Action-Based Research (EDER 701.01)

December 16, 2016

I am thrilled to be teaching a doctoral level course on action research in the Winter 2017 term.

Course Description:                                                                              

This course is an introduction to the rich intellectual and moral traditions, ideas, and approaches of action research, intended to provide participants with knowledge and skills related to the design, implementation, critical reflection, and evaluation of action research. The course will be theoretically grounded as professional action research in educational contexts, considering the contextual and sociopolitical aspects of action research.

Learner Outcomes:

  1. Describe, compare and contrast major ideas in the scholarly literature on action-based research.
  2. Describe, compare and contrast various forms of action-based research.
  3. Engage in critical analysis of the origins, history, epistemological, and ontological underpinnings of action
  4. Examine current trends and issues in the design, implementation, and interpretation of action research in education.
  5. Design praxis-based action-oriented research.
  6. Actively contribute to a knowledge building community.
  7. Offer constructive feedback on colleagues’ work and incorporate feedback into one’s own work.

Required Texts:

Hinchey, P. (2008). Action research primer. New York, NY: Peter Lang.

McNiff, J. (2013). Action research: Principles and practice (3rd ed.). Florence, KY: Taylor and Francis.

Additional Recommended Readings:

Hendricks, C. (2016). Improving schools through Action Research: A reflective practice approach (4th. ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

McNiff, J. (2010). Action research for professional development: concise advice for new action researchers. Poole: September Books.

McNiff, J. (2014). Writing and doing action research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

McNiff, J. (2016). You and your action research project (4th. ed.). London: Routledge.

Mertler, C. A. (2013). Action research: Improving schools and empowering educators (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

Noffke, S. E., & Somekh, B. (2009). The SAGE Handbook of Educational Action Research. Los Angeles, CA: SAGE. DOI:

Willis, J. W. (2014). Applied research in education and the social sciences: Action research: Models, methods, and examples. Charlotte, NC: Information Age.

Check out a full copy of my course outline: eder-701-01-l01-w2017-eaton-approved


This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.


How to Host a World Cafe: Great Resources to Help You Host a Community Conversation that Matters

March 14, 2013

Creating space for strength in Calgary - Eaton International Consulting Inc.As part of our asset-based community development (ABCD) work with the Creating Space for Strength project in Calgary, we worked together with the Northern Hills Community Association to host a community consultation. We used the “world café” format and method to ignite a powerful conversation with the community. A few people have written to me asking us how we went about it. Here are some of our favorite “how to” resources that will help you host your own world café conversations:

Web resources

Here are some of the great web resources we found and shared with our team, the community and the volunteers who are working on the project:

Carson, L. (2011). Designing a public conversation using the World Café method. Social Alternatives, 30(1), 10-14. Available from

The World Café. (2008). Café to go: A quick reference guide for putting conversations to work. Available from

Brown, J. (n.d.). A resource guide for the world café. Available from

Brown, J. (n.d.). Speaking our worlds into being: The world café. Available from

Embedding Enterprise at Newcastle University.  World café creativity exercise. Available from

Slocum, N. (2005). Participatory methods toolkit: A practitioner’s manual: The world café: a joint publication of the King Baudouin Foundation and the Flemish Institute for Science and Technology Assessment (viWTA). Available from


Our two favorite books on how to organize and run a community conversation are:

Brown, J. (2005). The world café: Shaping our futures through conversations that matter. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.

With a Foreward by Margaret Wheatley and an Afterword with Peter Senge, this book is my favorite “go to” resource.

World cafe book cover

Another book to have on your book shelf (and share with others) is:

Born, P. (2008). Community conversations: Mobilizing the ideas, skills and passion of community organizations, governments, businesses and people. Toronto: BPS Books.

Paul Born’s book might be easy to miss, since it does not have the phrase “world café” in its title. It contains great wisdom though and is worth the read.

Paul Born community conversations book cover


If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or leave a comment. Thanks!

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Update – January 2018 – This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.

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