is "a collaborative approach to inquiry that provides people with the means to take systematic action to resolve specific problems” (Stringer, 2014, p. 8).
Action research is a process, a cycle for analysis and improvement to serve communities. This cycle consists of three main phases that are often repeated over time for optimal outcomes: look, think, and act.
- Define and describe the situation or problem.
- Review literature and existing programs or services.
- Gather data through appropriate methods.
- Analyze and ask, “What is happening here?”
- Interpret to explain how or why things are the way they are
- Define a course of action based on analysis and interpretation.
- Implement the plan.
- Evaluate — ask, “How did it go?”
Action research is widely used in the field of education and increasingly in public health. The ARC program seeks to engage students in thoughtful action research regardless of their academic major to learn about issues impacting the Greater Houston community. Action research can also be used to learn more about the experiences members of the community have had with regards to education, health care, the environment, political systems, transportation or other areas. Through reflection, extensive literature reviews and thoughtful research methods, ARC participants will learn about the “why” behind policy, programs and experiences within our community. The purpose of an action plan at the end of ARC is to carry the research forward into continued inquiry and improvement to benefit Houston.
Stringer, E. T. (2014). Action Research (4th ed.). SAGE Publications.