The purpose of this report is to show the learnings of the groups research into four research methods. This group researched and discussed each method to gain a good understanding of each research method. In this individual report, the two research methods of action research and content analysis will be focused on and discussed. What follows will be a description of each form of research containing information sourced from references, text books, websites or scholarly articles and an explanation of how the method can be used in an information services setting. Articles will be evaluated for each of the research methods, thus giving a real world application of how these research methods can be used and outlining which research method will be best for which form of situation. The articles will also be critically analysed and commented on, particularly in light of the way the research methods were used in them. This report will not delve into the research or the articles of the other two methods, ethnography and case study research, these may be looked into in the other group member’s individual reports, though some of the conclusions and deductions on the research methods themselves were helped to evolve through the help of the other group members with the use of the erstwhile discussions.
Research method 1: Action Research
Action research is defined by Bridget Somekh (2005, p.89) as “directly addressing the problem of the division between theory and practice”. This is a great definition as that is the core of action research, putting research into action and deriving action from that research. However, another important aspect is the utilization of people and using people for research purposes. These aspects are stated by Dick (2000, p.1) when he notes the main aspects of action research that differentiate it from other methods since action research is cyclic, participative, qualitative and reflective.
So we have established that action research is a collaborative research process heavily involving people. Collaborative, in the way that it involves collaboration between the researcher and the participants/subjects, and collaborative in that it involves action and theory, at the same time. Action research is cyclic and allows researchers to learn from their mistakes or rather their experiments and refine their techniques until the result is achieved (Williamson, 2002, p.161). Putting it down to its fundamentals action research is basically cyclic research that heavily involves people and starts off with a broad idea that keeps on getting refined as time and cycles go on and concrete answers for the problem are found. Sometimes the researchers do not even know what the problem is and action research quantifies it and then the next cycles are spent searching for possible solutions (Dick, 2000, p.1). Put in simplest terms, action research is cyclic reflective research involving people.
Possible uses for action research in the information...