What exactly is participatory action research? In short, participatory action research is a type of research that the researcher is actively involved in. The researcher identifies a problem, then devises a plan to address this problem. The researcher then actively observes how his actions influence others in solving this problem. Action researchers conduct several cycles of actions to address the problem. Studying and reflecting upon his actions during and at the end of cycles is vital for a successful project. By moving ahead with the knowledge and thoughts on past actions, future cycles are better targeted to be successful.
Does solving the problem define success? Not exactly.
Action research is more about the journey than the destination. While performing action research, researchers often find they approach the problem in ways they never thought they would. The researcher often learns as much about themselves as they do about the problem. Action researchers are constantly looking for ways adjust their actions to improve a problem at hand.
Here are a few sources with more information about action research.
CCAR: Center for Collaborative Action Research http://cadres.pepperdine.edu/ccar/
CCAR’s Site for Interacting http://ccar.wikispaces.com/
Information about Action Research from Jean McNiff, an experienced researcher. http://www.jeanmcniff.com/
Pepperdine Masters in Learning Technology Student Action Research Projects