Action Research: Time to Take a Turn?

Publication Type:

IFIP Paper


Oates, Briony


Information Systems Research, p.315 - 333 (2004)



Following the linguistic turn of social sciences in the 20th century, some researchers are now taking a turn to action. They use action research but give it a broader meaning than that currently understood by many researchers in IS. This paper discusses the newer meaning of action research and indicates how it contrasts with some uses of action research reported in the IS literature. Five quality issues for the new action research are discussed: relational praxis, reflexive-practical outcome, plurality of knowing, significant work, and new and enduring consequences or infrastructure. The paper then gives a reflexive account of an IS research study that attempted to address these five issues. Finally, the paper discusses some of the broader implications for IS research of a turn to action.

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