Literature review on the use of action research in higher education

Paul Gibbs, Patricia Cartney, Kate Wilkinson, John Parkinson, Sheila Cunningham, Carl James-Reynolds, Tarek Zoubir, Venetia Brown, Phil Barter, Pauline Sumner, Angus MacDonald, Asanka Dayananda, Alexandra Pitt

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

94 Citations (Scopus)


This literature review considers the use of action research in higher education. The review specifically looks at two areas of higher education activity. The first concerns academic teaching practice and includes a discussion of research and pedagogy practice, and staff development. The second considers student engagement. In both of these core features of higher education, action research has proven to be a central approach to the investigation, reflection and improvement of practice. Each of these main foci includes a discussion of the limitations of the literature. The review illustrates the extent and range of uses to have benefited from an action research approach.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-22
Number of pages20
JournalEducational Action Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Higher education
  • action research
  • literature review
  • reflective practice


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