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viewed in the context of power relationships. In conclusion, they propose that whilst action research grew out of critical theory it went farther.

The history of action research can be traced to John Dewey (1859-1952), a pragmatic philosopher of democracy and education, who is accredited with the epistemological origins of action research. Greenwood and Levin (1998) claim Dewey’s pragmatic philosophy was pivotal to public education in the United States. Tomlinson (1997), when critiquing the contribution of Dewey to the science of education and comparing him with a fellow educationalist Thorndike, claims that Dewey originated the idea that people do not just simply respond to the world and suggested they attempt to transform their energies into habits and behaviours to achieve their goals.

During the course of Dewey’s lifetime, Kurt Lewin, a social psychologist, was credited as being an early proponent of action research (Masters, 1995; Greenwood & Levin, 1998; Sandars & Waterman, 2005; Koch & Kralik, 2006). Other writers indicate the development of action research had several roots. Kemmis and McTaggart (2005) argue that action research may date back to Moreno, who was working with prostitutes in Vienna at the turn of the Twentieth Century. McNiff and Whitehead (2006) add that John Collier in 1930 in his role as commissioner for Indian affairs could also be identified as the other early proponent of action research.

Nonetheless, Lewin reiterated Dewey's ideas, and in an article that was published following Lewin’s death, he analysed social life and concluded that many channels of social life are circular in nature. Lewin (1946) coined the term action research as research needed for social practice. He clarified and challenged the status quo at that time in his description of action research: “It is a type of action research, a comparative research on conditions and effects of various forms of social action and research leading to social action. Research that produces nothing but books will not suffice” (p. 35). Lewin (1947a) explains that “many channels of social life have not simply a beginning and an end but are circular in character’’ (p. 147). This, he explains, is characterised by a cyclic process of planning action and evaluation of that action, including feedback to all involved. The


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