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Understanding Action Inquiry (40 credits at level HE4)

Action Inquiry is a process by which you can better understand your work practice by observing, developing and carrying out an action plan to effect change and improvement.

40 credits at level HE4


You collect evidence which provides a basis for reflection and analysis. On this basis you propose a further cycles of action inquiry. Action enquiry is particularly valuable for those seeking to improve their working practice. It will develop valuable workplace skills in ICT, communication, presentation, reflection and analysis. This module will help you understand what Action Inquiry involves, why it is valuable and where and when it is best used. It will equip you to carry out the research essential to meeting the requirements of this undergraduate degree.


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:

  • Action Inquiry
  • Ethical issues
  • Data collection


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. Describe the key elements of an action inquiry Show the key elements of action inquiry in a well-structured plan
2. Plan an action inquiry Complete a plan for an action inquiry which provides an effective basis for an action inquiry in your work practice
3. Implement an action inquiry Maintain a log of action inquiry activity, desk research and evidence gathering
4. Review and reflect on the action inquiry Share a report in the online community which stitches the patchwork developed so fa


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.


  • Coghlan, D. and Brannick, D. (2000) Doing action research in your own organization, London: Sage
  • Macintyre, C (2000). The art of action research in the classroom. London: David Fulton
  • McNiff, J. Lomax, P. & Whitehead, J (1996). You and your action research project. London: Routledge Falmer
  • Stringer, E. T. (1999) Action Research. London: Sage
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