“The purpose of knowledge-making is so rarely debated,” write Peter Reason and Hilary Bradbury-Huang in the introduction to 2008’s The SAGE Handbook of Action Research: Participative Inquiry and Practice.
We start from these assertions — which may seem contentious to some of the academic community, while at the same time obvious to those of a more activist orientation — because the purpose of knowledge-making is so rarely debated. The institutions of normal science and academia, which have created such a monopoly on the knowledge-making process, place a primary value on pure research, the creation of knowledge unencumbered by practical questions. In contrast, the primary purpose of action research is not to produce academic theories based on action; nor is it to produce theories about action; nor is it to produce theoretical or empirical knowledge that can be applied in action; it is to liberate the human body, mind and spirit in the search for a better, freer world.
See also: “Knowing in action and the practice turn.”