The emancipatory character of action research, its history and the present state of the art

B. Boog

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

81 Citations (Scopus)


Right from the start. action research was intended to be emancipatory research, and it still is. This article will underpin this by outlining its history and the present state of the art. Though a variety of action research approaches have developed along divergent theoretical pathways, it will be stressed that these approaches share the most important characteristics of action research and are basically different applications of different action theories. They are all Supported by a participatory worldview and are meant to be a double-sided process of research. self research and education directed at individual empowerment and collective empowerment and/or emancipation. Since the relationship between the researcher and the subjects being researched is crucial for the success of action research as ail emancipatory or empowering activity. this article will maintain that the most important task of action researchers is to develop refined heuristics concerning this communication. The article will end by making some recommendations for the improvement of action research as ail emancipatory practice. Copyright (C) 2003 John Wiley Sons, Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)426 - 438
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Community & Applied Social Psychology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • emancipatory action research
  • action theory
  • emancipation
  • empowerment
  • participatory worldview
  • relationship between researchers and researched subjects

Cite this