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R O'Brien, "An Overview of the Methodological Approach of Action Research"

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O’Brien, R. “An Overview of the Methodological Approach of Action Research” University of Gothenburg, 1998


The author is an executive of a theatre company that specializes in digital productions, including digital art, photography and videography. It is therefore fitting that technology in this paper is explored at length as a tool in action research. O’Brien’s view is that, “the principle of reflective critique ensures people reflect on issues and processes and make explicit their interpretations, biases, assumptions and concerns upon which judgments are made.” O’Brien strongly supports action researchers’ rejection of the notion of researcher neutrality, understanding that, “the most active researcher is often one who has most at stake in resolving a problematic situation. “


The author convincingly presents an overview of action research as a methodological approach to solving social problems.  The principles and procedures of this type of research are well described, along with the progress this practice has made over recent years. Unlike his contemporaries, O’Brien discusses at length the ethical consideration required in action research. The author however fails to confer how ethical considerations specifically apply when technology is a key component of the research.  The case studies provide robust examples of projects in the relatively new area of social research use of information technologies. This paper is ideal for the community cultural development practitioner who embraces technology in their practice and those wishing to explore the possibilities that hi-tech tools can improve their research technics.


Tawanda Gadzikwa

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