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Writing and Doing Action Research

Writing and Doing Action Research

November 2014 | 304 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
In Writing and Doing Action Research, Jean McNiff provides a comprehensive and user-friendly guide to the practical aspects of writing and doing action research.


Written for practitioners involved in higher degree courses and professional development programmes, and students undertaking methods courses, this book includes guidance on how to:

  • Carry out an action research project in your setting
  • Present your findings in a dissertation, report or thesis
  • Write up your research with an eye to informing policy
  • Demonstrate the quality of your research and writing
  • Be critical and write theoretically
  • Write for journals and prepare thesis and book proposals

The book contains excerpts taken from action research projects in a range of settings and presents exercises to help you develop successful written accounts of your research.


Writing and Doing Action Research is an essential text for anyone working with action research, providing vital guidance on the preparation and production of texts, how this type of work is assessed and enabling you to get the best results from your research.

What is written in an action research text?
What do you need to know about action research in order to write it?
What do you need to know to write action research? Why do you need to know it?
What do you write in an action research text?
What is the form of an action research text?
Becoming a writer: researching writing practices
Becoming a writer
Writing a good quality text
Planning for the production of texts
Writing an action research text
Writing proposals
Masters and doctoral dissertations and theses
How will the quality of your action research dissertation/thesis be judged?
Writing for publication
Writing for academic and professional journals
Writing your first academic book
The significance of your text
The significance of your action research text
Some implications – where next?

The leading expert in practitioner research, Jean McNiff ensures that the practice of writing, as well as the practice of research, is beautifully revealed.

Professor Julian Stern
Faculty of Education and Theology, York St John University

In this accessible and inspiring book Jean McNiff draws on a lifetime's experience of working on collaborative action research projects around the world in many different institutional settings and professional contexts. Writing and Doing Action Research provides a clear and staged introduction to action research methodology and offers sound advice on writing for publication and dissemination. While grounded in the relevant methodological literature it speaks directly and with passion to its readership. Students and practitioners alike will find this an invaluable resource. 

Jon Nixon
Centre for Lifelong Learning Research and Development, Hong Kong Institute of Education

The book is a useful addition for those completing masters or doctoral degrees, and early career researchers. It is also a useful text for those who

are encountering research, and specifically action research, for the first time to support the emergent researcher to develop academic and writing skills congruent with authenticity and beliefs. However, it is also an important social research text as it reminds us of the power for transformation and change through academic writing.

Maureen McGinty, Plymouth University
International Journal of Social Research Methodology

By the end of the introduction, I had been won over by the author’s assertion that I should “be confident to contribute to human and planetary well-being through dialogue”, somewhat comforted by the romantic view of myself as an “activist writer”. By the final page, I am convinced that it is time to take the first steps down the “tough road” of sufficient self-education to re-engage and start writing about my practice. This book is both a valuable resource for the action researcher and a call to action for the practitioner: whatever your practice, start writing and doing action research.

Genevieve Cother
Action Learning: Research and Practice

This is an outstanding book by an author who keeps on extending and communicating her expertise in a manner that is informative and enabling. The students and I have found it very user friendly and accessible while stretching and challenging all. I can't recommend this highly enough

Mrs Michele Fuller
Department of Education, Colchester Institute
September 12, 2016

Useful supplementary text for those undergraduates who are doing action research as part of their self study project.

Mrs Melanie Mackinder
Early years Education, Bishop Grosseteste University
June 14, 2016

Good supplementary books for pre-reg nursing student

Mr Moortooza Puttaroo
School of Nursing , Midwifery and Healthcare, University of West London
June 2, 2016

This is a really useful introduction to Action Research and I am recommending it to all my Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice students (HE lecturers).

Miss Rayya Ghul
Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit, Canterbury Christ Church University
May 10, 2016

Specific text not generally appropriate to students not already on a research degree

Ms Karen Hillison
Department of Social Work, Hull University
August 6, 2015

Very useful on how to write up action research.

Dr Rachel Shanks
School of Education, Aberdeen University
December 7, 2015