Role of Action Research in ESP Teachers’ Professional Identity Development

Document Type : Research Article


1 Department of English Language, Imam Khomeini International University, Qazvin, Iran

2 Pomeranian University, Slupsk, Poland



Although the last decade has seen a growing interest in language teacher identity, the investigation of ESP teachers’ professional identity has remained practically unexplored. The present study examined the role of action research in ESP teachers’ professional identity development. We collected interactionally oriented narratives produced by 3 ESP teachers and used the 3A-LTIF framework (i.e., affiliation, attachment, and autonomy) of language teacher identity (Werbińska 2016) to analyze the narratives. Findings showed that action research has a constructive role in ESP teachers’ professional identity development. The ESP teachers affiliated themselves more as ESP teacher-researchers, developed their attachment to do more action research, and seemed to be more self-reliant on conducting their future research projects. Also, the findings revealed that ESP teachers’ action research programs need to consider the specificity of the ESP context. Thus, it can be concluded that action research may potentially serve as a venue to change the ESP teachers’ selves and, consequently, develop their professional identities.