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How can practice be understood and developed? What part can action research play in that process? What principles lie at the heart of action research and how can they be adopted? How can action research bring about democratic and collaborative changes to practice? These and other questions are answered in this book which offers both a practical step-by-step guide to action research and an examination of the underlying principles and challenges. Action research as an approach aims to generate knowledge and achieve principled change. This book explores the overarching features and a variety of models of action research to provide advice, guidance, and support on its conduct and to identify challenges that may arise, with a focus on understanding and changing practice as a result. Throughout the book examples of action research illustrate each of the stages of action research so that you can see how action research has been conducted and applied in practice, and how this relates to the principles and practices of action research discussed in the book. Conducting action research can present a number of challenges. This book includes reflection points on the challenges posed, as well as advice on how these challenges may be addressed in order to achieve embedded and sustainable change. "The book to recommend to your students to help them understand how action research has developed as a form of inquiry and support them to plan their own studies. By clearly setting out the principles that underpin the process, and by linking to examples of how others have carried out research across a range of professions, it goes beyond being a basic introductory text and provides them with multiple routes into this complex and challenging area. Whether you are a novice or experienced researcher this book will provide you with new ways of thinking and challenge your conceptions about the theory and practice of action research. Drawing on a wide range of theoretical and practical resources it will help you position yourself amongst the various influences that have shaped the area. The clearly laid out chapters provide you with a step by step process to designing an action research project. At each stage it provides links to key constructs and examples that will help you clarify your thinking and support as you implement your study." (Professor Mark Hadfield, Director, Centre for Developmental and Applied Research in Education, University of Wolverhampton, UK). "This book fully embraces the 'glorious and challenging diversity of action research' and is essential reading for anyone interested in undertaking any form of educational research. Written by a passionate exponent of action research, this book provides an excellent introduction into the topic and develops a number of key issues about the nature and context of action research. The author provides a detailed discussion of the current debate and goes on to deal with the practical challenges involved in the development of action research projects. Well written, in a challenging and accessible style, Action Research makes a major contribution to the improvement of teaching and learning that lies at the heart of action research." (Ian Abbott, Director, Institute of Education, University of Warwick, UK). "This refreshing new book will prove invaluable to teachers embarking on Masters-level Action Research studies. By drawing widely on scholarship to illuminate the practical challenges and problematic issues arising for practitioner-researchers, this book operates as a guide, a resource and also as a stimulating companion through the research process; it encourages readers to design and to refine action research approaches that meet the needs of their learners and the wider community. It will help teachers to redefine their practices and to confidently establish themselves as principled and professional teacher-researchers." (Dr Andy Convery, University of Sunderland, UK). "This book is a rich and useful text both for those wanting to explore the practice of action research and the key ideas underpinning it as an approach. Andrew Townsend brings much experience as a researcher, thinker and developer of action research in educational settings to this book." (Professor Colleen McLaughlin, University of Cambridge (moving to Sussex)). "I have recommended this book for practitioners on the action research programme we carry out. It is much more than a how to guide; it raises the fundamental questions about the nature of action research. One of its key strengths is that it discusses the tensions within action research in a critical manner and invites readers to reach their own conclusions. It succeeds admirably in its aim of appealing to a broad readership, including those new to action research or those wanting to know more about it." (Mick Hammond, University of Warwick, UK).