Action Research and Second Language Teachers –It's Not Just Teacher Research

Crookes, Graham
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Although 11action research" has a long history, it is a term which has only quite recently become known and used in ESL. It is apparently, therefore, something "new'', and predictably has already become a buzzword within the field of second language studies. There are good reasons for being sceptical of anything the ESL field takes up and finds fashionable, and this has already led to the suspicion in some quarters that action research implies a new research methodology which will lead to work of poor quality or undesirable in other ways (a position acknowledged, though not argued for, by Brumfit & Mitchell, 1989; Usher & Bryant, 1989; and Winter, 1989). It is the purpose of the present paper to clarify the nature of action research, and thereby dispel this suspicion. Accordingly, I first outline the history of action research, and distinguish between two kinds of action research, both of considerable importance and utility to the SL field. I then discuss the rhetorical manifestations of action research, which are part of the source of the suspicions concerning quality, and argue that, while the forms of action research reports are different from those of orthodox research, they are of interest and potential benefit to both the regular SL teacher and the profession as a whole.
18 pages
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University of Hawai'i Working Papers in English as a Second Language 10(2)
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