Maintaining momentum in action research

Emma Radbron, Val Wilson, Rebekkah Middleton, Tanya McCance

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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

Aim: To offer strategies for maintaining momentum when utilising action research approaches in nursing research.

Discussion: Guided by Johns (1994) model of reflection, the paper discusses three strategies for maintaining momentum when undertaking action research. It draws on theory, literature and experience using action research methodology where the strategies of ‘connecting as people’, ‘working with the context’ and ‘understanding the influence of the leadership team’ made a considerable difference to maintaining momentum.

Conclusion: This paper highlights that whilst maintaining momentum in studies using AR can be arduous, utilising critical reflection enables researchers to identify and overcome the challenges that arise. The three strategies offered in this paper can be applied by researchers undertaking action research, or indeed other approaches to help maintain momentum during all phases of a research study.

Implications for practice: Maintaining momentum in AR studies is more successful when researchers’ connect as people with those they are undertaking research alongside.
It is advantageous for nurse researchers to reflect on and understand the influence of the leadership team and context rather than try and adapt them to the needs of the study or the researcher.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNurse Researcher
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 13 Jan 2021


  • action research
  • momentum
  • nursing
  • critical reflection


Dive into the research topics of 'Maintaining momentum in action research'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this