Action Science

The book Action Science:  Concepts, Methods, and Skills for Research and Intervention, by Chris Argyris, Robert Putnam, and Diana McLain Smith, was published by Jossey-Bass in 1985 and remained in print until 2000.  It has become a standard text in several graduate-level courses.  In the interests of continuing to make it available to scholars, researchers, and practitioners, we are providing the full text, chapter by chapter, in PDF format.   

Preface, Table of Contents, Authors

Part One:  Designing a Science of Human Action

  1. Philosophical and Methodological Issues
  2. Action Science:  Promoting Learning for Action and Change
  3. Theories of Action

Part Two:  Practices, Methods, and Results of Normal Science and Action Science

  1. Beyond the Limitations of Normal Science:  Comparing Laboratory Experiments and Action Experiments
  2. Organizational Assessment Research:  Filling in Gaps that Normal Science Overlooks
  3. The Ethnographic Approach to Intervention and Fundamental Change, by Dianne Argyris
  4. The Social Scientist as Practitioner:  Barriers to Translating Scientific Knowledge into Practical Knowledge
  5. Practicing Action Science:  Methods of Inquiry and Intervention

Part Three:  Developing Skills for Useful Research and Effective Intervention

  1. Engaging the Learning Process
  2. Promoting Reflection and Experimentation
  3. Expanding and Deepening the Learning
  4. Developing New Frames of Reference