Action Research in the Field of Second Language Teaching and Learning
The concept of action research has developed rapidly in the field of applied linguistics and second language teaching from the end of the 1980s, influenced in no small part by the “teacher as researcher” movement in the field of education (see Cochran Smith & Lytle, 1999), as well as more general shifts in orientation toward qualitative and ethnographic research. Since then in these fields, as in other educational sectors, action research has come to be seen as a means for teacher practitioners to be engaged in self-reflective and investigative approaches to understanding and researching their working environments. This chapter first outlines briefly the nature, purpose and focus of action research and then places its development within its historical contexts. The position of action research in relation to major research paradigms is also discussed. A consideration of developments and trends within the fields of language teaching and research as well as the different positions and controversies that have arisen then follows. The chapter ends by outlining some implications and directions for the future.