Last Updated on March 20, 2024 by Faisal Khan

Action research refers to those studies that seek to evaluate, investigate, and analyse issues to devise practical solutions. Theoretical research often adds value to the literature and has theoretical implications. On the other hand, action research addresses problems and challenges faced by practitioners and helps them make informed decisions. This article will tell you about action research studies, types, and their importance. 

What are action research studies?

Action-based research refers to approaches that seek to improve conditions and practices in several fields. Researchers often refer to action research studies as participatory action research or community-based research. Public policy practitioners and development researchers often conduct participatory or community-based research. The aim and purpose of this type of research are to identify the existing challenges and issues that exist at the community level. 

After studying the problem, the researcher probes deeply into the matter and aspires to devise practical solutions for the problems. Healthcare practitioners benefit greatly from the insights generated by action research studies. Healthcare practitioners often conduct action-based research to improve their practices. These practices aim to improve the overall healthcare conditions at the community, national, or international levels. The goal of action-based research is to bring changes in specific environments. However, this is the fact that only dissertation proposal writing services are helpful to achieve its goals.

The merits of action research include its emphasis on developing answers to the real-world issues. Furthermore, action research can strengthen professionals by involving them in the study process and any following innovation or deployment initiatives. Action-based research can also include taking help from independent researchers to improve the practices. An independent researcher can help the practitioners identify issues and find and apply workable remedies. He can also help practitioners regularly track and evaluate the procedures and methods of change.

What is the purpose of action research studies?

  • Action-based research helps practitioners in any field to improve the standards of practice.
  • Changes in practice help practitioners implement the changes and improve the conditions.
  • Action-based research entails engagement, assessment and reflective thinking.
  • Action-based research involves participation and collaboration. People work together to achieve similar goals.
  • Fosters reflection based on the interpretations made by the researchers
  • Knowledge is action oriented. It stems out of the real world and seeks to devise practical solutions. 
  • Problem-solving has crucial importance in action research studies
  • Conclusion in action-based research becomes apparent as the research progresses and events unfold. 

What are the different types of action research studies?

  1. Positivist action-based research 

Logical positivism is a dominant paradigm in scientific studies. The central tenet of positivism in research is that comprehending objective reality is only possible through the five senses. The rationale for using the five senses is that acquisition of objective knowledge is only possible through first-hand experiences and its verification by different observers. Human beings can comprehend a phenomenon logically through empiricism. 

Positivist action research studies seek to verify and validate a hypothesis in real-life contexts. It involves employing inductive and deductive logic to derive hypotheses from theories. The approach in positivist action-based research depends largely upon quantitative research methods. Researchers seek to identify and determine the relationships between the variables. The correlation and linkages between the variables have useful, practical implications for devising solutions in real-world situations.   

  1. Interpretative action research

Interpretative action research conceptualizes reality as socially constructed. Interpretative action research opposes the fundamental notions of positivism. Interpretivism is a prominent research approach in social sciences. It relies on qualitative data for interpreting problems and issues. It seeks to devise practical solutions after considering the complex issues. The interpretative approach entails analysing, evaluating and reflecting on real-world issues with a subjectivist paradigm. 

In action-based studies, the interpretative approach involves utilising ethnographical and community-based studies. Researchers often live among the subject population and try to understand their issues and problems from their lens rather than applying foundational theories. It helps researchers gain a deeper understanding of the issues and devise solutions for complex problems. Interpretative action research involves the comprehension of socio-cultural realities. It has useful implications for development studies for devising context-specific solutions. These solutions aim to improve the conditions of the people and inform the practitioners for devising effective remedies. 

  1. Critical action research 

Critical action research studies apply critical frameworks for identifying the problems and devising solutions for specific contexts and environments. Praxis research informs the epistemological foundations of critical action research. The concept of praxis was coined by Aristotle, which entails acting upon the scenarios experienced by people. The derivation of knowledge through real-world observations has practical implications for theory. The concept of praxis specifies that knowledge gained through practice is a continuous process. 

What are the processes involved in action research studies?

Action research studies entail creating knowledge for specific contexts and environments. Action research is participatory and involves the following processes:

  1. Making a Plan

The first process in action research studies is to plan about the change. The researcher must identify the problem first and plan to bring a change. Planning a change involves the identification of initiatives and ideas that need redressal. 

  1. Observation 

The second process in action-based research involves observing real-world issues. Researchers gather data through observations. The data collection depends upon the approach of the research that whether it is quantitative or qualitative. Positivist action-based research relies on quantitative data to observe reality and collect data. On the other hand, interpretive action-based research requires qualitative data for recording observations about the social phenomenon. 


Recursiveness is an important concept in action-based research. Many researchers argue that action-based studies are not linear. The processes always overlap with each other, and many things emerge in action-oriented studies. There are multiple solutions to a problem, and researchers must cater to every possibility. Action-oriented research studies are time-consuming, and it is an ongoing process. 


Action research studies have useful, practical implications. Health care professionals and social sciences practitioners benefit greatly from action-based research. It caters to the specific needs in a particular context and identifies the problems for creating solutions. The solutions have real-world applications which improve the overall conditions of people.