Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Wesley Seminary at IWU emphasizes that students should each week apply what they are learning and report back the results. Then they rework their plans and apply them again. This requires them to work, dialogue and fine-tune their plans with other leaders, lay leaders and even non-churchgoers. This type of research often involves “action research,” defined and explained by the Center for Collaborative Action Research hosted by Pepperdine University.
Understanding Action Research
by Margaret Riel, Center for Collaborative Action Research, retrieved 10/4/15 from http://cadres.pepperdine.edu/ccar/define.html
… Action researchers examine their interactions and relationships in social setting seeking opportunities for improvement. As designers and stakeholders, they work with their colleagues to propose new courses of action that help their community improve work practices. As researchers, they seek evidence from multiple sources to help them analyze reactions to the action taken. They recognize their own view as subjective, and seek to develop their understanding of the events from multiple perspectives. The action researcher uses data collected from interactions with others to characterize the forces in ways that can be shared with other practitioners. This leads to a reflective phase in which the action researchers formulates new plans for action during the next cycle.
Action research provides a path of learning from and through one’s practice by working through a series of reflective stages that facilitate the development of progressive problem solving (Bereiter & Scardamalia, 1993). Over time, action researchers develop a deep understanding of the ways in which a variety of social and environmental forces interact to create complex patterns. Since these forces are dynamic, action research is a process of living one’s theory into practice (McNiff & Whitehead, 2010).
Read the full article (updated yearly) at … http://cadres.pepperdine.edu/ccar/define.html