Outside of accounting education, action research is widely considered crucial for supporting broad reforms. Action research integrates theory with action to solve problems, improve practices, and address issues together with those who experience them. Yet the body of action research in accounting education remains very small. Historically, efforts to reform accounting education have led to pockets of innovation but have not systematically addressed impediments that inhibit widespread continuous improvement. Lack of available formal training inhibits development of the action research capacity needed to support broad reform in accounting education. This paper provides a conceptual action research framework that includes two ontologies to classify different types of action research. One type, emancipated action research, involves taking strategic action to change or eliminate structural impediments that limit improvement achievable through other types, often earlier phases, of action research. The paper reports an action research project that involved two strategic actions, investigation of an action research reflection practice and use of an educative case to report the project. The case illustrates how action research can support reform in accounting education and demonstrates a generalizable approach accounting educators and education researchers can use to develop action research capacity.

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