INTRODUCTION Action research attempts to meets the dual goals of making action more effective and building a body of scientific knowledge around that action. Action in this context refers to programs and intervention designed to solve problems and improve condition. KURT LEWIN, as a consummate applied social scientist and motivated by an interest in eradicating the problems of society, purposed action research as a new methodology for behavioral science. LEWIN believed that research on action programs, especially social change programs, imperative if progress were to be made in solving social problem. Action research can also be undertaken by larger organizations or institutions, assisted or guided by professional researchers, with the aim of improving their strategies, practices and knowledge of the environments within which they practice.
ACTION RESEARCH: A PROCESS ANDAN APPROACH Action research may be describe as a process, that is an ongoing series of events and action. It may be defined as follows: Action research is the process of systematically collecting research data about an ongoing system relative to some objective, goal, or need of that system; feeding these data back into the system; taking action by altering selected variables within the system based on the data and on hypotheses; and evaluating the results of action by collecting more data.
Several author have noted the importance of viewing action research as a process. In a study of the Tremont hotel in Chicago, William F. Whyte and Edith L. Hamilton describe their work as follows: what was the project? It was an action research program for management. They developed a process for applying human relations research findings to the changing of organization behavior. The word process is important, for this was not a one-short affair. The project involved a continuous gathering and analysis of human relations research data and the feeding of the findings into the organization in such a way as to change behavior.
FRENCH shows how action research can be used as a generic process in organization development. The process is iterative and cyclical. He clarifies as follow: The key aspect of the model are diagnosis, data gathering. Feedback to the client group, data discussion and work by the client group, action planning, and action. The sequence tends to be cyclical, with the focus on new or advance problems as the client group learns to work more effectively together. Action research process in two different ways. It is a sequence of events and activities within each iteration (data collection, feedback, and taking action based on the data); and it is a cycle if iterations of these activities, sometimes treating the same problem several times and then moving to different problem.
etcJoint action Action (new behavior) Actionplanning(objectives of ODprogram & means of Action planning Actionattaining goals, e.g. “team planning(determination ofbuilding”) objective & how to get Discussion and work on there) feedback & emergingFeedback to key client or dataclient group Discussion & work on data feedback & data by client group(new attitudes, newFurther data gathering perspectives emerge) Feed backData gathering and Feedback to clientdiagnosis by consultant group(e.g.. In term- building Data Gathering sessions, summary (reassessment of stateConsultation with feedback by consultant; of the system)behavioral scientist elaboration by group)consultant Data gatheringKey executive perceptionof problem
ACTION RESEARCH AS AN APPROACH Action research may also be described as an approach to problem solving, thus suggesting its usefulness as a model, guide or paradigm. The desired out comes of the action research approach are solutions to immediate problems and a contribution to scientific knowledge and theory. HERBERT SHEPARD SAYS one of the behavioral scientist involved in that program defines the nature of action research. Action research is the application of the scientific method of fact-finding and experimentation to practical problems requiring actions solution and involving the collaboration and cooperation of scientists, practitioners and laypersons.
ACTION RESEARCH MODEL AS A PROBLEM-SOLVING APPROACHobjective Action Action Step step 1 2 Fact- planning planning finding
The action research model is a normative model for learning, or a model for planned change. Its main features are – In front of intelligent human action there should be an objective, so fuzzy or distorted. And in advance of human action there should be planning , although knowledge of paths to the objective is always inadequate. Action itself should be taken a step at a time, and after each step it is well to do some fact-finding. The fact-finding may disclose whether the objective is realistic, whether it is nearer of more distant than before, whether it needs alteration. Through fact-finding, the present situation can be assessed, and this information, together with information about the objective, can be used in planning the second step. Movement toward an objective consists of a series of such cycles of planning-acting-fact-finding-planning. SHEPARD highlights the relation among goals(objective), planning, and action in his diagram- a point we think is an important feature of action research. Both HE and FRENCH emphasize that action research is research inextricably linked to action; it is research with a purpose, that is, to guide present and future action
HISTORY IN ACTION RESEARCHJOHN DEWEY translated the scientific method ofproblem solving into terms understandable topractitioner and layperson who incorporated theideas into action research several years later.The origin of action research can be traced to twoindependent sources.One source JOHN COLLIER was a man of practicalaffairs the other KURT LEWIN was a man of science.JOHN COLLIER was commissioner of indian affairsfrom 1933 to 1945, a role in which he had todiagnose problems and recommend remedialprograms for improving race relations.
COLLIER called this form of research action research . The solution must be relevant and feasible.To be able to implement a good action plan requires cooperation of decline.The other measure source of action research,social psychologist KURT LEWIN was profoundlyinterested in applying social science knowledge to help solve social problems.
LEWIN applied action research principle to improving intergroup relations and to changing eating habits, LIPPITT and LIPPITT and RADKE apply the rule to an extensive community relations project. BAVELAS conducted an action research project on leadership training coach and French applied the model to studying resistance to change in an industrial plant.
VARIETIES OF ACTION RESEARCH There are 4 varities- 1.Diagnostic. 2.Participant. 3.Empirical. 4.Experimental.
EXAMPLES OF ACTION RESEARCH 1.A comprehensive survey feedbackprogram by Gavin. 2.Shani & Eberhardt conducted an action research to improve the effectiveness of heath care terms at hospital. 3.An Indian Company L&Ts ECC group.
CONCLUSIONTwo philosophical and pragmatic values underline action research. The first is that programs designed to solve real problems should be based on valid public data generated collaboratively but clients and consultants . This belief calls for actions to be based on diagnostic research.The second value is that action in the real world should be accompanied by research on that action in order to build a cumulative body of knowledge and theory of the effects of various actions directed to solving real world problems.Thus actions to solve real world problems offer a unique opportunity for both the scientific researcher and the administrator-layperson if they approach from the standpoint of the action research model