In this paper we present the history and background of action research. We identify the way in which action research has evolved over time, reflecting paradigmatic shifts towards contemporary philosophies of emancipation and transformation. Because of the way in which the paradigms underpinning action research have evolved, the methodology has also developed, with an increasing emphasis on maximising the potential for collaboration and participation. We will argue that the most recent representation of action research as ‘transformational research’ has pushed the boundaries of research even further and has challenged dominant thinking about the way research is conducted. A case study of transformational action research derived from an ongoing project in Australia is presented to illustrate the methodology in action. Finally, a discussion of key issues arising from the case study in the context of action research theory and practice highlights the importance of active learning as a means of enabling transformation to happen.