Action Research

For this project I’m using practical action research (Hinchey, 2008) to examine existing practices and perceptions surrounding participatory journalism in the newsroom at CBC Toronto. I’m hoping to “identify action strategies for improvement” (p. 39) that could possibly be transferred to any newsroom to improve the quality of news coverage and public discourse.

I chose action research because of its focus on participatory, collaborative methods that allow for multiple viewpoints (O’Brien, 1998)–one of the reasons I’m doing this blog. I genuinely want feedback, even from people who completely disagree with me 🙂

Another major reason I chose action research is that it is a method that allows you great flexibility in your research–it’s all about finding out what works for you, not working within the confines of one paradigm. This quote from a book titled “You and Your Action Research Project” pretty much sums it up:

  • “We are asking you to approach our text in the spirit of an invitation to dance. If you see anything of value in what we are doing, do use it and create your own approach in your own context. By offering your account it gives other people the opportunity to learn from you” (McNiff, Lomax, Whitehead, 2002, p. 1).

The other big selling points for me are that participants in an action research project aren’t seen as subjects but collaborators; interviews are conversations not a formalized list of questions; subjectivity is not an issue but a reality; research and coding of data are extensive and thorough, but conclusions are open to interpretation.

Action research really never ends, it’s a continuum of reflection–another reason why having this blog during my research has been so beneficial. Below you will find some sources on action research I found very helpful. I’ll be adding info on this page about my thoughts on action research as my work progresses.

Hinchey, P. (2008). Action Research. New York, NY: Peter Lang Publishing Inc.

McNiff, J., Lomax, P., Whitehead, J. (2002). You and your action research project. London, England: Routledge

O’Brien, R. (1998). An overview of the methodological approach of action research. Retrieved from:

Seidman, I. (2006). Interviewing as Qualitative Research: A guide for researchers in education and the social sciences. New York, NY: Teachers College Press

Stringer, E. T. (2007). Action Research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publishing.


2 thoughts on “Action Research

  1. I just finished showing the rough draft of one of my findings sections to a research participant and was told I’d successfully represented the show he worked on and identified all the key issues–great news, and another reason I love action research. The ability for everyone involved in the process to be reflexive and provide his or her input truly adds to the quality of the end result.

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