scope of research dissertation

“Critical thinkers” have the dispositions and abilities that lead them to think .. well as beliefs as the end point of a process of critical thinking (Ennis ; Bailin et al. .. tests of critical reading and evaluation and of critiquing an argument. Observational abilities require an understanding of the difference.

It focuses on practice of enquiry through concurrent activities. But it is not simply a problem-solving activity.

BLOG – 87: Action Research – A Professional Development Approach for Students and Teachers

There is dual commitment in action research — to study a system and concurrently to collaborate with members of the system in changing it, in what is together regarded as a desirable direction. Several attributes separate action research from other types of research. Firstly, it focuses on turning the people involved into researchers too. Secondly, it has a social dimension. The research takes place in real world situations and aims to solve real problems. Thirdly, the initiating researchers make no attempt to remain objective, but openly acknowledge their bias to the other participants.

Action research shows a number of perspectives within the interpretive paradigm. Though this paradigm relies on qualitative measurement, it still retains the ideals of researcher objectivity and researcher as passive collector and expert interpreter of data. Therefore, it is also not the right paradigm for action research. Affiliation of action research lies with the paradigm of praxis. Praxis is the art of working upon the conditions one faces in order to change them. Knowledge is derived from practice and practice informed by knowledge in an on-going process — this is a cornerstone of action research.

It also rejects the notion of researcher neutrality, recognizing that the most active researcher is often one who has most at stake in resolving a problematic situation. The following table shows how action research stands in relation to some of the differences between these two Table 1. The process of action research. Extension researches are applied in nature, meaning that the findings need to be useful for changing behaviour of the clientele group. However, in reality the methods used are no different from the other social research methods except that the problems are field-oriented mostly.

Action Research

Inclusions of action research in education and management have the logic of relevance and applicability. It is a process to conduct research in a natural setting, and learns from the findings that go on to improve the situation. Here action and research go hand in hand. Research is conducted to solve a problem being encountered by the practitioners and then the researcher takes efforts to understand and conceptualize the problem and form hypothesis for alternatives. It is a cyclic process of action and reflection. The best part of the research is its focus on applicability of the solutions.

Thus, it deals with two things: action what you do and research how you learn about and explain what you do. The action aspect of action research is about improving practice.

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The research aspect is about creating knowledge about practice. The knowledge created is your knowledge of your practice McNiff and Whitehead A few examples of conventional extension research questions and action research questions are displayed in Table 2.

ACTION RESEARCH STEPS

However, action research is very challenging and difficult to do. Normally academics accustomed to conventional data-based research may find the whole exercise unpalatable and unresearch-like due to the uncertainties regarding conceiving, conducting, reporting and publishing such research. Various scholars have explained action research as emancipatory research, collaborative inquiry, and action inquiry, but all are variations on a theme. There are many models and guidelines for engaging in the action research methodology Box 2. Chambers , deliberative practice McCutcheon , praxis research Whyte ; , appreciative inquiry Cooperrider and Shrevasteva , diagnostic practice generic in medicine, remedial teaching, etc.

These models are developed and customized to particular uses, practices, participants, and situations, which have different outcomes that are likely to be reported in different ways to various audiences. The role of a researcher in action research is to produce a mutually agreeable outcome for all participants. To accomplish this he may play different roles at various stages of the process.

These are planner, leader, catalyser, facilitator, teacher, designer, listener, observer, synthesizer and reporter. The main role, however, is to nurture local leaders to the point where they can take responsibility for the process. It is a well-recognised fact that there is weak coordination and linkage between research, education, extension, and farmers. Extension researchers are not aware of field challenges and problems, therefore their research lacks in relevance, offers limited information and very little knowledge sharing between stakeholders.

On the other hand, participatory action research enables bridging of these gaps and collaborates with farmers in key activities including technology selection, dissemination, evaluation Case Study 1 , value-chain analysis Case Study 2 ,and convergence of schemes and programmes for its effective implementation Case Study 3 ,thereby breaking the traditional one-way relationship and fostering shared visions and actions among stakeholders. Action research has immense potential in extension.

In general, most research problems in extension are complex in nature, calling for multi-disciplinary collaborative action. As extension research strives to advance knowledge, one has to master the skill while solving the problem. A few examples of action research in extension science are shown in Table 3. The following research papers examined action research approaches on various aspects related to agriculture; and then were published in highly-rated and peer-reviewed international journals.

Putting people at the centre of development is the key to sustainable development. In a changing development scenario, extension professionals need to be competent in both technical areas of their field as well as in process skills. However, currently MSc and PhD research is limited by institutional mandates and protocols with a pre-determined approach, which needs to be reviewed if action research is to be encouraged.

Action research provides a unique opportunity for students to look at how participatory methods can be translated from theory into practice, how they become institutionalized, and its impact on diverse farming communities. Further, this process of participation brings change in people and nurture a sense of belonging and ownership towards developmental efforts, thereby leading to sustainability of the intervention undertaken. Argyris C. Action science, concepts, methods and skills for research and intervention. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.

Calhoun E. Action research: Three approaches.

Educational Action Research: Vol 27, No 4

Educational leadership 51 2 Checkland P and Holwell S. Information, systems, and information systems: Making sense of the field. Chichester, UK: Wiley. Cooperrider DL and Shrevasteva S. Appreciative inquiry in organisational life. In: Woodman and Pasmore eds.


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JAI Press. Linking research institute with post offices for dissemination of agricultural technologies: an action research. Indian Journal of Agricultural Sciences 82 12 — Kemmis S. Action research in retrospect and prospect. Third edition. Geelong, Victoria: Deakin University Press. Kemmis S and McTaggart R. The Action Research Planner.