The Study of Action Research

Group of local primary school children during our Winter Solstice celebration performing their poetry.

Group of local primary school children during our Winter Solstice celebration performing their poetry.

As part of Global Generation’s Masters program, I have been learning all about what Action Research actually is. This study will hopefully enable me to become a better educator and facilitator of education programs that we offer. There are many different definitions and interpretations of what Action Research is. The important factors that stand out to me in reading the literature is that it’s about critically looking at my own experience; where I’m looking more deeply into my questions, experience and ideas. It involves asking others, in my field, what they think and feel about what it is that I’m doing – both in terms of the content and how I’m delivering it.

For me, this is not just an interesting academic exercise but one in which I would like to make a difference in the world. It’s an approach where I’m examining how other people respond to what it is that I’m doing, but rather than trying to conduct research on others, I am doing it with them.

In this approach, I see myself as a strong participant in the process. One that is different from traditional research (and academia) that assumes that the world is ‘out there’, separate from me. Action Research recognizes that we tend to see the world, not as it is, but as we are. In this way of thinking we are not separate from others and the world. Furthermore, we are co-creating ‘the world’ as we interact with it.

During my study, there are 4 different groups/situations that I plan to enquire: -

  1. With my colleagues

  2. In my workshops with children and young people who come to Global Generation

  3. With the schools we work with

  4. With other adults interested in our work

In short, I’m about to embark on a journey of investigating the education that I’m involved in and facilitating; an investigation into my experience. I hope this journey will help me improve my own practice.

As an Action Researcher I ask myself: “How am I going to interrogate my inner experience and record that?” How am I to make my findings accessible to others that are involved in this work? My practice of enquiry will primarily be through Journal writing. I will then endeavor to distill and clarify my findings and thoughts. I also plan to do some drawing and painting. Inspired by Emma and Johnny, two of my Masters colleagues, I am beginning to find that arts practice is a great way to express, clarify and inspire my thoughts and feelings. I will also work with my interviews and dialogues with other adults in the field.

I’m looking forward to seeing how my enquiry will unfold. Hopefully, in the long term my study will be useful to Global Generation by allowing us to develop our own approach to educating the children and young people that we work with.