Action research and professional development in schools

Reflection as quality development and knowledge production




Insider research, School development, Practitioner action research


This article examines practitioner action research in schools and how action research can enhance practice and generate knowledge through partnerships between academia and the education sector. In 2020, revisions to the Norwegian curriculum for primary and secondary education introduced guidelines for professional work. The changes in the curriculum framework entail teachers’ collaboration in knowledge production - utilizing research and their own experiences in the process. This changed the formal role of teachers from transmitting established knowledge to producing knowledge in professional development and research activities. The new regulations can be related to traditions within practitioner action research.

The article explores how action research can be used as a methodological framework in the professional work of schools. The starting point for the article is a thematic analysis of reflections from an action research project named Deeper Learning – How?, in which six schools participate in developing a model for unit planning. Structured interviews were conducted with members of school development groups in the schools every six months over 3.5 years, totaling seven interviews per school. The participants' reflections on their professional work serve as the empirical basis for the article.

Results from the thematic analysis demonstrate that participants employed the action research process as a methodological tool to cultivate new insights and enhance practice. These reflections enrich the schools' comprehension of their educational practices and lead to measures for improvements, actions, and change. The results also highlight that proactive leadership, agreed-upon measures, teamwork, and a consistent rhythm in professional work are vital for educational practice development and knowledge production.


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How to Cite

Støren, K. (2024). Action research and professional development in schools: Reflection as quality development and knowledge production. Nordic Journal of Comparative and International Education (NJCIE), 8(1).