Concordia Student-Run Food Groups Research Project

Critical Participatory Action Research

Action Research

Action research is a diverse field; there are many different types of action research[i] including community-based participatory research[ii], participatory action research[iii], critical participatory action research[iv], activist research[v], action science[vi], to name a few. Each type of action research approach differs slightly from the other according to the scope, discipline, purpose, guiding principles, and participants (demographic and level of involvement).

McNiff (2013) suggests that there is no such ‘thing’ as action research – instead, action research refers to a process of people interacting together, learning from one another and describing how the learning could improve their practices and situations. McNiff (2013) wrote,

“…it is important to remember that there is no such ‘thing’ as ‘action research’. It is a form of words that refers to people becoming aware of and making public their processes of learning with others, and explaining how this informs their practices. Furthermore, no one can learn on behalf of anyone else; we all have to learn for ourselves. Often, however, people write about action research as if it were a ‘thing’, a self-contained area to be studied, separate from themselves…The idea of action research refers to the theoretical framework and organizing principles that guide practice, as well as its procedures, which is why it comes under the broad heading of ‘practice-based research’. Action research is not a thing in itself: the term always implies a process of people interacting together and learning with and from one another in order to understand their practices and situations, and to take purposeful action to improve them.” [vii]

Regardless whether action research is a ‘thing’ or not, action research refers to a multidisciplinary[viii] research approach where investigators engage with practitioners in their local environments to learn from practices of these participants and together, solve issues.[ix] By partaking in the research process, participants can make improvements in their immediate communities from which the research is based. [x] Action researchers typically reject conventional research approaches[xi], usually those based on positivist methods that believe in separating the researcher from the study – although some action researchers use more formal/academic methods while others use less formal methods involving no real ‘research method’ at all.[xii] Thus, action research can be viewed as more of a research orientation rather than a method because action researchers use a variety of methods including qualitative and quantitative methods, among others. Although not all action researchers agree. In particular, Kemmis, S., McTaggart, R., Nixon, R. (2014) argue,

“We do not regard the ‘research’ part of critical participatory action research as a matter of employing or applying some ‘correct’ set of research ‘techniques’ borrowed from other fields like agriculture (the field for which many of our experimental statistics were originally developed). In our view, critical participatory action research is not a technique or a set of techniques for generating the kinds of ‘generalizations’ that positivist social and educational research aim to produce. On the contrary, critical participatory action research aims to help people understand and transform ‘the way we do things around here’. In particular, critical participatory research aims to help participants transform (1) their understandings of their practices, (2) conduct of their practices, (3) conditions under which they practice, in order that these things will be more rational…more productive and sustainable, and more just and inclusive.” [xiii]

The debate as to whether action research is a method or an orientation will not be resolved here, however it is important to note that there are many different points of view including those that employ more traditional approaches to solve community based problems (like qualitative and quantitative methods) and those who reject the notion that action research has any empirical roots.

Action research also involves varying degrees of participation from research participants[xiv]. Some action research approaches involve participants as co-researchers (like participatory action research) and some action research approaches employ ‘outside’ researchers who engage with the community they are studying.

Action researchers typically use reflexive processes consisting of spirals of planning, acting, observing, and reflecting. I elaborate on action spirals below. Action theory encompasses both action, a practice referring to what people do, and research, a process of inquiry.[xv]

Action research encompasses a variety of methodological principles. In Somekh’s (2006)[xvi] book Action Research; A Methodology for Change and Development, she outlines eight methodological principles that describe the action research process. These principles are in line with the definition of action research provided above. According to Somakh (2006).

1 – Action research integrates research and action.
2 – Action research is conducted by a collaborative partnership of participants and researchers.
3 – Action research involves the development of knowledge and understanding of a unique kind.
4 – Action research starts from a vision of social transformation and aspirations for greater social justice.
5 – Action research involves a high level of reflexivity and senility to the role of the self in mediating the whole research process.
6 – Action research involves explanatory engagement with a wide range of existing knowledge drawn from psychology, sociology, and other fields of science, in order to test its explanatory power and practical usefulness.
7 – Action research engenders powerful learning for participants through combining research with reflection on practice.
8 – Action research locates the inquiry in an understanding of broader historical, political and ideological contexts that shape and constrain human activity at even the local level, including economic factors and international forces such as the structuring power of globalization. [xvii]

There are other methodological principles outlined by different authors. McNiff (2013) [xviii] emphasizes that action researchers focus on ontological issues[xix], how participants and researchers can come together and co-create knowledge. Furthermore, in defining political activist ethnography, Smith (1990) stressed the importance of ontological approaches to activist knowledge formation. While studying the AIDS epidemic in Toronto, Smith (1990) recommended that researchers take the ‘ontological shift’ by focusing on the individual and their experience rather than the narrative upheld by the ruling political regime. Smith (1990) recommends taking the following approach,

  • Start with the actual lives of people and undertake an analysis of a world known reflexively,
  • Stake out an ontological commitment to a social order constituted in the practices and activities of people
  • Take their analytic, the notion of “social relations”
  • Are based on the use of meetings with government officials and professional cadres as ethnographic data
  • Analyze texts such as media reports of government departments, in developing a description of how the ruling regime works
  • Illustrate the necessity of the bracketing ordinary political explanations – the technique of the materialist epoch, as I call it – in order to provide a scientific account of the social organization of a ruling regime. [xx]

In addition, McNiff (2013)[xxi] also points out that action researchers take a different epistemological approach than positivists. McNiff (2013) emphasizes that learning is rooted in experience rather than something that is separated from the people, the researcher and/or the research process. Furthermore, McNiff (2013) believes that knowledge is not a static process; it is dynamic and continuously changing. McNiff (2013) states,

Epistemology is the name given to the study of what we know and how we come to know it. Traditional scientific and social scientific researchers tend to see knowledge as a free-standing unit, to be found ‘out there’ in books and databases. Knowledge therefore becomes separated from the people who create it. Action researchers see knowledge as something they do, a living process. People generate their own knowledge from their experiences of living and learning. Knowledge is never static or complete; it is in a constant state of development as new understandings emerge. This view of knowledge regards reality as a process of emergence, surprising and unpredictable. There are no fixed answers, because answers become obsolete in a constantly changing present, and any answers immediately transform into new questions…Learning is rooted in experience. It involves reflecting on practice (a process of critical discernment), deciding whether this practice is in line with your espoused values, and deciding on future action. [xxii]

 

Origins of Action Research

The origin of action research is mostly attributed to Kurt Lewin[xxiii] who, in 1946, wrote a paper about action research and minority problems[xxiv]. Lewin (1946) described action research as a type of comparative research that focuses on the conditions and effects of various types of social action. He regards action research as important as other types of science and views action research encompassing mathematics, conceptual analysis, field and laboratory experiments with the end goal of social change. Lewin (1946) wrote,

“The research needed for social practice can be characterized as research for social management or social engineering. It is a type of action-research, a comparative research on the conditions and effects of various forms of social action, and research leading to social action. Research that produces nothing but books will not suffice. This by no means implies that the research needed is in any respect less scientific or ‘lower’ than what would be respired for pure science in the field of a social event. I am inclined to hold the opposite true. Institutions interested in engineering, such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Have turned more and more to what is called basic research. In regards to social engineering, too, progress will depend largely on the rate with which basic research in social sciences can develop deeper insight into the laws which govern social life. This ‘basic social research’ will have to include mathematical and conceptual problems of theoretical analysis. It will have to include the whole range of descriptive fact-finding in regards to small and large social bodies. Above all, it will have to include laboratory and field experiments in social change.”[xxv]

In his paper on group decision and social change, Lewin (1947) wrote about a research process that involved planning, fact-finding (i.e. reconnaissance) and execution. Lewin’s model consists of a process where someone starts with a general idea and/or an objective they would like to accomplish. To begin, action researchers conduct some preliminary research about the idea, then modify the original plan according to what was discovered. Once the plan is established, it is put in place. Then there is a period of reconnaissance where the action is evaluated. Once the action is assessed, the information is used to re-plan another action, drawing from the insight gained from the reconnaissance period.

“Planning usually starts with something like a general idea. For one reason or another it seems desirable to reach a certain objective. Exactly how to circumscribe this objective and how to reach it is frequently not too clear. The first step, then, is to examine the idea carefully in the light of the means available. Frequently more fact-finding about the situation is required. If this first period of planning is successful, two items emerge: an “over-all plan” of how to reach the objective and a decision in regard to the first step of action. Usually this planning has also somewhat modified the original idea. The next period is devoted to executing the first step of the over-all plan.…reconnaissance or fact-finding has four functions: It should evaluate the action by showing whether what has been achieved is above or below expectation. It should serve as a basis for correctly planning the next step. It should serve as a basis for modifying the “overall plan.” Finally, it gives the planners a chance to learn, that is, to gather new general insight…The next step again is composed of a circle of planning, executing, and reconnaissance or fact-finding for the purpose of evaluating the results of the second step, for preparing the rational basis for planning the third step, and for perhaps modifying again the over-all plan. Rational social management, therefore, proceeds in a spiral of steps each of which is composed of a circle of planning, action, and fact-finding about the result of the action.”[xxvi]

Many other researchers, especially from the field of education, have adapted Lewin’s model to fit their approach. Elliot (1991) [xxviii],  revised Lewin’s original idea to allow the general idea to change from cycle to cycle. He also believed that reconnaissance should occur more often in the reflexive process. Calhoun’s (1994) [xxix] model of an Action Research Cycle includes identifying a problem, collecting data, organizing data, analyzing and interpreting data, and taking action. Wells’s (1994) [xxx] Idealized Model of the Action Research Cycle includes observing, interpreting, planning change, acting, interpreting (thought the practitioner’s personal theory informed by the action research cycle. Kemmis (1998)[xxxi] constructed a spiral, action-reflection type, model similar to Lewin that includes reconnaissance, planning, first action, monitoring, reflecting, rethinking, and evaluation. Sagor’s (2000) [xxxii] seven step process includes selecting an area of concentration, developing theories, identifying research questions, collecting data, analyzing data, reporting results, and taking informed action. Stringer’s (2004) [xxxiii] Action Research Helix is made up of looking, thinking and acting. This process is repeated over time. Crestwell’s (2005)[xxxiv], model includes determining the best research approach, identifying the problem, locating resources to help with the problem, identifying information sources, collecting data, analyzing the data, developing a plan for action, implementing the plan, and reflecting on the impact on the plan. In each example, the action research process is reflexive and involves planning, acting, researching, interpreting the effect of the action, then reflecting on the plan and reorganizing a new action. I continue by expanding on participatory research, then I explore critical participatory action research.

Participatory Action Research

Participatory action research is a type of action research whereby participants are also co-researchers; however, there are different points of view of how to involve partisans as co-researchers. Grgyris and Schon (1989) believe that if participants also co-design the study, they will provide information that is more valid and will generate more internal commitment. Grgyris and Schon (1989) wrote,

“Participatory action research (PAR) is a form of action research that involves practitioners as both subjects and coresearchers. It is based on the Lewinian proposition that causal inferences about the behaviour of human beings are more likely to be valid and enactable when the human beings in question participate in building and texting them. Hence it aims at creating an environment in which participants give and get valid information, make free and informed choices (including the choice to participate), and generate internal commitment to the results of their inquiry. “[xxxv]

Kemmis, McTaggart, and Nixon (2014) also suggest that participants are the ones in control of the research, however they don’t rule out using outside researchers altogether. Kemmis, McTaggart, and Nixon (2014) wrote,

“…participatory research and critical participatory action research share the central aspiration that the research should be the responsibility of participants alone, though participants also remain open to receiving assistance from outsiders where it is useful. A key question here is whether and the extent to which the self-interests of such outsiders coincide or conflict with the self-interests of the other participants. In our view, this is a question to be asked by and of all outside researchers and consultants working with participant researchers.” [xxxvi]

Lawson (2015) acknowledges that participants are integral to the research process, however he suggests that participatory action research is still conducted by ‘outside researchers’ but in close collaboration with participants. Lawson (2015) outlines guidelines for participatory research that involves three steps; consult with locals before conducting research, return to locals before interpreting the research findings; finally, ask local experts about how to use the research. Lawson (2015) writes,

“People other than formally trained researchers have good ideas to offer about the research question(s), the actual design, the interpretation of the findings, and how the findings should be used. This participatory need-as-opportunity is especially apparent when the researcher ventures into unfamiliar conceptual territory and possesses limited knowledge and understanding. Under these circumstances, the researcher needs help, particularly from the persons with local knowledge. Such a frame of reference for the three defining features of participatory research. They are best presented as action-oriented, procedural guidelines for this kind of research. First: Consult local experts, including some persons whom you will recruit and engage as research participants before you finalize decisions about your research. Second: Return to the local experts when you are striving to interpret your research findings. Third: If you want your research used in a timely manner, again consult local experts on how to best facilitate the use of research knowledge.”[xxxvii]

According to Lawson (2015), participatory action research encompasses five connected and integrated priorities. First, it allows democratic participation in practical problem solving from those who do not have formal research training. Secondly, democratic participation takes place through reflexive processes of planning, doing, studying, acting. Third, new understandings are gained from process two and are incorporated into local problem-solving. Fourth, the understandings gained from the participatory action process can be used by practitioners and policy makers. Fifth, local knowledge gained from the participatory action process can safeguard against global knowledge generalization; participatory action research helps safeguard local knowledge. Lawson (2015) writes,

“Participatory action research (PAR) is a special investigative methodology. It connects and integrates five priorities. First, PAR enables democratic participation in real-world problem-solving by local stake holders who typically lack formal research training and credentials when the research begins. Second, this democratic participation occurs in successive action research cycles, which can be described simply as plan, do, study, act. Third, new knowledge and understandings are generated as a local problem-solving proceeds, thus qualifying PAR research. Fourth, the practice-generated knowledge responds to practitioners’ and policymakers’ knowledge needs because relevant, useful knowledge for policy and practices derived from them. Fifth, PAR’s patently local knowledge provides a safeguard against an impending threat associated with globalization – namely, practice and policy homogenization.” [xxxviii]

Like Kemmis, S., McTaggart, R., Nixon, R. (2014), Lawson (2015) qualifies participatory action research as a ‘special investigative methodology’; however, participatory action research also uses a variety of methods, like quantitative and qualitative methods. Regardless whether participatory action research is a specific methodology or orientation, an important feature of participatory action is its reflexive nature.

Participatory action research derives from Kurt Lewin’s action-spiral approach described above.[xxxix] Like action research, there are many types of participatory action research and many approaches about how to apply reflexive frameworks. Some examples include participatory rural appraisal, community-based participatory action research, and visual/digital participatory action research, to name a few. Before moving to critical participatory action research, I introduce two examples of participatory action methodologies from Chevalier and Buckles (2013) [xl].

For Chevalier and Buckles (2013) [xli]  participatory action research is an expression of science that is focused on self-experimentation and reflectivity. They stress the importance of reconnecting democracy and science by rooting both theory and technique back to the level of the human scale. Chevalier and Buckles (2013) built a model in which there are three equal sized circles that overlap – as a Venn diagram. These circles represent participation (i.e. life in society), action (i.e. experience, emotions, sensations, technique and practice) and the last circle represents research (i.e. mind, thought, science, reasoning, meaning, and epistemology). Participatory action research is reflected in the middle of the Venn diagram where each circle overlaps. Therefore, participatory action is equally understood as participation, research, and action.

Chevalier and Buckles (2013) [xlii]  discuss two research tools for meaningful inquiry, action research and training (ART) and planning, inquiry and evaluation (PIE). The goal of these tools is to facilitate communication between researchers and participants and to better understand the research priorities. In the ART method, researchers and participants indicate on the Venn diagram which activities the project should encompass – mostly action, mostly training, mostly research, combination of action and training, combination of research and training combination of action and research or the combination of all three, action research and training. This method is used to identify where effort should be focused. Furthermore, it allows researchers and participants to plan the project based on the activities that they designate as most important.

The PIE method incorporates planning, inquiry, and evaluation. By identifying how much weight the researchers and participants want to allocate to either planning, inquiry and evaluation, together they can develop meaningful actions. In the PIE approach, researchers and participants rate whether grounding, mediation, tooling, timing and scaling are in the phase of inquiry, planning or evaluation. Furthermore, each criterion is given a value between 0 and 3 depending on the strength significance. For example, regarding grounding, if the project is heavily grounded in the practices of those who are participating in the research project, a score of 3 would be given. It there is no significance between grounding and the project, a score of 0 would be given. These two methods are great starting points for participants and researchers who want to embark in participatory action research. Once this process is finished, participatory action researchers are encouraged to map the research process, then implement a reflexive strategy to maximize achieving the goals and priorities set out by the group. Chevalier and Buckles (2013)[xliii] provide two methods for embarking on a participatory action research project; however, there are other many ways to perform participatory action research.

 

Critical Participatory Action Research

Critical participatory action research refers to a type of participatory action theory that allows participants to address collective problems, especially those that are irrational, unsustainable, and unjust. Kemmis, McTaggart, and Nixon (2014), suggest that is why critical participatory action research is ‘critical’. Kemmis, McTaggart, and Nixon (2014) write,

“Only participatory research creates the conditions for practitioners, individually and collectively, to transform the conduct and consequences of their practice to meet the needs of changing times and circumstances by confronting and overcoming three kinds of untoward consequences of their practice, namely, when their practices are, (a) irrational because the way participants understand the conduct and consequences of their practices are unreasonable, incomprehensible, incoherent, or contradictory, or more generally because the practice unreasonably limits the individual and collective self-expression of the people involved and affected by the practice. (b) unsustainable because the way the participants conduct their practices are ineffective, unproductive, or non-renewable either immediately or in the long term, or more generally because the practice unreasonably limits the individual and collective self-development of those involved and affected, or (c) unjust because the way participants relate to one another in practice, and to others affected by their practice, serves the interests of some at the expense of others, or causes in reasonable conflict or suffering among them, or more generally because the practice unreasonably limits the individual and collective self-determination of those involved and affected…it makes critical participatory research ‘critical’.” [xliv]

Like mentioned above, critical action theory aims to help participants transform the understanding, conditions and conduct of their practice in order to be more just, sustainable, and rational. Kemmis, McTaggart, and Nixon (2014) suggest that in order to accomplish this, the first step is to take a historical approach to determine how we got there – how things have come to be. Secondly, participants and researchers need to adopt a critical stance to find out what affects current practices bring about. Third, researchers and participants engage in communication to understand each other’s points of view. Fourth, researchers and participants act to transform their practices to reach desirable outcomes. Fifth, the process is documented and monitored to find out that positive and negative consequences were produced by the action. These steps do not have to follow that specific order. [xlv]

Critical participatory action focuses on social change that empowers communities and eliminates social injustice. There are many ways to design a critical participatory action research project. Please see our research methods section for a breakdown of our methodology.

 

[i] “Because of the diversity, action research sometimes occurs under different names…”

Kemmis, S., McTaggart, R., Nixon, R. (2014) The Action Research Planner: Doing Critical Participatory Action Research, Springer.

[ii] Hacker, K. (2013) Community Based Participatory Research, Sage.

[iii] In Lawson, H. A., Caringi, L. P., Jurkowski, J. M., Bozlak. C. T. (2015) Participatory Action Research, Oxford University Press.

[iv] Kemmis, S., McTaggart, R., Nixon, R. (2014) The Action Research Planner: Doing Critical Participatory Action Research, Springer.

[v] Frampton, C., Kinsman, G., Thompson, A. K., Tilleczek, K. (2006) Sociology for The Changing World: Social Movements/Social Research.

[vi] Argyris, C., 7 Schon, D. (1989) Participatory Action Research and Action Science Compared: A Commentary, The American Behavioral Scientist, 32(5), p. 613 – 614.

[vii] Here is a longer version of the quote in the text. McNiff (2013) writes, “…it is important to remember that there is no such ‘thing’ as ‘action research’. It is a form of words that refers to people becoming aware of and making public their processes of learning with others, and explaining how this informs their practices. Furthermore, no one can learn on behalf of anyone else; we all have to learn for ourselves. Often, however, people write about action research as if it were a ‘thing’, a self-contained area to be studied, separate from themselves. I am doing this right now, in that I am speaking about an object called ‘action research’ but not doing anything other than talk about it. Many people speak like this all the time, as if action research were something abstract, a set of procedures to be applied to practice, rather than a living experience. This perspective tends to distort the underpinning values of action researchers such as autonomy, independent thinking and accountability. So when we speak and write about action research, it is important to remember that we are speaking of real-life experiences of real-life people. The meaning of action research is in the way people learn to negotiate ways of living together and explaining how they do so, emphasizing the problematics such as the success. Yet while there might be no such thing as action research, there are people who are action researchers. They might not always call themselves by that name, but if they wished to give their work a theoretical framework, or some underpinning organizing principles, they could well call these ‘action research’…The idea of action research refers to the theoretical framework and organizing principles that guide practice, as well as its procedures, which is why it comes under the broad heading of ‘practice-based research. Action research is not a thing in itself: the term always implies a process of people interacting together and learning with and from one another in order to understand their practices and situations, and to take purposeful action to improve them.

McNiff, J (2013) Action Research: Principles and Practice, Routledge, p. 24.

[viii] [Action research]…has been practiced in many fields – for example, the women’s movement, Indigenous land rights, green and conservation activism, disease prevention, and in professional fields such as education, nursing, medicine and agriculture. (p. 4)

Kemmis, S., McTaggart, R., Nixon, R. (2014) The Action Research Planner: Doing Critical Participatory Action Research, Springer.

[ix] According to Argyris and Schon (1989) “Action research takes its cues – its questions, puzzles, and problems – from the perceptions of practitioners within particular, local practice contexts. It bounds episodes of research according to the boundaries of the local context. It builds descriptions and theories within the practice context itself, and tests them there through intervention experiments – that is, through experiments that bear the double burden of testing hypothesis and effecting some (putatively) desirable change.”

Argyris, C., 7 Schon, D. (1989) Participatory Action Research and Action Science Compared: A Commentary, The American Behavioral Scientist, 32(5), p. 612 – 613.

[x] Kemmis, McTaggart, and Nixon write, “[two key features of action research]…are apparent: the recognition of the capacity of people living and working in particular settings to participate actively in all aspects of the research process; the research conducted by participants is oriented to making improvements in practices and their settings by the participants themselves.”

Kemmis, S., McTaggart, R., Nixon, R. (2014) The Action Research Planner: Doing Critical Participatory Action Research, Springer.

[xi] Kemmis, McTaggart, and Nixon write, “…Each of the approaches where described in the literature of action research rejects conventional research approaches where an external expert enters a setting to record and represent what is happening.”

Kemmis, S., McTaggart, R., Nixon, R. (2014) The Action Research Planner: Doing Critical Participatory Action Research, Springer.

[xii] Thiollent (2011) writes, “Among the supporters of action research and participatory action research, some researchers radicalise their choice, turning these methods into a procedure of cultural activity, or a policy solely dedicated to popular ends in accordance to the view of stakeholders, with no account of scientific or academic entities. Without denying the possibility of affirming the popular preference, other researchers adopt a more professional perspective, in which the methods are used in professional activities of social, educational and other areas, and the results of the research, apart from responding to the demand of the stakeholders, may generate academic works and papers published in scientific journals.

Thiollent, M. (2011) Action Research and Participatory Research: An Overview, International Journal of Action Research, 7(2), pp 162 – 163.

[xiii] Kemmis, S., McTaggart, R., Nixon, R. (2014) The Action Research Planner: Doing Critical Participatory Action Research, Springer, p. 67.

[xiv] According to Thiollent, “We cannot address all these issues within the limited framework of this article. We shall observe that, very often, the term “participation” or the adjective “participatory” are associated to research as if it were a simple, complete and crystal clear characterization. The research is or is not participatory. If it were not then it would have to be conventional, positivistic, quantitative, etc. This dichotomy seems misplaced.

Macaulay, Commanda, Freeman, Gibson, McCabe, Robbins, and Twohig (1999) wrote that, “Research can entail varying degrees of participation.”

Thiollent, M. (2011) Action Research and Participatory Research: An Overview, International Journal of Action Research, 7(2), p. 168.

Macaulay, A, C., Commanda, L. E., Freeman, W. L., Gibson, N., McCabe, M. L., Robbins, C. M., Twohig, P. (1999) Participatory Research Maximizes Community and Lay Involvement, BMJ, 319(18), p. 775.

[xv] According to McNiff (2013), “Action research (and, for that matter, all kinds of research) is more than just doing activities. Remember that the term ‘action research’ contains two words: action and research. The ‘action’ of action research refers to what you do. The ‘research’ of action research refers to how you find out about what you do.

McNiff (2013) Action Research: Principles and Practice, Routledge, p. 25.

[xvi] Somekh, B. (2006) Action Research: A Methodology for Change and Development, Open University Press, pp. 6 – 8.

[xvii] Somekh, B. (2006) Action Research: A Methodology for Change and Development, Open University Press, pp. 6 – 8.

[xviii] McNiff, J (2013) Action Research: Principles and Practice, Routledge.

[xix] McNiff defines ontology as “the way we view ourselves, a theory of being. You ask, Who do I think I am? How you think about yourself influences how you see other people, and how you position yourself in the research”.

McNiff, J (2013) Action Research: Principles and Practice, Routledge, p. 27.

[xx] Smith, G. (1990) Political Activist as Ethnographer, Social Problems, 37(4), 629 – 648.

[xxi] McNiff, J (2013) Action Research: Principles and Practice, Routledge.

[xxii] McNiff, J (2013) Action Research: Principles and Practice, Routledge, p. 28 – 29.

[xxiii] Although McNiff (2013) suggests that the work of Collier is the first identifiable starting point of action research with his work with Native American communities.

McNiff (2013) Action Research: Principles and Practice, Routledge, p. 56.

[xxiv] Lewin, K. (1946) Action Research and Minority Problems, Social Issues, 2(4), p. 34–46.

[xxv] Lewin, K. (1946) Action Research and Minority Problems, Social Issues, 2(4), p. 35.

[xxvi] Lewin, K. (1947) Group Decision and Social Change. In: Newcomb, T. and Hartley, E., Eds., Readings in Social Psychology, Holt, Rinehart & Winston, New York, p. 200.

[xxvii] http://concordiafoodgroups.ca/

[xxviii] Elliott, J. (1991) Action Research for Educational Change, Bristol, PA: Open University Press.

[xxix] Calhoun, E. F. (1994) How to Use Action Research in the Self-Renewing School, ASCD.

[xxx] Wells, G. (1994) Changing Schools from Within: Creating Communities of Inquiry, Portsmouth, Heinemann.

[xxxi] Kemmis, S., & McTaggart, R. (1998) The Action Research Reader (3rd ed.), Geelong, Victoria, Australia, Deakin University Press.

[xxxii] Sagor, R. (2000) Guiding School Improvement With Action Research, ASCD.

[xxxiii] Stringer, E. T. (2004) Action Research in Education, Prentice Hall.

[xxxiv] Creswell, J. W (2005) Educational Research: Planning, Conducting, and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative Research, Merrill/Prentice Hall.

[xxxv] Argyris, C., 7 Schon, D. (1989) Participatory Action Research and Action Science Compared: A Commentary, The American Behavioral Scientist, 32(5), p. 613.

[xxxvi] Kemmis, S., McTaggart, R., Nixon, R. (2014) The Action Research Planner: Doing Critical Participatory Action Research, Springer, p. 9 – 10.

[xxxvii] Lawson, H. A (2015) Introduction,. In Lawson, H. A., Caringi, L. P., Jurkowski, J. M., Bozlak. C. T. (2015) Participatory Action Research, Oxford University Press, p. xv – xvi.

[xxxviii] Lawson, H. A (2015) Introduction,. In Lawson, H. A., Caringi, L. P., Jurkowski, J. M., Bozlak. C. T. (2015) Participatory Action Research, Oxford University Press, p. ix – xi.

[xxxix] According to Lawson, “Action research is the mother of this research family [participatory action research]. In other words, action research came first. PAR and other relatives came later. In fact, some PAR-related controversies are rooted in core disagreements about action research. Action research can be traced to the pioneering work of Kurt Lewin.”

[xl] Chevalier, J. M., & Buckles, D. J. (2013) Participatory Action Research: Theory and Methods for Engaged Inquiry, Routledge.

[xli] Chevalier, J. M., & Buckles, D. J. (2013) Participatory Action Research: Theory and Methods for Engaged Inquiry, Routledge.

[xlii] Chevalier, J. M., & Buckles, D. J. (2013) Participatory Action Research: Theory and Methods for Engaged Inquiry, Routledge.

[xliii] Chevalier, J. M., & Buckles, D. J. (2013) Participatory Action Research: Theory and Methods for Engaged Inquiry, Routledge.

[xliv] Kemmis, S., McTaggart, R., Nixon, R. (2014) The Action Research Planner: Doing Critical Participatory Action Research, Springer, p. 5 – 6.

[xlv] Kemmis, S., McTaggart, R., Nixon, R. (2014) The Action Research Planner: Doing Critical Participatory Action Research, Springer, p. 67 – 68.