1.1.1 Building an action research cycle

Typically, ICT initiatives will plan and carry out activities:

We have detected that you do not have Flash Player installed. Please download Flash Player to view this content. It is free and will only take a moment.

Over time our actions shape our next set of plans. So we have:

We have detected that you do not have Flash Player installed. Please download Flash Player to view this content. It is free and will only take a moment.

But there is another step that can be included in this process where research can play a constructive role...

By observing our actions we can generate knowledge and learn from our experiences

By reflecting on our actions and experiences we can plan our next actions more effectively

EAR therefore involves an ongoing cycle of PLAN >> DO >> OBSERVE >> REFLECT >> PLAN

We have detected that you do not have Flash Player installed. Please download Flash Player to view this content. It is free and will only take a moment.

Rather than thinking about research as an activity that happens to initiatives, only at specified points in time - e.g. at the beginning and at the end - Ethnographic Action Research integrates research into the initiative's continuous cycle of planning and doing.

An EAR researcher undertakes research on an ongoing basis, and throughout the life of the ICT initiative.

EAR researchers recognise and document successes and failures, opportunities and challenges. They recognise that ICT initiative staff need to be able to identify and understand how and why certain obstacles come to be, before they can overcome them - in order to overcome obstacles, those obstacles need to be fully understood. Moreover, EAR researchers consider both success and failure as building blocks in an ICT initiative's development. Ethnographic Action Research provides an approach that allows initiatives to learn from mistakes and recognise and respond to new opportunities.