Maintaining momentum in action research

Emma Radbron, Tanya McCance, Rebekkah Middleton, Val Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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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.

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

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.

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.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1789
Pages (from-to)15-21
Number of pages7
JournalNurse Researcher
Issue number3
Early online date1 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 9 Sept 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
©2021 RCN Publishing Company Ltd. All rights reserved. Not to be copied, transmitted or recorded in any way, in whole or part, without prior permission of the publishers.


  • action research
  • momentum
  • nursing
  • critical reflection
  • continuing professional development
  • education
  • reflection
  • research methods
  • research
  • Leadership
  • Nursing Research
  • Humans
  • Health Services Research


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