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Action Research (30 credits at level HE7)

You will employ research rigour and apply practitioner and academic knowledge to an action inquiry. In choosing a topic, you justify with evidence your focus for action inquiry

30 credits at level HE7


In preparing for action research you will be asked to look critically at different approaches to research and engage in online dialogue with an expert. In selecting supporting theory and methods of data collection you will be expected to explain decisions made and evaluate your work in the light of experience and a review of the literature. An essential part of these processes is online peer support and review and so evidence of high quality participation and critical dialogue in the online community is expected.


Content will be largely determined by the student researcher when relating their focus for inquiry in the work-context to the intended learning outcomes for the module. It is expected that this content will be inter-disciplinary in nature and draw on academic and professional sources including work-colleagues and online community experience and know-how. In addition, specific topics common to the professional theme of the course and other topics relating to the knowledge about action inquiry will be identified and supported by experts participating in hot-seat discussions, where student researchers ask questions and experts respond.

All resources required for the delivery of the module will be available online. In addition, learners will identify resources in the workplace, in libraries, and online that is relevant to their own inquiry.

Topics that may be encountered include:

  • different views of action research and associated ethics;
  • the literature on your work context and improvement;
  • the range of data collection techniques and analytical methods available for research;
  • analysis of data;
  • and presention of findings.


Learning will be supported through an online community of inquiry where student researchers, course staff and invited ‘experts’ will engage in discussions, debates and group activities to explore key concepts, ideas, relevant topics and offer moral support.

Student researchers are expected to develop study habits which enable learning and contribute to assessment through:

  • personal reflection in a learning log;
  • regular participation in the online community and
  • and creative reporting to form a 'patchwork' for assessment.

Student researchers will:

  • identify a focus for their inquiry around issues or opportunities to take action for improvement that they have identified in their work practice;
  • plan an inquiry with learning activities that address each of the intended learning outcomes of the module;
  • undertake their inquiry and share selected parts with student researchers for critical feedback;
  • for each learning activity, create a product for assessment in the student researcher' choice of genre and media;
  • and evaluate the inquiry.

Learning facilitators will:

  • promote community discussion on potential focii for inquiry;
  • privately agree student researcher commitment to inquiry proposals;
  • draw out issues arising in inquiries for community discussion;
  • model critical feedback in the online community;
  • and make summative assessment of student researchers' work, noting strong points and points to consider with targets for improvement.

Assessment will be through an e-portfolio of work which will address each of the learning outcomes. It will include a summative commentary identifying the individual student researchers learning in relation to the intended learning outcomes for the module in a coherent account of their learning journey.


 Learning Outcomes
when you have successfully completed this module you will:
Assessment Criteria
to demonstrate that you have achieved the learning outcome you will:
1. Critically evaluate approaches to action research Reflect critically on the evidence of your contribution in the online community in a debate about approaches to action research
2. Plan and implement an effective and ethical action research which addresses work context needs Create a well-argued justification for your plan based on context needs and relevant literature and carry out an effective and ethical action research
3. Defend appropriate data collection techniques and methods of analysis Create a critical review of techniques and methods with advantages and disadvantages for your action research
4. Evaluate others' critique of your findings Share your findings, synthesise feedback from others' and create a reflective piece which evaluates these and their implications for future action



Your achievement of the learning outcomes for this module will be tested as follows:

Patchwork media: an assessment e-portfolio of learning activities with a summative commentary identifying learning achieved related to intended learning outcomes.


  • Gregory, I (2003). Ethics in Research. London: Continuum International.
  • Marshall, J. (1999). Living life as inquiry. Systemic Practice and Action Research. 12 (2), p155-171.
  • Dick, B. (1999). Sources of rigour in action research: addressing the issues of trustworthiness [Online]. Available from: [Accessed April 2008]
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