Music teachers’ action research and the development of Big K knowledge

Tim Cain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

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Although action research is widely acknowledged to have benefits in terms of improving practice and professional development (Zeichner, 2002) its ability to generate new knowledge, and hence its status as research, is debatable (Lytle & Cochran-Smith, 1998). Indeed, there are questions as to whether it can be called ‘proper’ research (Clayton & O’Brien et al., 2008). This article draws on the Southampton Music Action Research Project, 2007-08, to examine how seven Secondary school music teachers undertook practitioner research projects in England, and what knowledge their projects generated. It finds that this knowledge included experiential, presentational, propositional and practical knowing (Heron & Reason, 1997; 2009). Although such knowledge is positioned as ‘Little K’ knowledge (Garvey & Williamson, 2002) the reception accorded to it by other teachers suggests that knowledge, generated by teachers’ action research, might sometimes have potential to be accepted as ‘Big K’ knowledge.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-175
JournalInternational Journal of Music Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2010


  • action research
  • teacher research
  • practitioner research
  • music
  • Big K Knowledge


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