Action Research for Educational Reform: Remodelling Action Research Theories and Practices in Local Contexts

Mar. 31, 2009

Source: Educational Action Research, Volume 17, Issue 1 (March 2009), pages
5 - 21.

The article examines how action research theories and practices are remodelled in local contexts and used to support educational reform. The article analyzes 46 publications from the period 2000-2008. It identifies five 'variations' in the globalized theory and practice of action research: action research in times of political upheaval and transition; action research as a state-sponsored means of reforming schooling; co-option of action research by Western governments and school systems to control teachers; action research as a university-led reform movement; and action research as locally-sponsored systemic reform sustained over time.
A common feature in these 'variations' of action research is the importance each demonstrates of working towards a resolution of the impetus for action with the reflective process of inquiry and knowledge generation, to generate new practices. The article also offers a framework to enable the analysis of how action research differs in local settings within and across national boundaries.
At the end, the article suggests that the emerging variations of action research in many countries during the period 2000-2008 can be construed as an example of Appadurai's 'globalization from below'. According to Appadurai's phrase, teacher-action-researchers contribute knowledge and learning from multiple local sites about the process of effective educational reform.

Updated: May. 14, 2009