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close this bookCreative Training - A User's Guide (IIRR, 1998)
View the document(introduction...)
Open this folder and view contentsHow was this user's guide to creative training produced?
View the documentIt came one night...
Open this folder and view contentsBasic facilitation skills
Open this folder and view contentsTraining needs assessment
View the documentWII-FM (what's in it for me?)
Open this folder and view contentsEvaluation techniques
Open this folder and view contentsEnergizers
View the documentForming groups
View the documentCreative congratulations
View the documentRelaxers
Open this folder and view contentsMood setting exercises
Open this folder and view contentsLectures
View the documentMind mapping
View the documentCreative use of overhead projectors
View the documentSlide/photo presentations
View the documentVisual spicers
View the documentPosters as problem-posing materials
Open this folder and view contentsDrawing and chalk talk
Open this folder and view contentsSelf-expression through pictures
View the documentBody language
View the documentVisual gestural communication
View the documentShadow plays
View the documentEasy puppets
View the documentBasic theater skills
View the documentRole play
View the documentAnimated comics role play activity
View the documentFolkstorytelling: Stories come alive!
View the documentOral testimonies
View the documentLifeline
View the documentTimelines
View the documentMap-making
Open this folder and view contentsMaking and using case studies
View the documentAction research
Open this folder and view contentsField trips
Open this folder and view contentsPhysical activities as educational tools
Open this folder and view contentsGames
View the documentContact organizations
View the documentWorkshop participants
View the documentWorkshop production staff

Action research

Action research (AR) is a community-based learning activity related to topics e.g., on the nature of government or the environment, and is discussed in a classroom, meeting or workshop. The participants, with the guidance of a facilitator, identify a specific community problem that will serve as the subject matter for a research activity and planned action. In this activity, every stage of the research is supported by the facilitator.



· To enrich learning by tackling a real issue.
· To train participants to become better citizens.
· To develop an awareness of community issues.
· To develop teamwork and cooperation.


· paper, pencil or pen
· any documentary equipment (camera, video, etc.) to help share the information with others


Participants: Up to 50
Facilitator: One or two facilitators to work collaboratively with participants
Skills needed: Basic research skills, e.g., interviewing

Suggested approach

1. Ask the participants to identify actual situations in the community that need priority attention of the community and local government. Indicators of a problem include discomfort, uneasiness or sense of danger in health and sanitation, peace and order, etc.

2. Ask participants to select one priority issue as the topic for AR.

3. Ask participants to formulate a hypothesis or question as a basis for gathering data, e.g. "The traffic problem in Cudal Street is caused by non-passenger vehicles."



You can tap the research skills of teachers or graduate students in the community to help the participants.

4. Instruct participants to prepare questions, survey or observation forms/charts and other tools to facilitate gathering of data. Introduce several methods of recording observations, e.g., field notes, anecdotal records, journal responses. (Please see samples at the end of this activity).

5. Ask participants to collect the data based on the participants' preference on a day and time.

6. Assist participants in collating, analyzing and evaluating the data gathered. Check also the accuracy of their computations.

7. Assist the participants in formulating strategies to tackle the problem. How can the community, the local government and the participants implement these? Pose questions to ensure that they have thought through the possible consequences of their suggested action. (You can use the action plan at the end of this activity sheet as a model.)

8. Ensure that the participants keep records of their action research and perhaps enhance these with photos or video if available.

9. Monitor and evaluate the action research based on the action plan formulated.



AR enables participants to live an active community life. After going through the research activity, participants usually conclude that it is best to have community concerns anchored to actual data. AR teaches participants to be more perceptive, more sensitive and more responsible to community needs and problems - an attitude which is vital to democracy.


Political science students at Bukidnon State College, Malaybalay, Bukidnon, Philippines did an action research on a traffic problem at the intersection in front of the campus. A 10-minute video documentary was used to inform the community's local government officials and members of civic organizations about this problem that needed immediate attention to avoid a major accident.

The teacher forgot to forewarn the students that the results of their action research may not get a positive response from the local government officials. Therefore, the indifferent and arrogant responses of some officials and members of civic organizations intimidated some of the students. In this example, the difficulties in conducting an action research included: 1) Lack of sufficient time for the batch of students who initiated the project the complete the artwork; and 2) Lack of enthusiasm of the succeeding batch of students who had to complete the project. From the feedback of the participants, they thought it was a great way to learn outside the classroom except that they were not prepared to have face to face dialogue with the officials who were supposed to be responsible for the traffic problem but who saw it as a petty problem.


Sample questions for AR

A. Sample research questions

Note for the facilitator: Divide these guide questions between the different group of participants. Instruct them to answer each question using the Journal Responses Form.

1. Name the different categories of tricycle (motorela) passengers. Be sure to write down your basis for such classification.

2. Do you see some traffic problems in this street? If so, enumerate these problems. Explain why you consider it a problem.

3. List down any accidents (minor or major), if any, that transpired during your observation and accidents which occurred over the last five years.

4. Identify the people affected by the traffic problem in this area. For example, tricycle (motorela) drivers, passengers, pedestrians, drivers of other vehicles and traffic officers. Just give the categories of these people. Give your assumptions for why these people use this street. You may interview the people concerned.

5. Interview people who encountered or witnessed an accident in the area. Be sure to indicate the name, date, and exact facts of the story. Three stories will do. (First person account is better than a third person account).

6. Can you see vehicles other than motorela (tricycles) in Cudal Street? if yes, describe what the drivers of these other vehicles are doing in this street.

7. Using the frequency summary sheet (2 pages) to estimate the average volume of traffic in Cudal Street and how this is made at particular times of the day by the different vehicles.

B. Sample questions for action planning

I. Who do you think can help us solve this problem? Identify every possible source of help. Be able to explain why you think they can help.

2 If you were a community leader, what do you think are the possible solutions to the traffic in Cudal Street? Give at least three workable solutions.

3. What can our organization do to help solve the problem. Be very specific.

Journal Responses

Name of Participant:

Date and time of observation/interview:


II. ANSWERS: (You may use extra sheets if needed)

III. My positive feelings during the observation or interview and later reflection.

IV. My negative feelings during the observation or interview and later reflection.

V. The new learning experiences that I gained during the observation or interview.

Frequency Summary Sheet

Name of observer:


Time began:

Name of street observed:



I. Private Vehicles



Private Utility Vehicle




II. Commercial Vehicles


Truck (small)

Truck (big)

Multicab (passenger utility vehicle)

Lawin (jeepney)


Van (carrier of passengers)

Panel (carrier of goods and merchandise)

III. Other Vehicles

Tanker (carrier of gasoline or water)


Military vehicle


Suggested action plan


Specific objectives


Time frame

Expected output

Participants responsible

1. Information Drive

· To identify the key persons who should be informed of the results of the research, e.g., school officials, student leaders, barangay officials, traffic safety office, municipal or provincial office, radio stations, local newspapers, etc.
· To prepare a letter & press release that contain the research findings.

· Group meeting to decide to perform the following tasks:

- write letters
- write a news item
- send letters (hand carry if possible)
- keep a list of names to which letters are sent.

1 week

· Public awareness
· Response from the agencies concerned in the form of a letter or invitation to the researchers for more information or clarification.

Group A
Group B
Group C
Group D

2. Agency contacts

· To follow up letters sent
· To answer queries (if any)

· Make an appointment with agencies concerned to ask for their opinions about the problem, e.g., school heads, barangay officials, motorela drivers association, traffic agency, civic organizations or municipal officials (preferably in this order) Note: if the problem will be solved in the lower level, there is no need to go to a higher office.
· Visit officials who confirmed the appointments.

2 to 3 weeks

· Dialogue with school, community or local government officials.
· Written resolutions of concerned agencies that indicate concrete solutions to the traffic problem.

Group E

3. Push for implementation

· To get assurance or confirmation that the policy be formulated (if there is none) or that the policy be implemented (if already in existence).

· Attend local government's sessions or any civic organization's meeting that will discuss the traffic problem. Bring supporting documents.
· Write a news item for the school and local paper or radio to update the community for efforts toward solution of the problem, and to ask for their cooperation

1 month

· Policy making or policy implementation depending on which is applicable. Note: This may take place in the school, barangay, municipal or provincial level.

Group F
Group G

4. Support for implementation

· To decide on ways in which the researchers can assist in the implementation, e.g., donate one traffic sign board that says: "NON-PASSENGER VEHICLES - NO ENTRY - from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Monday through Friday."
· To link with other student organizations for possible collective assistance to government's implementation of policy.
· To update the public about the enforcement of the new policy or the implementation of an old policy through the media.

· Suggest ways in which the group can help implement, e.g., donate a sign board
· Write a thank you letter to organizations who responded to research findings.
· Write a news about government support or community support, and have it announced over the radio or printed in the local paper.

2 weeks

· Heightened awareness
· Adherence to traffic rules in Cudal Street
· Safety of passengers using Cudal Street

Group leaders

5. Evaluation

· To assess the success of the action research based on the objectives of this action plan.

· Select an appropriate evaluation instrument to assess the progress or success of the action research.

Should be ongoing

· Document to show success or failure of the action research as a basis for improving successive action researches.

All groups

Remember that the objectives should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound).