Action Research

What Is Action Research?

Action Research is research with people rather than on people. It brings together action and reflection, theory and practice, in pursuit of practical solutions to issues of pressing concern to people, and more generally the flourishing of individual persons, their communities, and the ecological context in which they live.

You will find below a list of publications – most of my academic publications – with most of the full texts of the articles.  There are more important writings on action research, feminism, and sustainability on my longstanding colleague Judi Marshall's website, which give a fuller picture of our collaboration at the Centre for Action Research in Professional Practice at the University of Bath.

These texts are made available for private academic use only, on the understanding that you respect the rules of copyright of the original publications.  Be careful to always refer to the printed version since many differences may exist between the internet and the printed versions.


Marshall, J., Coleman, G., & Reason, P. (2011). Leadership for Sustainability. Greenleaf/Routledge. Link to the Routledge information page.

Reason, P.  et al (2009) Insider Voices: Human dimensions of low carbon technology.  Lowcarbonworks, University of Bath

Reason, P., & Bradbury, H. (Eds.). (2008). Sage Handbook of Action Research: Participative inquiry and practice (2nd ed.). London : Sage Publications.

Reason, P., & Bradbury, H. (Eds.). (2006). Handbook of Action Research: Concise paperback edition. London : Sage Publications.

Reason, P., & Bradbury, H. (Eds.). (2001). Handbook of Action Research: Participative inquiry and practice. London : Sage Publications

Reason, P. (Ed.). (1994). Participation in Human Inquiry. London : Sage Publications.

Reason, P. (Ed.). (1988). Human Inquiry in Action: Developments in new paradigm research. London : Sage Publications.

Reason, P., & Rowan, J. (Eds.). (1981). Human Inquiry: A Sourcebook of New Paradigm Research. Chichester : Wiley.

Special Issues of Journals

Reason, P & Gaya Wicks, P. (2009) Special Issue: Opening Communicative Space. Action Research 7(3)

Reason, P. (2002). Special Issue: The Practice of Co-operative Inquiry. Systemic Practice and Action Research, 15(3), 169-270.

Torbert, W. R., & Reason, P. (2001). Toward a Participatory Worldview Part 1. ReVision, 24(1), 1-48.

Reason, P., & Torbert, W. R. (2001). Towards a Participatory Worldview Part 2. ReVision, 24(2), 1-48.

Reason, P., & Lincoln, Y. S. (1996). Special Issue: Quality in Human Inquiry. Qualitative Inquiry, 2(1), 5-136.

Papers & Book Chapters

Experiential knowing with the more-than-human world (with Sandra Wooltorton). In P. White, R. Tytler, J. P. Ferguson, & J. Cripps Clark (Eds.), Methodological Approaches to STEM Education Research (Vol. 4, pp. 187 - 206). Cambridge Scholars Publishing. 

Extending Co-operative Inquiry Beyond the Human: Ontopoetic inquiry with Rivers. Action Research, (2023). DOI:10.1177/14767503231179562. Associated blog post with AR+ Peter Reason extends co-operative inquiry beyond humans

The Teachings of Mistle Thrush and Kingfisher (with Sarah Gillespie). Australian Journal of Environmental Education. Special Issue: Indigenous Philosophy in Environmental Education: Relearning How to Love, Feel, Hear, and Live with Place. (2023). DOI:

Co-operative Inquiry (with Sarah Riley). In J. Smith (Ed.), Qualitative Psychology (4th ed.): Sage Publications. (in press).

Editorial: Voicing Rivers. Wooltorton, S., Guimond, L., Reason, P., Poelina, A., & Horwitz, P. (2022). River Research and Applications, 38, 371-375.

Voicing Rivers through Ontopoetics: A Co-operative Inquiry. (with Jacqueline Kurio) River Research and Applications, Special Issue: Voicing Rivers. (2022 )38:376-384

Cooperative Inquiry: An action research Practice (with Sarah Riley). In Jonathan Smith (ed) Qualitative Psychology: A practical guide to research methods. London: Sage Publications, 3rd ed 2015, 168-198

Action Research and Ecological Practice (with Susan Canney) In Hilary Bradbury (Ed), Sage Handbook of Action Research. London: Sage Publications (2015).

Learning History in an Open System: Creating Histories for Sustainable Futures. Gearty, Margaret, Hilary Bradbury-Huang and Peter Reason. Management Learning 46, no. 1 (2015): 44-66. (pdf available on application)

John Rowan. Contribution to Festschrift for John Rowan our collaborations editing Human Inquiry. Self and Society 42, no. 3-4 (2014): 25-27.

Using the AQAL framework to accelerate responses to climate change. (with David Ballard and Gill Coleman) Journal of Integral Theory and Practice, 5(1), 1-?, (2010)

Living and Loving as part of the whole. Presented at the Bristol Chan Fellowship Conference Living and Loving, November 1 2009

Insider Voices: Human dimensions of low carbon technology (2009)  Reason, P., Coleman, G., Ballard, D., Williams, M., Gearty, M., Bond, C., et al. Bath: Centre for Action Research in Professional Practice, University of Bath.

Presentation to Citizens Jury Raita Teerpu, India 2009 See

Initiating action research: Challenges and paradoxes of opening communicative space. (2009) Gayá Wicks, P., & Reason, P. Action Research, 7(3), 243-263.

Expressions of Energy: An epistemology of presentational knowing  Seeley, C., & Reason, P. (2008). In P. Liamputtong & J. Rumbold (Eds.), Knowing Differently: Arts-based and collaborative research methods. New York: Nova Science Publishers.

Introduction (With Hilary Bradbury). In Sage Handbook of Action Research: Participative Inquiry and Practice, edited by Peter Reason and Hilary Bradbury. London: Sage Publications, 2008.

Reason, P., & Bradbury, H. (2008). Concluding Reflections: Whither action research.(with Hilary Bradbury) In P. Reason & H. Bradbury (Eds.), Sage Handbook of Action Research: Participative inquiry and practice. London: Sage Publications.

Living Inquiry: Personal, Political and Philosophical Groundings for Action Research Practice. Patricia Gayá Wicks, Peter Reason, and Hilary BradburyIn Sage Handbook of Action Research: Participative Inquiry and Practice, edited by Peter Reason and Hilary Bradbury. London: Sage Publications, 2008.

"Taking an Attitude of Inquiry." (with Judi Marshall) In Towards Quality Improvement of Action Research: Developing Ethics and Standards, edited by Ben Boog, Julia Preece, Meindert Slagter, and Jacques Zeelen, 61-82. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers, 2008.

Extending Epistemology with Co-Operative Inquiry. John Heron and Peter Reason In Sage Handbook of Action Research: Participative Inquiry and Practice, edited by Peter Reason and Hilary Bradbury, 366-80. London: Sage Publications, 2008.

Wilderness Experience in Education for Ecology. In The Handbook of Experiential Learning and Management Education, edited by Michael Reynolds and Russ Vince, 187-201. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.

Keynote address, Edinburgh University conference on the purpose of outdoor education, 2007

Thinking About Sustainability. Prepared for Perspective, School of Management house journal July 2007

Transforming Education: Talk prepared for “Earth is Community: A celebration of the vision and path of Thomas Berry” London, September 2007

Quality in research as ‘taking an attitude of inquiry’.  Judi Marshall and Peter Reason.  (2007) Management Research News Special Issue on Action Research.

Reason, Peter and Sarah Riley. "Co-Operative Inquiry: An Action Research Practice." In Qualitative Psychology: A Practical Guide to Research Methods, edited by Jonathan Smith. London: Sage Publications, 2008.

Choice and Quality in Action Research Practice. (2006). Journal of Management Inquiry, 15(2), 187-203. (developed from Keynote Address, World Congress of Participatory Action Research, Pretoria, South Africa, September 2003)

Living as Part of the Whole: the implications of participation (2005). Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy, 2(2), 35-41.

Action Research and Organization Development.  McArdle, K. L., & Reason, P. (forthcoming 2006). In T. Cummings (Ed.), Handbook of Organization Development. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Education for Ecology: Science, aesthetics, spirit and ceremony. (2007). Management Learning, 38(1), 27-44.

MSc in Responsibility and Business Practice Brochure. Judi Marshall, Gill Coleman, and Peter Reason. School of Management, University of Bath. Issue 6, 2006. Also programme brochure, Spring 2006.

"Action Research and Organization Development." (With Kate McArdle) In Handbook of Organization Development, edited by Thomas Cummings. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, forthcoming 2006.

Action Research: Forming communicative space for many ways of knowing.  Response to Md. Anisur Rahman International Workshop on Participatory Action Research Dhaka, March 2004-03-27  (pdf version)

Action Research and the Single Case: a response to Bjørn Gustavsen (2004) Concepts and Transformation, 8(3), 281-294

Pragmatist Philosophy and Action Research: Readings and conversation with Richard Rorty. Action Research, 1(1), 103-123. (2003)

Secular and Sacred (note for Masters In Responsibility and Business Practice, University of Bath). Unpublished, 2003

Brief Notes on the Theory and Practice of Action Research (with Kate McArdle) In Understanding Research Methods for Social Policy and Practice. Saul Becker and Alan Bryman (eds) Bristol: The Polity Press. (2004)

Justice, Sustainability, and Participation: Inaugural Professorial Lecture. Published in Concepts and Transformations 7(1), 7-29, 2002. Republished (2014) in International Journal of Action Research, 10(3),284-309. Audio of Lecture, January 31, 2002

Earth Community: Interview with Thomas Berry. Resurgence, 204, 10-14.

Participation, in writing, carving and teaching. ReVision, 23(4) (2001).

A Co-operative Inquiry into Deep Ecology (with Esther Maughan). ReVision, 23(4), 18-24, (2001).

Co-operative Inquiry: In Jonathan Smith (Ed.), Qualitative Psychology: A Practical Guide to Methods. London: Sage Publications (First edition 2003).

Inquiry and Participation in Search of a World Worthy of Human Aspiration (with Hilary Bradbury) Introduction to P. Reason & H. Bradbury (Eds.), Handbook of Action Research: Participative Inquiry and Practice (pp. 1-14). London: Sage 2001

"Conclusion: Broadening the Bandwidth of Validity: Five Issues and Seven Choice-Points for Improving the Quality of Action Research." (With Hilary Bradbury) In Handbook of Action Research: Participative Inquiry and Practice, edited by Peter Reason and Hilary Bradbury, 447-56. London: Sage Publications, 2001.

Preface (with Hilary Bradbury) Introduction to P. Reason & H. Bradbury (Eds.), Handbook of Action Research: Participative Inquiry and Practice (pp. 1-14). London: Sage 2001

The Practice of Co-operative Inquiry: Research with rather than on people (with John Heron) Chapter 16 of P. Reason & H. Bradbury (Eds.), Handbook of Action Research: Participative Inquiry and Practice (pp. 179-188). London: Sage 2001

"On Supervising Graduate Research Students."(With Judi Marshall) In Handbook of Action Research: Participative Inquiry and Practice, edited by Peter Reason and Hilary Bradbury, 413-19. London and Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 2001.

The Action Turn: Toward a Transformational Social Science (with Bill Torbert) Concepts and Transformations, 6(1), 1-37 (2001). Reprinted in Emma Bell and Hugh Willmott Qualitative Research in Business and Management Volume 2, Sage Publications (2015)

Learning and Change through action research. In J. Henry (Ed.), Creative Management. London: Sage Publications (2001)

Action Research as Spiritual Practice. Presentation to the University of Surrey Learning Community Conference May 2000

"Co-operative Inquiry." In Developing Adult Learners: Strategies for Teachers and Trainers, edited by Kathleen Taylor, Catherine Marienau, and Morris Fiddle, 84-89. San Francisco: Jossey Bass, 2000.

Science of Qualities in Organizations: Lessons from complexity theory and postmodern biology. (with Brian Goodwin) Concepts and Transformations, 4(3), 281-317, (1999)

"Collaborative and Self-Reflective Forms of Inquiry in Management Research."(With Judi Marshall) In Management Learning: Integrating Perspectives in Theory and Practice, edited by John Burgoyne and Michael Reynolds, 226-42. London: Sage Publications, 1997.

Co-operative Inquiry (with John Heron) In R. Harre, J. Smith, & L. Van Langenhove (Eds.), Rethinking Methods in Psychology (pp. 122-142). London: Sage. (1995).

Political, Epistemological, Ecological and Spiritual Dimensions of Participation. Studies in Cultures, Organizations and Societies, 4, 147-167. (1998)

A Short Guide to Co-operative Inquiry (with John Heron) (unpublished)

Integrating Action and Reflection through Co-operative Inquiry. Management Learning Special Issue: The Action Dimension in Management: Diverse Approaches to Research, Teaching and Development, 30(2), 207-227. (1999)

Competing Worldviews (unpublished)

A Participatory World. Resurgence, 168, 42-44.

Co-operative Inquiry as a Discipline of Professional Practice. Journal of Interprofessional Care., 12(4), 419-436. (1998)

Political, Epistemological, Ecological and Spiritual Dimensions of Participation. Studies in Cultures, Organizations and Societies 4, no. 2 (1998): 147-67.

Listen, Little Man: Reflections one dark morning. Original Blessing: a creation spirituality network newsletter, 2(6), 6-8. (2000)

General Medical and Complementary Practitioners Working Together: the epistemological demands of collaboration. Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 35(1), 71-86. (1999)

Toward a Science of Qualities in Organizations: lessons from complexity theory and postmodern biology (with Brian Goodwin) Concepts and Transformations, 4(3), 281-317 (1999)

Co-Operative Inquiry as a Discipline of Professional Practice. Journal of Interprofessional Care. 12, no. 4 (1998): 419-36.

A Participatory Inquiry Paradigm. (with John Heron) Qualitative Inquiry, 3(3), 274-294 (1997)

Knowledge as Social Praxis: A review of Selener's (1997) Participatory Action Research and Social Change. M@n@gement 1(1)23-30, 1986

Complementary Practice at Phoenix Surgery: First Steps in Co-Operative Inquiry. Complementary Therapies in Medicine 3 (1995): 37-41.

Reflections on Sacred Experience and Sacred Science. Journal of Management Inquiry, 2(3), 273-283 (1993).

Adult Learning in Collaborative Action Research: reflections on the supervision process (with Judi Marshall). Studies in Continuing Education: Research and Scholarship in Adult Education, 15(2), 117-132 (1993).

Three approaches to participative inquiry. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of Qualitative Research (pp. 324-339). Thousand Oaks: Sage. (1994).

 Power and Conflict in multidisciplinary collaboration. Complementary Medical Research, 3(3), 144-150 (1991)

Toward a clinical framework for collaboration between general and complementary practitioners. (with colleagues) Journal of The Royal Society of Medicine, 86, 161-164.(1992).

Experience, Action and Metaphor as Dimensions of Post-Positivist Inquiry. In Research in Organizational Change and Development., edited by R Woodman and W. Pasmore. Greenwich, Connecticut: JAI Press, 1988.

Research as Personal Process (with Judi Marshall). In Appreciating Adults Learning: From the learners' perspective. David Boud and Virginia Griffin (eds). Kogan Page (1987)

Methods of Assessment. (Position paper from BHMA report on the BMA Board of Science Working Party on Alternative Therapy) Holistic Medicine 1 (1986).

The Human Capacity for Self-Healing and Enhanced Wellness: A Research Proposal. (With John Heron) Holistic Medicine 1, no. 2 (1986).

Reflections on the Purposes of Human Inquiry. Qualitative Inquiry 2, no. 1 (1986): 15-28.

Whole Person Medicine: A co-operative Inquiry (with John Heron). British Postgraduate Medical Federation, University of London, 1985.

Is Organization Development Possible in Power Cultures? In Power, Politics, Organizations, edited by Andrew Kakabadse and Christopher Parker: John Wiley and Sons, 1984.

New Paradigm Research Manifesto. New Paradigm Research Group (1979)

Explorations in the Dialectics of Interpersonal Relationships. PhD dissertation, Case Western Reserve University, 1976.

Out of the Scientific Prison. Term paper, Department of Organizational Behavior, Case Western Reserve University, 1972


Many of these videos were prepared for teaching at California Institute for Integral Studies. The first eight are introductions to aspects of co-operative inquiry; there are then two videos exploring Val Plumwood's analysis of dualism in Feminism and the Mastery of Nature; and two videos exploring operative inquiry and panpsychic experienceInput your text here! The text element is intended for longform copy that could potentially include multiple paragraphs.