near her home.

Victor Vincent Valla was born in Los Angeles, but has resided and worked in Brasil for more than 35 years and is today a Brasilian citizen. Valla is professor and researcher at the National School for Public Health, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation and the School of Education, Fluminense Federal University in Rio de Janeiro where he carries on research projects and lectures on the living and health conditions of the poor and their relationships with popular education and collective organization. Within this line of research, he is currently studying religious practices of the poor and the effects on their health conditions.

Melanie Walker currently teaches in the School of Education at the University of Sheffield. She began her career in education by teaching history and english in a number of different South African schools. She subsequently became involved in curriculum materials development, and in pre and in-service teacher education. Her enduring concerns with social justice, and a concern with the gap between practice and theory in educational research in South Africa generated her first action research project with African primary school teachers. More recently she has pursued action research in higher education with lecturers at the University of the Western Cape and the University of Glasgow.

Belinda Watts qualified as a nurse in 1977 and worked in the National Health Service and the private sector in a variety of roles until 1984. In 1984 she moved into nurse education where she was involved with leading and teaching to a number of pre-registration and post-registration programmes. In 1992 she completed a degree in law from Liverpool University and in 1996 a Masters in Educational Research from the University of East Anglia. She joined Anglia Polytechnic University in 1995 to lead the BSc (Hons) in Health Studies. In 1998 she co-wrote an undergraduate and postgraduate multi-professional programme in response to the Government initiatives for Health and Social Care and collaborative working. She currently leads the MSc Interprofessional Practice in Health and Social Care and Primary Care.

Richard Winter is Professor of Education at Anglia Polytechnic University. After many years in the School of Education, where his work focused on action research as a mode of inservice professional development for teachers, he transferred to the Faculty of Health & Social Work in order to develop a practice-based degree in social work. He has published a number of articles and books on action research, including Learning from Experience, Falmer Press, 1989 (on action research methods), The Investigative Imagination, Routledge, 1999 (on the role of writing and sharing creative fiction in professional development) and A Handbook for Action Research for Health and Social Care, Routledge 2001.

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