Skip Nav

Chapter 1. What Is Action Research?

Three Purposes for Action Research

❶Lastly, 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.

Navigation menu

The Action Research Process


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. 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.

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. More important, with each refinement of practice, action researchers gain valid and reliable data on their developing virtuosity. 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. 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.

When each lesson is looked on as an empirical investigation into factors affecting teaching and learning and when reflections on the findings from each day's work inform the next day's instruction, teachers can't help but develop greater mastery of the art and science of teaching.

In this way, the individual teachers conducting action research are making continuous progress in developing their strengths as reflective practitioners. Increasingly, schools are focusing on strengthening themselves and their programs through the development of common focuses and a strong sense of esprit de corps. 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.

This should not be viewed as indicative of a problem. Schools whose faculties cannot agree on a single research focus can still use action research as a tool to help transform themselves into a learning organization. They accomplish this in the same manner as do the physicians at the medical center.

It is common practice in a quality medical center for physicians to engage in independent, even idiosyncratic, research agendas. However, it is also common for medical researchers to share the findings obtained from their research with colleagues even those engaged in other specialties.

If ever there were a time and a strategy that were right for each other, the time is now and the strategy is action research! This is true for a host of reasons, with none more important than the need to accomplish the following: Enhance the motivation and efficacy of a weary faculty. Meet the needs of an increasingly diverse student body.

Teaching in North America has evolved in a manner that makes it more like blue-collar work than a professional undertaking. Although blue-collar workers are expected to do their jobs with vigilance and vigor, it is also assumed that their tasks will be routine, straightforward, and, therefore, easily handled by an isolated worker with only the occasional support of a supervisor.

Professional work, on the other hand, is expected to be complex and nonroutine, and will generally require collaboration among practitioners to produce satisfactory results. With the exploding knowledge base on teaching and learning and the heightened demands on teachers to help all children achieve mastery of meaningful objectives, the inadequacy of the blue-collar model for teaching is becoming much clearer.

When the teachers in a school begin conducting action research, their workplace begins to take on more of the flavor of the workplaces of other professionals. The wisdom that informs practice starts coming from those doing the work, not from supervisors who oftentimes are less in touch with and less sensitive to the issues of teaching and learning than the teachers doing the work.

Furthermore, when teachers begin engaging their colleagues in discussions of classroom issues, the multiple perspectives that emerge and thus frame the dialogue tend to produce wiser professional decisions. The work of teaching has always been difficult. But now it isn't just the demands of the classroom that are wearing teachers down.

Students increasingly bring more problems into the classroom; parental and societal expectations keep increasing; and financial cutbacks make it clear that today's teachers are being asked to do more with less. Worse still, the respect that society had traditionally placed upon public school teachers is eroding, as teacher bashing and attacks on the very value of a public education are becoming a regular part of the political landscape.

Consequently, teacher burnout has become the plague of the modern schoolhouse. However, without credible evidence that the work of teaching is making a difference, it is hard to imagine the best and brightest sticking with such a difficult and poorly compensated line of work.

Fortunately, evidence has shown that teachers who elect to integrate the use of data into their work start exhibiting the compulsive behavior of fitness enthusiasts who regularly weigh themselves, check their heart rate, and graph data on their improving physical development. For both teachers and athletes, the continuous presence of compelling data that their hard work is paying off becomes, in itself, a vitally energizing force. In a homogeneous society in which all students come to school looking alike, it might be wise to seek the one right answer to questions of pedagogy.

It is now imperative that classroom teachers have strong content background in each of the subjects they teach, be familiar with the range of student differences in their classrooms, and be capable of diagnosing and prescribing appropriate instructional modifications based upon a knowledge of each child's uniqueness.

Crafting solutions to these dynamic and ever changing classroom issues can be an exciting undertaking, especially when one acknowledges that newer and better answers are evolving all the time. Nevertheless, great personal satisfaction comes from playing a role in creating successful solutions to continually changing puzzles. Conversely, if teachers are expected to robotically implement outdated approaches, especially when countless new challenges are arriving at their door, the frustration can become unbearable.

In most jurisdictions standards-driven accountability systems have become the norm. Although they differ somewhat from state to state and province to province, fundamentally these standards-based systems have certain things in common.

Specifically, most education departments and ministries have declared that they expect the standards to be rigorous and meaningful, and that they expect all students to meet the standards at the mastery level. The stakes in the standards movement are high. Students face consequences regarding promotion and graduation. Teachers and schools face ridicule and loss of funding if they fail to meet community expectations. The major idea is to "research 'with' rather than 'on' people.

Cooperative inquiry creates a research cycle among 4 different types of knowledge: At every cycle, the research process includes these four stages, with deepening experience and knowledge of the initial proposition, or of new propositions. Participatory action research has emerged in recent years as a significant methodology for intervention, development and change within groups and communities. It is now promoted and implemented by many international development agencies and university programs, as well as countless local community organizations around the world.

This was further developed in "adult education" models throughout Latin America. Orlando Fals-Borda — , Colombian sociologist and political activist, was one of the principal promoters of participatory action research IAP in Spanish in Latin America. He published a "double history of the coast", book that compares the official "history" and the non-official "story" of the north coast of Colombia. William Barry Atkins and Wallace defined an approach to action research which focuses on creating ontological weight.

Barry was influenced by Jean McNiff's and Jack Whitehead's phraseology of living theory action research but was diametrically opposed to the validation process advocated by Whitehead which demanded video "evidence" of "energy flowing values" and his atheistic ontological position which influenced his conception of values in action research. Barry explained that living educational theory LET "[It is] a critical and transformational approach to action research.

It confronts the researcher to challenge the status quo of their educational practice and to answer the question, 'How can I improve that I'm doing?

The mission of the LET action researcher is to overcome workplace norms and self-behavior which contradict the researcher's values and beliefs. The vision of the LET researcher is to make an original contribution to knowledge through generating an educational theory proven to improve the learning of people within a social learning space.

The standard of judgment for theory validity is evidence of workplace reform, transformational growth of the researcher, and improved learning by the people researcher claimed to have influenced French and Cecil Bell define organization development OD at one point as "organization improvement through action research". Concerned with social change and, more particularly, with effective, permanent social change, Lewin believed that the motivation to change was strongly related to action: If people are active in decisions affecting them, they are more likely to adopt new ways.

Lewin's description of the process of change involves three steps: Figure 1 summarizes the steps and processes involved in planned change through action research. Action research is depicted as a cyclical process of change. Major adjustments and reevaluations would return the OD project to the first or planning stage for basic changes in the program.

The action-research model shown in Figure 1 closely follows Lewin's repetitive cycle of planning, action, and measuring results. It also illustrates other aspects of Lewin's general model of change. As indicated in the diagram, the planning stage is a period of unfreezing, or problem awareness.

There is inevitable overlap between the stages, since the boundaries are not clear-cut and cannot be in a continuous process. The results stage is a period of refreezing, in which new behaviors are tried out on the job and, if successful and reinforcing, become a part of the system's repertoire of problem-solving behavior. Action research is problem centered, client centered, and action oriented.

It involves the client system in a diagnostic, active-learning, problem-finding and problem-solving process. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the academic journal titled Action Research, see Action Research journal. This article needs additional citations for verification.

Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. January Learn how and when to remove this template message.


Main Topics

Privacy Policy

Action research is either research initiated to solve an immediate problem or a reflective process of progressive problem solving led by individuals working with others in teams or as part of a "community of practice" to improve the way they address issues and solve problems.

Privacy FAQs

Different models and definitions of action research are explored and an attempt is made to identify the unique features of action research that should make it an attractive mode of research .

About Our Ads

Implementing the Action Research Model Change influences every aspect of life. For organizations, change is the way to remain competitive and to grow. action research model 1. The Power point presentationon:Action Research model 2. Action Research ModelThe action research model focuses onplanned change as a cyclical process inwhich initial research about the organizationprovides information to guide subsequentaction.

Cookie Info

Action Research Defined Action Research Model is a method to facilitate change by helping involve the client system in a diagnostic, active-learning, problem-finding, and problem-solving. A succinct definition of action research appears in the workshop materials we use at the Institute for the Study of Inquiry in Education. That definition states that action research is a disciplined process of inquiry conducted by and for those taking the action. The primary reason for engaging in.