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Action-Research

Action-research : a definition.

Action-research is a methodology used in social science research, where the participation of the actors is an essential element. Initiated in the U.S. during the Second World War by Kurt Lewin, then popularized in France especially by Henri Desroche, researcher in sociology and close collaborator of L.-J. Lebret, it underlies the involvement of social actors, concerned about analysing and reflecting on their own social practice, in order to improve their methods of work. According to the words of Henri Desroche, action-research advocates or confirms the actor’s participation in the research, its conception, development, diffusion and evolution” thus alternately playing “the role of the key and that of the lock”.

The Lebret-Irfed Centre uses this methodology in working out its studies, seminars and workshops.

The significant elements of action-research include the following :

  • identification of the actors involved in social practice and concerned about improving their practice by subjecting them to analysis by others
  • promotion and exchange of experiences among field actors
  • production or participation in the production of tools (surveys, questionnaires, interviews, etc.) enabling the actors to take up the appropriate methods for their research
  • collective analysis on the relevance of the social practice of each one within a methodological and participatory framework
  • outside scientific contributions meant to deepen knowledge and deduce relevant elements to the improvement of one’s own social practice
  • return to action with a new improved competency and a stronger appropriation of one’s local work.

More about this topic in French.

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