Maintaining momentum in action research
Evidence and practice    

Maintaining momentum in action research

Emma Radbron Registered nurse and PhD candidate, Wollongong Hospital, Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia
Tanya McCance Professor of nursing, University of Ulster, Jordanstown, Northern Ireland
Rebekkah Middleton Senior lecturer, School of Nursing, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia
Valerie Wilson Professor of nursing, University of Wollongong and Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia

Why you should read this article:
  • To explore challenges faced by researchers in maintaining momentum when using action research

  • To appreciate the benefit of engaging in critical reflection to overcome challenges in maintaining momentum in research

  • To learn practical strategies that researchers can apply to assist in maintaining momentum when engaging in action research

Background Action research (AR) provides a robust platform for collaboration to develop and evaluate nursing practice. It results in several outcomes, including changes in evidence-based practice, the development of research capacity, and the evaluation and sustainability of interventions, all of which can be seen as benefits compared to other approaches. However, the methodology involves cycles of action, reflection, theory and practice, so it can be challenging to maintain momentum when engaging with teams over long periods of time.

Aim To offer strategies for maintaining momentum when using AR in nursing research.

Discussion Three strategies for maintaining momentum when undertaking AR are covered. Theory, literature and experience of using AR in which the strategies of ‘connecting as people’, ‘working with the context’ and ‘understanding the influence of the leadership team’ made a considerable difference in maintaining momentum and are drawn on.

Conclusion Maintaining momentum in studies that use AR can be arduous, but critical reflection enables researchers to identify and overcome the challenges that arise. Researchers undertaking AR can apply the three strategies provided or other approaches to maintain momentum during all phases of a study.

Implications for practice Maintaining momentum in AR studies is more successful when researchers connect with those with whom they are undertaking research. It is advantageous for nurse researchers to reflect on and understand the influence of the leadership team and context rather than try to adapt them to the study’s or their own needs.

Nurse Researcher. 29, 3, 15-21. doi: 10.7748/nr.2021.e1789


Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software

Conflict of interest

None declared


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