This paper presents an overview of the action research methodology and asserts its suitability as an approach to enquiry and practice in the field of information literacy (IL). An experience of action research is briefly presented and some strengths and weaknesses of this methodological approach are critically discussed.
Action research was adopted for investigating the impact of an IL programme on a homogeneous group of students at the University of Parma (Italy). The project consisted of a cycle of four stages: observing, planning, acting, evaluating. Peer observation was adopted both as a validation method and as a support for the reflection on the research process.
Action research is a suitable approach for teaching librarians, as it allows them to experience the role of teacher, researcher and reflective practitioner all together, thus favouring reflection on the complex, “multitask” role that they are playing today. Moreover, action research puts teaching librarians in an attitude of learning from the educational context in which they work, encourages sharing of experiences and promotes change in library context.
This contribution could encourage teaching librarians to adopt action research as a new approach to enquiry and practice and as a way to investigate their context, reflect on their actions and promote change in the field of IL.
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