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Action Research Preparation (30 credits at level HE7)

You prepare for undertaking action research through consideration of research approaches, data collection & analysis methods, plans for undertaking research and reviewing existing knowledge

30 credits at level HE7


You will learn some of these ideas by discussion in the onlin community and at times leading debate. This means introducing new ideas, synthesising others' arguments and summarising a range of positions.

You will design a research plan for the Action, Exhibition, Validation and Defence Module and undertake a trial of one of your data collection and analysis approaches, collaborating in a learning set to share knowledge about a range of approaches.
You will evaluate your approach and amend your research plan accordingly.


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:
• Research approaches
• Data collection and analysis methods
• Reviewing literature and professional knowledge


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 
• 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;
• 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;
• 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. Explain different approaches to research and differentiate between the wide range of views as to what constitutes action research Analyse sources and arguments and lead debate in the online community
2. Plan rigourous and effective action research projects Create and revise a professional working document noting questions, methodologies, resource implications, ethics approach, data collection & analysis methods, schedule and indicative literature
3. Review existing knowledge around your proposed action research Critically compare and contrast existing professional and academic knowledge
4. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of a range of data collection and analysis methods for action research Report on a trial run of a data collection & analysis method and critically evaluate it and other methods through discussion in the online community


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. 


  • McNiff J, Lomax P, Whitehead J (1996) You and Your Action research Project, London: Routledge
  • Coghlan D, Brannick T, (2001) Doing Action Research In Your own Organisation, London: Sage Publications Ltd
  • Denzin, N.K. & Lincoln, Y.S., (2005) The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Research, Sage Publications
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