What is it about?

This article defines what is action research and where it fits in with health promotion practice, through drawing upon associated literature and personal action research experience. It also seeks to investigate the possible reasons why it is that health promotion researchers have not readily taken on the processes of action research strategies.

Featured Image

Why is it important?

The place of action research in health promotion programmes is an important yet relatively unacknowledged and understated activity. It has proven to be very popular with other professional groups, such as in the education, management and social sciences. In terms of health service activity, it is widely established in the fields of nursing and mental health and is beginning to establish itself in medicine. While there are a few health promotion examples to draw upon, they tend to be isolated, dated and often lie outside of the mainstream literature. It is suggested that this continuing state of affairs denies many health promotion researchers a valuable resource for managing effective change in practice.


The authors suggest that action research is both a valid and important research method for health promotion researchers, who are advised to further consider its merits in future studies. This article draws attention to the National Health Service (NHS) South West Regional Office-commissioned Our Healthier Nation: Improving the Competence of the Workforce in Health Promotion participatory action research project, as a means of promoting and validating action research strategy. The authors were all actively involved in this project.

Dr Dean Whitehead
Flinders University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Action research in health promotion, Health Education Journal, March 2003, SAGE Publications,
DOI: 10.1177/001789690306200102.
You can read the full text:



The following have contributed to this page