Action Research

Action research is a method that helps to better understand specific social issues, and to find out what works and what can be improved in community projects and practice. It is a collaborative process – encouraging participants, practitioners and community members to contribute to the design, implementation and evaluation of the project. The active participation of diverse communities promotes innovative, empowering and context-specific solutions to issues in the community.

Action research works in a cycle of planning, acting, observing and reflecting. This cycle can be repeated as many times as you choose, with the reflections from the previous cycle informing the planning of the next project cycle. This gives practitioners the opportunity to test and refine their approach to find what works best (Wicks, Reason, & Bradbury, 2008).

Support & evaluation projects

ANROWS has been funded by the Department of Social Services to work with community groups and local governments to use action research in their work. ANROWS supports these organisations to design, implement and share the findings of their action research projects. This will contribute to the growing evidence base about what works in creating safe communities for women and their children in Australia.

Action research resources

ANROWS has compiled a selection of resources for researchers, community workers and others working on action research projects, including webinars, evaluation tools, guides to ethical research, and other related links.

Action research examples

Project Title

Project lead / Principal Chief Investigator


National risk assessment principles for family and domestic violence Cherie Toivonen Risk assessment, Risk analysis
Improved accountability – the role of the perpetrator intervention systems Prof Donna Chung, Curtin University Perpetrator interventions, Integrated systems
Invisible practices: Intervention with fathers who use violence Prof Cathy Humphreys, University of Melbourne Perpetrator interventions, Workforce capacity, Service responses
The PIPA project: Positive interventions for perpetrators of adolescent violence in the home (AVITH) Ms Elena Campbell, RMIT University Adolescent violence, Perpetrator interventions, Service responses
Young people as agents of change in preventing violence against women Dr Karen Struthers, Griffith University (Early Career Researcher) Young people, Prevention
Kungas’ trauma experiences and effects on behaviour in Central Australia Ms Miriam Bevis Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Trauma, Service responses
The PATRICIA Project: Pathways And Research In Collaborative Inter-Agency working Professor Cathy Humphreys, Professor of Social Work, Department of Social Work, University of Melbourne Child protection, Service responses