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The SAGE Handbook of Action Research

The SAGE Handbook of Action Research
Participative Inquiry and Practice

Second Edition
Edited by:

June 2012 | 752 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
'For anyone seeking to create meaning out of life, inspire others with publication of research discoveries and insights, and help the world become a better place within which to live and work, action research holds great promise as an approach. The challenge is to do it well and with rigor. The Handbook is a magnificent collection of articles that will help the reader do all of that'

- Richard E. Boyatzis, Case Western Reserve University and ESADE


'This second volume will be a welcome extension of the landmark first volume of the SAGE Handbook of Action Research. It effectively secures the field's 'second wave' in a particularly powerful and creative articulation of well-theorised practice. It could not be more timely for a fast-growing field that has attracted recent appreciation from parties as disparate as Shell, 3M, Australian Aboriginal women in outback Australia working to prevent harm to children and the Secretary General of the UN'

- Yoland Wadsworth


'For anyone thinking about or doing action research, this book is an obligatory point of reference. If any one text both maps the action research paradigm, and at the same time moves it on, this is it'

- Bill Cooke, Manchester Business School


Building on the strength of the seminal first edition, the The SAGE Handbook of Action Research has been completley updated to bring chapters in line with the latest qualitative and quantitative approaches in this field of social inquiry. Peter Reason and Hilary Bradbury have introduced new part commentaries that draw links between different contributions and show their interrelations.


Throughout, the contributing authors really engage with the pragmatics of doing action research and demonstrate how this can be a rich and rewarding reflective practice. They tackle questions of how to integrate knowledge with action, how to collaborate with co-researchers in the field, and how to present the necessarily 'messy' components in a coherent fashion. The organization of the volume reflects the many different issues and levels of analysis represented.


This volume is an essential resource for scholars and professionals engaged in social and political inquiry, organizational research and education.

Peter Reason and Hilary Bradbury
Introduction to Groundings
Patricia Gayá Wicks, Peter Reason and Hilary Bradbury
Living Inquiry
Personal, Political and Philosophical Groundings of Action Research Practice

Marja Liisa Swantz
Participatory Action Research as Practice
Md. Anisur Rahman
Some Trends in the Praxis of Participatory Action Research
Bjørn Gustavsen, Agneta Hansson and Thoralf U Qvale
Action Research and the Challenge of Scope
Hilary Bradbury et al
Action Research at Work
Creating the Future Following the Path from Lewin

Colleen Reid and Wendy Frisby
Continuing the Journey
Articulating the Dimensions of Feminist Participatory Research

M Brinton Lykes and Amelia Mallona
Towards Transformational Liberation
Participatory Action Research and Activist Praxis

Stephen Kemmis
Critical Theory and Participatory Action Research
Ray Ison
Systems Thinking and Practice for Action Research
Kenneth J Gergen and Mary M Gergen
Social Construction and Research as Action
John Gaventa and Andrea Cornwall
Power and Knowledge
Danielle P Zandee and David L Cooperrider
Appreciable Worlds and Inspired Inquiry
Mary Brydon Miller
Ethics and Action Research
Deepening Our Commitment to Principles of Social Justice and Redefining Systems of Democratic Practice

Morten Levin and Davydd Greenwood
The Future of Universities
Action Research and the Transformation of Higher Education

L David Brown and Rajesh Tandon
Action Research, Partnerships and Social Impacts
The Institutional Collaboration of PRIA and IDR

Peter Reason and Hilary Bradbury
Introduction to Practices
William R Torbert and Steven S Taylor
Action Inquiry
Interweaving Multiple Qualities of Attention for Timely Action

Victor J Friedman and Tim Rogers
Action Science
Linking Causal Theory and Meaning-Making in Action Research

Edgar H Schein
Clinical Inquiry/Research
James D Ludema and Ronald E Fry
The Practice of Appreciative Inquiry
Robert Chambers
PRA, PLA and Pluralism
Practice and Theory

Mike Pedler and John Burgoyne
Action Learning
Tom Wakeford et al
The Jury Is Out
How Far Can Participatory Projects Go towards Reclaiming Democracy?

George Roth and Hilary Bradbury
Learning History
An Action Research Practice in Support of Actionable Learning

John Heron and Peter Reason
Extending Epistemology within a Co-Operative Inquiry
Ian Hughes
Action Research in Health Care
Ann W Martin
Action Research on a Large Scale
Issues and Practices

Michelle Fine and Maria Elena Torre
Theorizing Audience, Products and Provocation
Sonia Ospina et al
Taking the Action Turn
Lessons from Bringing Participation to Qualitative Research

Hilary Bradbury and Peter Reason
Introduction to Exemplars
Varieties of Action Research

John Heron and Greg Lahood
Charismatic Inquiry in Concert
Action Research in the Realm of 'the between'

Jennifer Mullett
Presentational Knowing
Bridging Experience and Expression with Art, Poetry and Song

Marianne Kristiansen and Jørgen Bloch-Poulsen
Working with 'Not Knowing' amid Power Dynamics among Managers
From Fault-Finding and Exclusion towards Co-Learning and Inclusion

Taj Johns
Learning to Love Our Black Selves
Healing from Internalized Oppressions

Lyle Yorks et al
The Tapestry of Leadership
Lessons from Six Co-Operative Inquiry Groups of Social Justice Leaders

Rita Kowalski, Lyle Yorks and Mariann Jelinek
The Workplace Stress and Aggression Project
Ways of Knowing - Our Rosetta Stone for Practice

Meghna Guhathakurta
Theatre in Participatory Action Research
Experiences from Bangladesh
María Teresa Castillo, María Dolores Viga de Alva and Federico Dickinson
Changing the Culture of Dependancy to Allow for Successful Outcomes in Participatory Research
14 Years of Experience in Yucatan, Mexico

Lai Fong Chui
Health Promotion and Participatory Action Research
The Significance of Participatory Praxis in Developing Participatory Health Intervention

Ernie Stringer
'This Is so Democratic!!' Action Research and Policy Development in East Timor
Gillian Chowns
'No - You Don't Know How We Feel'
Collaborative Inquiry Using Children Facing the Life-Threatening Illness of a Parent

Chris Dymek
IT and Action Sense-Making
Making Sense of a New Technology

Peter Reason and Hilary Bradbury
Introduction to Skills
Jill Grant, Geoff Nelson and Terry Mitchell
Negotiating the Challenges of Participatory Action Research
Relationships, Power, Participation, Change and Credibility

Kate Louise McArdle
Getting in, Getting on, Getting out
On Working with Second-Person Inquiry Groups

Jenny Mackewn
Facilitation as Action Research in the Moment
Geoff Mead
Muddling through
Facing the Challenges of Managing a Large-Scale Action Research Project

David Coghlan and A B (Rami) Shani
Insider Action Research
The Dynamics of Developing New Capabilities

Steven S Taylor, Jenny W Rudolph and Erica Gabrielle Foldy
Teaching Reflective Practice in the Action Science / Action Inquiry Tradition
Key Stages, Concepts and Practices

Morten Levin
The Praxis of Educating Action Researchers
Judi Marshall
Finding Form in Writing for Action Research
Peter Reason and Hilary Bradbury
Concluding Reflections
Whither Action Research



This it is a compendium of guidance, reassuring the action researcher of the role of the spirit of inquiry, the often tacit nature of knowledge, the complexity and messiness of the action research process and the organizational and social worlds it inhabits and seeks to change. [...] Those PhD supervisors who have concerns about the link between individual postgraduate research and a wider social change mission have a new ‘bible’ in this handbook, as the relationship is clear throughout between academic knowledge and social and organizational change-focused purposes and practices.

Dr Maeve O’Grady
Waterford Institute of Technology

An excellent, well thought out text book that covers all the essential requirements in a practical and logical way.
Simple to read, easy to understand, this makes it an essential text book for anyone considering undertaking action research,

Mrs Cara Lesley Seston
Department of Human and Health Sciences, Huddersfield University
May 19, 2016

This book presents the latest approaches to the field of social enquiry. It explains the importance of rigor in action research. An excellent resource.

Angela Rowlands
Centre for Medical Education, Queen Mary, University of London
July 20, 2015

This text gives a wide account of various approaches to Action research and as such it is valuable at upper undergraduate and a really nice scoping text for postgraduate.

Dr Jon Cryer
School of Sport & Leisure, Gloucestershire University
June 4, 2015

This book speaks to particular aspects of action research. It offers insightful readings that offer both scope and depth. I would recommend it any student or researcher engaged in action research or participatory action research as essential reading.

Mr Jonathan Vincent
Education Studies, York St John University
May 15, 2015

This is an especially useful action research text which is an ideal companion for those heading out for the first time on an action research trail.

Mr Kieran Vivian-Byrne
Faculty of Health Sport and Science, University of South Wales (Glamorgan)
December 10, 2014

The book provides a comprehensive description of action research processes. This is a valuable book for a range of disciplines and could supplement the teaching of research methods at masters or even higher doctoral supervisory levels.

Dr James Rumbold
Faculty of Health & Wellbeing, Sheffield Hallam University
August 13, 2014

This is an excellent resource text for all levels of study in the area of action research. We have asked all of our students to purchase a copy of the text and added it to our essential purchase order for the College's Resource Centre.

Mr Andrew Thorne
Bristol Centre For Care, Health & Educ, City of Bristol College
August 27, 2015

Thank you for sending this book - it has been adopted as essential reading for this module

Mr Ian Mackay
Dept of Health,Wellbeing & the family, Canterbury Christ Church University
June 2, 2014

This book has been included in our expansive education research hub and recommended to postgraduate students.

Mrs Christine Cattermole
UCO, University Campus Oldham
February 14, 2014

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