Responsible Action Research for the Pursuit of Justice

Document Type


Publication Date



justice, responsibility, action research

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)



The pursuit of justice has concerned human beings for centuries and, despite its importance, often remains outside the boundaries of our educational systems. This article reports on a study of an action research seminar for a group of teacher leaders in a position to instigate positive change within their educational context, and make their actions occasions for justice. In order to better understand the textual data generated by the teacher leaders, we devised an analytical lens that draws from modern rabbinical scholarship, eco-political (socio-political) studies, and existentialism. We found at this intersection that, despite the teacher leaders recognizing injustice, and at times protesting against it, their ability to act, formulate solutions, and conduct action research – and even their very concept of justice – was heavily influenced and constrained by the dominant political regime of the US educational system. An explanatory framework emerged that sheds light on the dynamic interplay among justice, politics, and beliefs, while also revealing the constraints to pursuing justice from within a leadership structure. We conclude that for action research to be a means for teachers and teacher leaders to begin to modify their practice so they are sensitive to the voices of the marginalized, to see their actions as opportunities for justice, and to provide collaborative experiences that help other teachers develop their ways of thinking, acting, and interacting in pursuit of justice, those who teach action research must be willing to do the very same.

Citation / Publisher Attribution

Educational Action Research, v. 23, issue 1, p. 85-103