Introduction (of Sage Handbook of action research, 2ed) / Reason & Bradbury (2008)

Citation - Reason, P., & Bradbury, H. (2008). Introduction. In P. Reason & H. Bradbury (Eds.), The Sage handbook of action research (2 ed., pp. 1-10). London: Sage Publications.

Keyword - action research


Action research is a family of practices of living inquiry that aims, in a great variety of ways, to link practice and ideas in the service of human flourishing. It is not so much a methodology as an orientation to inquiry that seeks to create participative communities of inquiry in which qualities of engagement, curiosity and question posing are brought to bear on significant practical issues. (p.1)

With in an action research project, communities of inquiry and action evolve and address questions and issues that are significant for those who participate as co-researchers. Typically such communities engage in more or less systematic cycles of action and reflection: in action phases co-researchers test practices and gather evidence; in reflection stages they make sense together and plan further actions. (p.1)


Action research primarily arises … as people try to work together to address key problems in their communities or organizations – some of which involve creating positive change on a small scale and others of which affect the live of literally millions of people. (p.1)

行動研究可以是社會或政治運動的一部分。個案:2006諾貝爾和平獎得主 Mohammed Yunus 與 Grameen Bank (鄉村銀行),便是源自於一個1978年展開的行動研究計畫。1)

On an even wider scale, action research projects and programmes such as these can also be seen as part of social and political movements for liberation and development working on a national and international scale…. the Nobel Peace Prize to Mohammed Yunus and Grammen Bank in Bangladesh. While we have yet to more fully understand Yunus' work from the perspective of action research, we quote form the work of our colleague at Harvard's Hauser Center, itself an action research think tank, who describes Grameen as an action research process: 'Yunus tested the hypothesis that accountability to peers might replace collateral as an incentive for poor borrowers to repay small loans, and helped create the practice innovations for a micro-credit movement that now serves millions of borrowers aroud the world (Brown, 2002:32)'

歷史起源:Lewin 與其他二戰後的社會科學研究者。自由論者,如 Paulo Freire 。哲學上的 liberal humanism, pragmatism, phenomenology, critical theory, systemic thinking and social construction; 不同領域中學術與專業實踐工作, organization development, teaching, health promotion and nursing, and community development both in Western countries and in the majority world. (p.3)


None of these origins is well linked to the mainstream of academic research with its conventional if unsupportable notions of objectivity in either North America or Europe: objectivist, hypothetico-deductive research retains a dominance, and although this has been strongly challenged by qualitative and interpretive approaches to research, the emphasis of the latter has been on representation of the world rather than action within in (Greenwood and Levin, 2001)(p.3)


Indeed it is more useful to compare action research to the clinical practice of physicians than to the work of conventional social scientists. We are intrigued that in the USA the National Institute of Health now regularly calls for 'participative action research' when soliciting grant proposals, and the World Bank publishes a Participation Sourcebook.


  • 是透過有創意地行動方案,回應人們需求、解決人們組織與社群生活中的問題的實踐。
    is a set of practices that responds to people's desire to act creatively in the face of practical and often pressing issues in their lives in organizations and communities;
  • 要求與人們密切地協同合作,建立一個共有的對話與發展空間
    calls for engagement with people in collaborative relationships, opening new 'communicative spaces' in which dialogue and development can flourish;
  • 借鏡於許多致知的方法。包括在探究中獲得的證據,以及以各種形式呈現給更廣的大眾
    draws on many ways of knowing, both in the evidence that is generated in inquiry and its expression in diverse forms of presentation as we share learning with wider audiences;
  • 是價值導向的,找出能豐富個人、社群與整體的實踐行動
    is values oriented, seeking to address issues of significance concerning the flourishing of human persons, their communities, and the wider ecology in which we participate;
  • 是有生命的、變動的、無法被預先決定的過程。[好難翻譯]
    is a living, emergent process that cannot be pre-determined but changes and develops as those engaged deepen their understanding of the issues or be addressed and develop their capacity as co-inquirers both individually and collectively.



action research is a participatory process concerned with developing practical knowing in the pursuit of worthwhile human purposes. It seeks to bring together action and reflection, theory and practice, in participation with others, in the pursuit of practical solutions to issues of pressing concern to people, and more generally the flourishing of individual persons and their communities. (p.4)


行動研究與傳統學術研究(conventional academic research)的異同(p.4):

不同 行動研究 陳規學術研究
produce practical knowledge
research relationship
:參與研究對象。與對象共同提問、行動、解讀研究 :超然於研究對象
conceiving knowledge
knowledge is a living, evolving process of coming to know rooted in everyday experience; it is a verb rather than a noun.
relation to practice

參與轉向(participative turn)或行動轉向(action turn),將帶領我們超越近年來的「語言學轉向(language turn)」典範。(p.5)


the primary purpose of action research is not to produce academic theories based on action; nor is it to produce theories about action; nor is it to produce theoretical or empirical knowledge that can be applied in action; it is to liberate the human body, mind and spirit in the search for a better, freer world.(p.5)

First-, Second-, Third-Person Research/Practice


  • 第一人稱行動研究
    是指研究者能在自己生活中探究,有選擇且有意識地行動,評估這項行動在外在世界的效果。第一人稱研究將研究帶往我們自己的行動時刻 – 並非作為一個局外研究者,而是所有日常生活活動的範圍。在我們的行動研究實踐中,第一人稱研究提供了基礎的實踐與訓練,能夠檢視自我行為的影響。
    First-person action research/practice skills and methods address the ability of the researcher to foster an inquiring approach to his or her own life, to act choicefully and with awareness, and to assess effects in the outside world while acting. First-person research practice brings inquiry into more and more of our moments of action - not as outside researchers but in the whole range of everyday activities. In our action research practice, first-person inquiry provides a foundational practice and disciplines through which we can monitor the impact of our behaviour (Marshall and Mead, 2005; this issue is exemplified, for example, in Chapter 3 & 16). (p.6)
  • 第二人稱行動研究
    Second-person action research/practice addresses our ability to inquire face-to-face with others into issues of mutual concern - for example in the service of improving our personal and professional practice both individually and separately. Second-person inquiry starts with interpersonal dialogue and includes the development of communities of inquiry and learning organizations.
  • 第三人稱行動研究
    的目標是擴大專案影響範圍。如 Gustavsen 所指出的,如果行動研究只就單一個案來考慮,則影響將很有限。我們需要建立一系列事件以互相串連成為較廣的潮流 – 我們可以稱為社會運動或社會資本。因此,第三人稱研究策略的目的在於建立一個更廣的,不僅僅是面對面的,無人情味的探究社群。書寫研究結果與其他產出,也是第三人稱研究的一種重要形式。
    Third-person research/practice aims to extend these relatively small scale projects to create a wider impact. As Gustavsen points out, action research will be of limited influence if we think only in terms of single cases, and that we need to think of creating a series of events interconnected in a broader steam - which we can see as social movements or social capital (Gustavsen, 2003a, 2003b). So third-person strategies aim to create a wider community of inquiry involving persons other face-to-face (say, in a large, geographically dispersed corporation), have an impersonal quality. Writing and other reporting of the process and outcomes of inquiries can also be an important form of third-person inquiry.



  • 主觀性,第一人稱語調
  • 尊重互為主觀性,第二人稱語調
    any given particular set of intersubjective, second-person voice;
  • 客觀性尋求,第三人稱語調 the objecitvity-seeking, third-person voice
We suggest that the most compelling and enduring kind of action research will engage all three strategies.

A family of approaches


We thoroughly agree with Robert Chambers' call in Chapter 20 for an 'eclectic pluralism [which] means that branding, labels, ownership and ego give way to sharing, borrowing, improvisation and creativity, all these complemented by mutual and critical reflective learning and personal responsibility for good practice' (p.312)


“From its origins as an action-research project in 1976, Grameen Bank has grown to provide collateral-free loans to 7.5 million clients in more than 82,072 villages in Bangladesh and 97% of whom are women.”