Action Research in English Language Teaching: Contributions and Recent Developments

  • Anne BurnsEmail author
Reference work entry
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE)


Action research, as part of a more general movement toward “teacher research,” has become increasingly prevalent in the field of English language teaching (ELT) over the last two decades. It can be considered as a form of professional learning for language teachers which takes a socioconstructivist approach in which teachers are seen as agentive actors within their own social contexts. After providing an account of the conceptual features of action research and a brief overview of its origins, this chapter considers how it relates to other forms of research in ELT. It outlines the development of action research within the field of English language teaching. It then considers what various studies have shown about the impact of conducting action research on teachers. The chapter also considers some of the more recent initiatives that have contributed to the spread of this form of research in the field of English language teaching.


Action research Teacher research Language teaching Professional development Teacher education 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia

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