Developing Critical Understanding by Teaching Action Research to Undergraduate Psychology Students

Sep. 01, 2010

Source: Educational Action Research, Volume 18, Issue 3, p. 319 – 335. (September 2010).

Action research assumes the active engagement of the stakeholders, such as the community, in the research, and a multiple-level process of reflection in order to evaluate and monitor the actions taken. This makes action research a suitable methodology to increase the critical understanding of the participants.

In this article, the authors describe the challenge of teaching action research within the context of an undergraduate community health psychology module.

The module was designed using principles from transformative learning, critical pedagogy and action learning. The module took place over one semester; and 15 students (13 females, two males) participated in the module.

The authors discuss the background to the module development and the alignment of the learning objectives with the teaching and assessment methods, and reflect upon the students' experiences in the module and the learning outcomes.

The authors conclude by addressing the major challenges involved in teaching action research to increase critical understanding:
the ability to engage in deep learning of undergraduate psychology students;
the authors role and expectations as tutors on the course; and
the current higher education system in which action science yet has to find a place.

Updated: Jan. 23, 2011