Challenges of Action Research: Insights From Language Institutes

Document Type: Research Article


1 Bangkok University

2 Yasouj University


Action research is a small-scale intervention in the functioning of the real world to address practitioners’ own issues and carry out a close examination of the effects of such an intervention. Classroom-based research, or action research, can be the viable solution to some pandemic academic sluggishness and scientific apathy. However, the erroneous impression that research is an elite discipline belonging to certain talented or conversely boring individuals who always constrain themselves to their desks dissuades some teachers from engaging with action research in the local contexts. This small scale qualitative study was an attempt to investigate the reasons that hamper the Iranian EFL teachers teaching in language institutes to do action research.  To this end, a total of 12 Iranian EFL teachers (8 females and 4 males) were chosen through the convenience sampling procedure to take part in the study. The semistructured individual interviews were used to gather the data. Results of the content analysis revealed that such factors as (a) attitude toward action research, (b) lack of fund and support, (c) lack of cooperation among colleagues, and (d) lack of knowledge and confidence in doing action research led to the teachers’ apathy in regard to doing action research.


Best, J. W., & Kahn, J. V. (2006). Research in education (10th ed.). New York: Pearson.

Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77-101.

Burns, A. (2010). Doing action research in English language teaching: A guide for practitioners. London: Routledge.

Cain, T. (2011) Teachers’ classroom‐based action research. International Journal of Research & Method in Education, 34(1), 3-16.

Cain, T., & Milovic, S. (2010). Action research as a tool of professional development of advisers and teachers in Croatia. European Journal of Teacher Education, 33(1), 19-30.

Clayton, S., O'Brien, M., Burton, D., Campbell, A., Qualter, A., & Varga-Atkins, T. (2008). I know it is not “proper” research, but how professionals’ understandings of research can frustrate its potential for CPD. Educational Action Research, 16(1), 73-84.

Edge, J. (2001). Attitude and access: Building a new teaching/learning community in TESOL. In J. Edge (Ed.), Action research (pp. 1-11). Alexandria, VA: TESOL.

Elliott, J. (1991). Action research for educational change. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.

Everton, T., Galton, M., & Pell, T. (2002). Educational research and the teacher. Research Papers in Education, 17, 373-402.

Furlong, J., & Salisbury, J. (2005) Best practice research scholarships: An evaluation, Research Papers in Education, 20(1),45-83.

Haggarty, L., & Postlethwaite, K. (2003) Action research: A strategy for teacher change and school development? Oxford Review of Education, 29(4), 423-448.

Hargreaves, D. (2001). Revitalizing educational research: Past lessons and future prospects. In M. Fielding (Ed.), Taking education really seriously: Four years’ hard labor (pp. 197-20).  London: Routledge Falmer.

Lo Castro, V. (1994). Teachers helping themselves: Classroom research and action research. The Language Teacher, 18(2), 4-7.

McNamara, O. (2002). Evidence-based practice through practice-based evidence. In O. McNamara (Ed.), Becoming an evidence-based practitioner (pp. 15-26). London: Routledge Falmer.

Mills, G. E. (2000). Action research: A guide for the teacher researcher. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall

Oja, S., & Smulyan, L. (1989). Collaborative action research: A developmental approach. London: Falmer Press.

Rahimi, A., & Askari Bigdeli, R. (2014). The dynamicity and flexibility of EFL teachers’ role identities in language institutes. ABAC Journal, 34(2), 46-55.

Rochsantiningsih, D. (2005). Enhancing professional development of Indonesian high school teachers through action research. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Macquarie University, Sydney.

Storti, C. (1999). Figuring foreigners out: A practical guide. London: Intercultural Press.

Taber, K. S. (2007). Classroom-based research and evidence-based practice: A guide for teachers. London: Sage Publication.

Tinker Sachs, G. (Ed.). (2002). Action research: Fostering and furthering eective practices in the teaching of English. Hong Kong: City University of Hong Kong.

Whitehead, J., & McNiff, J. (2006). Action research: Living theory. London: Sage Publication.

Worrall, N. (2004). Trying to build a research culture in a school: Trying to find the right questions to ask. Teacher Development, 8, 137-148.