Author: Andrew Sanchez
Category: Science and research
Some researchers believe that action research is a research method, but in my opinion it is better understood as a methodology. In action research, the researcher works in close collaboration with a group of people to improve a situation in a particular setting. The researcher does not ‘do’ research ‘on’ people, but instead works with them, acting as a facilitator. Therefore, good group management skills and an understanding of group dynamics are important skills for the researcher to acquire. This type of research is popular in areas such as organisational management, community development, education and agriculture. Action research begins with a process of communication and agreement between people who want to change something together. Obviously, not all people within an organisation will be willing to become co-researchers, so action research tends to take place with a small group of dedicated people who are open to new ideas and willing to step back and reflect on these ideas. The group then moves through four stages of planning, acting, observing and reflecting. This process may happen several times before everyone is happy that the changes have been implemented in the best possible way. In action research various types of research method may be used, for example: the diagnosing and evaluating stage questionnaires, interviews and focus groups may be used to gauge opinion on the proposed changes. Ethnography
Ethnography has its roots in anthropology and was a popular form of inquiry at the turn of the century when anthropologists travelled the world in search of remote tribes. The emphasis in ethnography is on describing and interpreting cultural behaviour. Ethnographers immerse themselves in the lives and culture of the group being studied, often living with that group for months on end. These researchers...