Action research: a guide to process and procedure


Marshall, P.; McKay, J.


This paper grows out of concerns about the conduct of action research in the field of Information Systems (IS). While action research has many attributes that wo uld suggest it was ideally suited to an applied discipline such as IS, there are no well articulated processes or procedures to guide the action researcher. By virtue their rejection of many of the tenets of positivistic enquiry, action researchers also by definition reject the well-established processes and procedures that guide the conduct of quality, rigorous, positivistic research. This becomes problematic only when one considers that there is comparatively little available to take its place. This paper attempts to address this apparent vacuum in processes and procedures underpinning action research, and offers three elements to help build rigour and quality into an action research study. These three elements include developing a framework to support quality and rigorous action research, reconceptualizing action research as being comprised of both problem solving and research interests, and articulating a process model for action research to guide the action researcher. Using these three elements to support understanding and decision making is suggested to be the first step in articulating a process and procedures for the conduct of action research interventions.

Publication year


Publication type

Conference paper


European Conference on Research Methods in Business and Management, 29-30 April 2002, Reading, England, UK