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Action Research

Action Research is a collaborative, critical and self-critical inquiry by practitioners (e.g. teachers, managers) into a problem or issue of mutual concern in their organization. They own the problem and feel responsible and accountable for solving it through teamwork and a cyclical process of reflection, planning, action, observation, reflection and so on.
Its basic features are that it is participatory, collaborative, systematic, reflective and flexible.
(Zuber-Skerritt, 2011)

Action Research Cycle

Refers to the different phases in action research: reflect, plan, act, observe.

  • Reflect: identify the problem and envision success, identify challenges or areas of change

  • Plan: develop a plan of action

  • Act: implement the plan

  • Observe: observe, (self-)evaluate, collect data

  • Reflect: analyse data, draw conclusions, reflect (self-)critically on the results and make decisions for the new action research cycle


A group of people working or living together who have certain common interests. [1]

[1] This term caused quite some discussion in the project because the project partners understood community as also involving external actors, whilst the school sometimes understood it in a narrower sense as school community. Loyal to the principles of the project it was the school who defined what community meant for them.

Egalitarian Dialogue

Dialogue based on validity claims, rather than power claims. (Flecha, 2000)

Learning Community for Peace (LCP)

This phrase is to be defined by whichever school or organization that wants to be one. After defining what it means through egalitarian dialogue between relevant stakeholders of the community, the members of an LCP collaborate to develop and implement their own unique peace-building strategy. In an LCP, what is key is not so much the end result as the process itself.


Ownership in an LCP refers to the situation where the challenge, problem or issue to be dealt with is owned by the people in the community.


In this project, this means that those who are being ‘researched’ are not objects but rather partners in the whole research process: including selecting the research topic, collecting the data, analyzing, and deciding what action should happen as a result of the research findings. (Baum, MacDougall, Smith, 2006)


Systematic and deliberate thinking back over one’s actions. (Russell & Munby, 1992)


This refers to a process of people who share a vision and work together to achieve a common goal. For example, action researchers work with their colleagues to propose new courses of action that help their community improve practices. They recognize their own view as subjective, and seek to develop their understanding of the events from multiple perspectives. (Riel, 2010-2019)

Critical friend

An external person “who understands and is sympathetic to the purpose of the school, knows its circumstances very well, is skilled in offering a second opinion about an issue. Critical Friends are seemingly effortlessly skilled at asking questions. They bring to that questioning task a mastery of inflection and timing, so that questions are never damaging.”
(Brighouse & Woods, 2013) 

A critical friend is someone who is encouraging and supportive, but who also provides honest and often candid feedback that may be uncomfortable or difficult to hear. In short, a critical friend is someone who agrees to speak truthfully, but constructively, about weaknesses, problems, and emotionally charged issues.

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