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Action Research: Definition | Difference from Fundamental Research

Action Research: Definition | Difference from Fundamental Research


The concept of action research is understood by defining the term action research especially in the field of education.

According to Good,

“Action research is research used by teachers, supervisors and administrators to improve the quality of their decisions and actions.”

According to J. W. Best,

“Action research is focused on the immediate application, not on the development of theory. It has placed its emphasis on a real problem- here and now in a local setting.”

According to George J. Mouly,

“On the spot research aimed at the solution of an immediate problem is generally known in education as action research.”

Therefore, action research is concerned with the immediate problem faced by the teachers and administrators. It helps teachers’ in making judgment and engaging in better practices on their respective jobs.

Difference of Action Research from Fundamental Research

Fundamental research can be stated as pure research. Its purpose is to develop theories by discovering broader generalization and principles. It is very less related to the application of findings. This type of research has interested the doctoral candidates and only a small portion of teachers who have been the casual rather than active consumers are participants in this research.

Action research, on the other hand, focuses attention on the solution of the immediate problems faced by the teachers, supervisors and administrators who, while performing their duties, are the targets of study in this research. It emphasizes a real practical problem in a local applicability and not in terms of universal validity. It starts with dissatisfaction on the part of teachers and administrators with what they have been doing traditionally and is carried out to improve their practices at their own initiative. It is less complex than fundamental research. An average teacher can also understand such research with a little amount of effort. Therefore, it is more meaningful, feasible and effective than the fundamental research.


The main objectives for carrying out action research are:

  • To improve the practices going on in the schools.
  • To remove the notion that educational research is the job of specialists only.
  • To make teachers and the educational administrators research-minded.
  • To develop in the practitioners the required confidence and ability to carry out research for solving their own problems.
  • To make the students, teachers and the educational administrators more conscious about their problems and immediate solutions.
  • To make the schools or educational personnel more cooperative and democratic in their work.
  • To make the environment of the school more conductive for effective teaching and learning.


  • Action research is focused on the immediate problems and their problems and their solutions within available resources.
  • It is not concerned with the building of theories, broad generalizations and principles.
  • It aims to improve the practices or work conditions of the people who conduct such researches.
  • It involves little efforts, resources and finances in comparison to fundamental or pure researches.
  • The person who conducts the research and applies its findings is the one and the same.
  • It inculcates a spirit and an ability in the practitioners to improve their practices.
  • Its main purpose is to create such healthy and proper conditions an environment as to facilitate better teaching as well as learning for the maximum welfare of the students.

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