Action research

References Action research consists of a family of research methodologies which pursue action and research outcomes at the same time. It therefore has some components which resemble consultancy or change agency, and some which resemble field research. Conventional experimental research, for good reason, has developed certain principles to guide its conduct. These principles are appropriate for certain types of research; but they can actually inhibit effective change.

Action research

Thus, selecting a focus, the first step Action research the process, is vitally important. Selecting a focus begins with the teacher researcher or the team of action researchers asking: What element s of our practice or what aspect of student learning do we wish to investigate? Step 2—Clarifying Theories The second step involves identifying the values, beliefs, and theoretical perspectives the researchers hold relating to their focus.

For example, if teachers are concerned about increasing responsible classroom behavior, it will be helpful for them to begin by clarifying which approach—using punishments and rewards, allowing students to experience the natural consequences of their behaviors, or some other strategy—they feel will work best in helping students acquire responsible classroom behavior habits.

Step 4—Collecting Data Professional educators always want their instructional decisions to be based on the best possible data. Action researchers can accomplish this by making sure that the data used to justify their actions are valid meaning the information represents what the researchers say it does and reliable meaning the researchers are confident about the accuracy of their data.

Action research

Lastly, before data are used to make teaching decisions, teachers must be confident that the lessons drawn from the data align with any unique characteristics of their classroom or school. To ensure reasonable validity and reliability, action researchers should avoid relying on any single source of data.

Most teacher researchers use a process called triangulation to enhance the validity and reliability of their findings. Triangulation is like studying an object located inside a box by viewing it through various windows cut into the sides of the box.

When planning instruction, teachers want the techniques they choose to be appropriate for the unique qualities of their students.

What Is Action Research?

Because the data being collected come from the very students and teachers who are engaged with the treatment, the relevance of the findings is assured. Fortunately, classrooms and schools are, by their nature, data-rich environments. Each day a child is in class, he or she is producing or not producing work, is interacting productively with classmates or experiencing difficulties in social situations, and is completing assignments proficiently or poorly.

Teachers not only see these events transpiring before their eyes, they generally record these events in their grade books. The key to managing triangulated data collection is, first, to be effective and efficient in collecting the material that is already swirling around the classroom, and, second, to identify other sources of data that might be effectively surfaced with tests, classroom discussions, or questionnaires.

Step 5—Analyzing Data Although data analysis often brings to mind the use of complex statistical calculations, this is rarely the case for the action researcher. A number of relatively user-friendly procedures can help a practitioner identify the trends and patterns in action research data.

During this portion of the seven-step process, teacher researchers will methodically sort, sift, rank, and examine their data to answer two generic questions: What is the story told by these data?

Why did the story play itself out this way? By answering these two questions, the teacher researcher can acquire a better understanding of the phenomenon under investigation and as a result can end up producing grounded theory regarding what might be done to improve the situation.

Step 6—Reporting Results It is often said that teaching is a lonely endeavor. It is doubly sad that so many teachers are left alone in their classrooms to reinvent the wheel on a daily basis. The loneliness of teaching is unfortunate not only because of its inefficiency, but also because when dealing with complex problems the wisdom of several minds is inevitably better than one.

The sad history of teacher isolation may explain why the very act of reporting on their action research has proven so powerful for both the researchers and their colleagues.

The reporting of action research most often occurs in informal settings that are far less intimidating than the venues where scholarly research has traditionally been shared. Faculty meetings, brown bag lunch seminars, and teacher conferences are among the most common venues for sharing action research with peers.

However, each year more and more teacher researchers are writing up their work for publication or to help fulfill requirements in graduate programs. Regardless of which venue or technique educators select for reporting on research, the simple knowledge that they are making a contribution to a collective knowledge base regarding teaching and learning frequently proves to be among the most rewarding aspects of this work.

When teachers write lesson plans or develop academic programs, they are engaged in the action planning process. What makes action planning particularly satisfying for the teacher researcher is that with each piece of data uncovered about teaching or student learning the educator will feel greater confidence in the wisdom of the next steps.

Although all teaching can be classified as trial and error, action researchers find that the research process liberates them from continuously repeating their past mistakes.

Three Purposes for Action Research

More important, with each refinement of practice, action researchers gain valid and reliable data on their developing virtuosity. Three Purposes for Action Research As stated earlier, action research can be engaged in by an individual teacher, a collaborative group of colleagues sharing a common concern, or an entire school faculty.

These three different approaches to organizing for research serve three compatible, yet distinct, purposes: Building the reflective practitioner Making progress on schoolwide priorities Building professional cultures Building the Reflective Practitioner When individual teachers make a personal commitment to systematically collect data on their work, they are embarking on a process that will foster continuous growth and development.

In this way, the individual teachers conducting action research are making continuous progress in developing their strengths as reflective practitioners.

Making Progress on Schoolwide Priorities Increasingly, schools are focusing on strengthening themselves and their programs through the development of common focuses and a strong sense of esprit de corps.

Building Professional Cultures Often an entire faculty will share a commitment to student development, yet the group finds itself unable to adopt a single common focus for action research.Action research is conducted in the workplace with others.

It is a collaborative process. But, also, the doing of action research is more effective when action researchers can benefit from the help of a community of action researchers.

A fundamental premise of community-based action research is that it commences with an interest in the problems of a group, a community, or an organization.

Action research in more detail. I regard action research as a methodology which is intended to have both action outcomes and research outcomes.

I recognise, too, that in some action research the research component mostly takes the form of understanding on the part of those involved. The action is primary.

The Action Research Process

"Action research is inquiry or research in the context of focused efforts to improve the quality of an organization and its performance. It typically is designed and conducted by practitioners who analyze the data to improve their own practice.

Educational action research can be engaged in by a single teacher, by a group of colleagues who share an interest in a common problem, or by the entire faculty of a school.

Whatever the scenario, action research always involves the same seven-step process. In schools, action research refers to a wide variety of evaluative, investigative, and analytical research methods designed to diagnose problems or weaknesses—whether organizational, academic, or instructional—and help educators develop practical solutions to address them quickly and efficiently.

Action research

Action research may also be applied to .

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