1 Why should I use action research?
Because you want to change your practice. You may be concerned that things might not be going as you wish, or you may need to implement a new initiative but are unsure how to do it effectively. What you want is a way of sorting out these concerns that offers practical solutions, but that derives from the specific circumstances of your practice. You know that someone else’s solution may have merit, but that it is never quite right for the individual situation within which you work. You know that practice is always influenced by context.
2 How does this qualify as research?
Because the act of finding your solution makes you understand your practice better – not only what you are doing, but also the factors that affect what you do. Action research therefore has two aspects. The starting point is to sort out a problem or issue in practice; to this extent an action researcher seeks a solution. But the process can also be used as a deliberate attempt to understand practice better – a traditional research attitude. What is most important in both approaches is that you are open, honest and rigorous.
3 What do we mean by practice?
From the perspective of action research, the best way to think about practice is the way you carry out your professional actions. This is, of course, what you do, but it is also why you think you should be doing things the way you do. You will hear of the ‘theory-practice divide’; action research as an approach cuts across this divide, encouraging a practitioner to consider both aspects as part of a single whole.
The aim of an action researcher is to bring about development in his or her practice by analysing existing practice and identifying elements for change. The process is founded on the gathering of evidence on which to make informed rather than intuitive judgements and decisions. Perhaps the most important aspect of action research is that the process enhances teachers’ professional development through the fostering of their capability as professional knowledge makers, rather than simply as professional knowledge users. In an age of centralisation and the proliferation of national guidelines and strategies, action research can help teachers feel in control of their own professional situation. read more
source : http://www.edu.plymouth.ac.uk/resined/actionresearch/arhome.htm