• action research typology;
  • empowerment;
  • health promotion;
  • primary health care teams;
  • self-efficacy theory

Placing empowerment research within an action research typology

The focus of this paper is to use three action research typologies to consider retrospectively, and understand, the processes of an empirical study. The typologies are used to plot the changing emphasis of collaborative action research with a primary health care team that addressed their health promotion practice. The study implemented self-efficacy theory into the health promotion practice of a primary health care team and developed a self-efficacy framework for smoking cessation. The framework had some success in aiding practitioners in their work despite the patients’ disinterest in smoking cessation. Two action research types can be identified within the study, a technical/experimental approach which surrounded the use of a researcher-led theoretical agenda, whereas the research facilitation was informed by critical theory and was classified as an enhancement/empowering action research type. This paper demonstrates the conflicting natures of these types which, in this study, resulted in positive outcomes associated with the experimental/technical approach but only at the expense of professional empowerment. The findings of this study imply that theoretically-led empowering action research was an incompatible combination in this instance and this potential conflict needs to be addressed by researchers engaging in collaborative research relationships with practitioners.