Created by Kurt Lewin in the United States during the 1940’s, the term action-research marks several methods of intervention that targets the association of actors in the field with the elaboration and creation of changes that concern them.

Henri Desroche,  founder of the Cooperative College of Paris, used action-research as a support of teaching and developpement permitting adults to produce, in the sphere of a university diploma (Diploma of Higher Studies in Social Practice), transferable innovating knowledge from professional and social experience.

An intervention by Action-Research targets:

  • To mobilise the actors in valorising their experience and knowledge of the field.
  • To define the objectives that make sense.
  • To caracterise the essential dimensions of situations encountered.
  • To associate the actors and partners concerned in the elaboration of solutions to be actualised.
  • To propose an active and implicated pedagogy favoring the acqusition of new skills.
  • To emphasize the creativity of individuals and groups in order to propose innovating solutions.



P.M. Mesnier, P. Missotte, La recherche-action, une autre manière de chercher, se former, transformer, Editions L’Harmattan (2003)

H. Desroche, Les auteurs et les acteurs, la recherche coopérative comme recherche-action, in ASSCOD n° 59, BECC (1982)

H. Desroche, Entreprendre d’apprendre, Les Editions Ouvrières (1990)

G. Avanzini, L’éducation des adultes, Editions Anthropos (1996)

Translated by Serge Gligoric