Action Research (510X8)

15 credits, Level 7 (Masters)

Spring teaching

As well as to potential action researchers this course appeals to those for whom AR is not a possibility but who are interested in reflexive and participatory approaches. The course starts with definitions of action research and an introduction some of the theoretical perspectives to be picked up later in the course. The practicalities of planning and structuring a project using both cyclical and linear approaches are considered.

You will explore the tension between the participant and researcher and how this impacts on the micro politics of the research setting. A review of the methodological implications of different theoretical stances will focus especially on critical theory and post-modernism. Reviews of frameworks for evaluating action research will lead to discussion of the extent to which claims made by AR enthusiasts can be justified.

The course will encourage you to participate and will offer opportunities for you to give your own presentations. Readings may also be differentiated according to your background and interests. As action research is not a method as such it will adopt a reflective approach rather than provide tips for new researchers. Throughout the course, you will be asked to keep a reflective journal, which will form the basis for assessment and will feed into discussion.

During the course you will: develop understanding of practical and political issues posed by action-orientated research in a variety of settings; develop a theoretical stance towards action-oriented and participatory research and gain competence in planning and evaluating action research projects.


100%: Seminar


100%: Practical (Portfolio)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 12 hours of contact time and about 138 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2024/25. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.