An action research paper documents a "cycle of inquiry," in which the writer evaluates a problem and develops a strategy of reform. Educators and educational administrators typically use this writing format to foster continual improvement in teaching or organizational methods. Action research papers include several predefined steps, including problem identification, data collection, interpretation of varying theories, proposed resolution and implementation plans. Rather than analyzing problems objectively, the goal is for writers to assess their own roles in promoting progress.
Action research papers provide a valuable inquiry process for settings in which a group of professionals need ongoing reform to deliver the best results. The topic may involve fixing an existing problem, such as student absenteeism, or learning about a subject that seems promising, such as blending learning models. As action research papers are informal and intended for an organizational audience, the format varies while incorporating staple elements. The paper may be written in first person and include an abstract.
Based on thorough investigative research, the opening sections of an action paper evaluate existing theories and values from other experts alongside the writers' proposed beliefs. Another important element is the problem statement, which identifies the focus, research questions and challenges the writer faces in developing an effective strategy. The body of the paper addresses the writer's methods of data collection and analysis of their impact. Data collection usually involves actionable fieldwork, enabling researchers to tailor their analyses to their own environments. Toward the conclusion, the paper reports findings and presents a plan to take action to implement a proven, repeatable method.