Action research is an established research method in use in the social and medical sciences since the mid-twentieth century, and has increased in importance for information systems toward the end of the 1990s. Its particular philosophic context is couched in strongly post-positivist assumptions such as idiographic and interpretive research ideals. Action research has developed a history within information systems that can be explicitly linked to early work by Lewin and the Tavistock Institute. Action research varies in form, and responds to particular problem domains. The most typical form is a participatory method based on a five-step model, which is exemplified by published IS research.
Baskerville, Richard L.
"Investigating Information Systems with Action Research,"
Communications of the Association for Information Systems:
Vol. 2, Article 19.
Available at: http://aisel.aisnet.org/cais/vol2/iss1/19