This presentation aims to look at how practitioners can use action research as a tool to take control of, develop the design and technology curriculum and make it work. I define action research as small scale, usually collaborative, research by practitioners into their own curriculum and practice. It is usually cyclical and designed with an awareness of the advantages, limitations and procedures of such small scale research.
Action research, however, offers far more than simply small scale research within the confines of individual schools. With the right support it can web out in a synergetic manner and build a rigorous understanding of our subject and pedagogy at a national level through the principles of grounded theory as proposed by Glaser and Strauss (1967). Such a „ground-up‟ approach to evidence-based planning can have many benefits beyond the immediately obvious. Practitioners will realise the flexibility they have to explore; they will collaborate more; learn from each other; value each other more; morale should rise and, of course, pupil learning experiences should be more positive. The presentation will firstly consider the national (UK) context of design and
technology education and teachers‟ reaction to it. I call for support for a far stronger school based research culture designed to web out and feed upwards. I outline a typical action research project trajectory and consider possible specific methodologies including how some of the main limitations of action research can be managed. Finally I look at the importance of publishing via professional and academic journals, such as the D&T Association journals, plus web based econferences such as IDATER on-line. If this is done more effectively the webbing of information and discussion acts to build theory, improve practice and can, ultimately, influence national policy.