Enabling a Patient-Centered Health Care System
Action research is a principal means by which the Critical Junctures Institute works to build citizen capacity as co-designers of health systems and health promoting processes to:
- Remove barriers to improved patient access;
- Increase patient activation and self-management that supports and sustains behavior change;
- Help physicians, patients, and families understand each other better;
- Inform local public health policy.
Action research is a means for researchers and citizens to study what they are doing, thinking, and feeling and then together, seek to create alternative ways to improve health and health care practice.
Action research is issue-oriented and focused on ongoing learning that supports change. It takes place in real-world situations, and aims to solve real problems, not leaving follow-up to others after studies have been completed. It emphasizes researchers and citizens reflecting collaboratively on an issue selected jointly for inquiry.
By contrast, “traditional research” is conducted by researchers. The research topic or question comes from the researcher, and reflects a concern for objectivity and establishing generalized truths, rather than reflective learning and taking action based on this inquiry in collaboration with the “subjects” of the research. Rather traditional researchers focus on what peers (fellow researchers) are doing to contribute to an established body of knowledge, while striving not to get personally involved with the individuals or communities they are studying.