Action Research• Questions that will be partly answered:• What is Action Research?• How to use it?• How you might start using it?• Why it could be useful to you?• Other related methods and methodologies
What is Action Research?• Action research is a term which refers to a practical way of looking at your own work to check that it is as you would like it to be. Because action research is done by you, the practitioner, it is often referred to as practitioner based research; and because it involves you thinking about and reflecting on your work, it can also be called a form of self-reflective practice.• From http://www.jeanmcniff.com/booklet1.html#2
What is Action Research?• It typically is designed and conducted by practitioners who analyse the data to improve their own practice. Action research can be done by individuals or by teams of colleagues. The team approach is called collaborative inquiry.• From: http://www.ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/issues/envrnmnt/ drugfree/sa3act.htm
What is Action Research?• Action research can be described as a family of research methodologies which pursue action (or change) and research (or understanding) at the same time. In most of its forms it does this by:• using a cyclic or spiral process which alternates between action and critical reflection and
What is Action Research?• in the later cycles, continuously refining methods, data and interpretation in the light of the understanding developed in the earlier cycles.• It is thus an emergent process which takes shape as understanding increases; it is an iterative process which converges towards a better understanding of what happens.• From: http://www.scu.edu.au/schools/gcm/ar/whatisar. html
Action Research• ‘Action research is simply a form of self- reflective enquiry undertaken by participants in social situations in order to improve the rationality and justice of their own practices, their understanding of these practices, and the situations in which the practices are carried out.’• (Carr and Kemmis 1986: 162)
How to use it?• The action research process works through three basic phases:• Look - building a picture and gathering information. When evaluating we define and describe the problem to be investigated and the context in which it is set. We also describe what all the participants … have been doing.
How to use it?• Think – interpreting and explaining. When evaluating we analyse and interpret the situation. We reflect on what participants have been doing. We look at areas of success and any deficiencies, issues or problems.
How to use it?• Act – resolving issues and problems. In evaluation we judge the worth, effectiveness, appropriateness, and outcomes of those activities. We act to formulate solutions to any problems.• (Stringer 1999: 18; 43-44;160)• From: www.infed.org/research/b- actres.htm
How to use it?• review current practice• identify an aspect to improve• imagine a way forward• try it out• take stock of what happens• modify plan in light of what is found and continue with the ‘action’• evaluate the modified action• and so on until satisfied with that aspect of work
How you might start using it?• The following steps may help in deciding where to begin:• look closely at what is currently going on and look for ‘clues’ as to where to focus your attention• explore the qualities of your imagined solution and try to identify the constituent parts• use your intuition as well as rational evaluation
How you might start using it?• research what interventions others have tried in relation to your area of concern• talk it through with colleagues or critical friends, participants etc; seek the perspective of others• be prepared to begin somewhere and learn from the response• http://edu.projects.uwe.ac.uk/trainingschool/met hodology/action-research.htm
Why it could be useful to you?• Action Research is a form of inquiry conducted by researchers who wish to inform and improve:• Their practice.• Their understanding and decision-making in their practice.• The effect of their practice on the research.
Action research is an opportunity for practitioners to:• focus their attention on matters of priority and• to feel empowered to be developing one’s own professional practice and identity in a systematic and supported way. It puts the ‘self’ centrally in the equation: the ‘subject’ of enquiry and improvement, not the ‘object’ of regulation and testing. In this, it is a more generative and creative way to achieve improvement.
Why do Action Research?• It also recognises the importance of context for sustainable change - one has to try out and explore development in specific and real contexts not abstract and idealised settings.
Other related methods and methodologies.• Quantitative Research is used to measure how many people feel, think or act in a particular way.• Qualitative Research is used to explore and understand peoples beliefs, experiences, attitudes, behaviour and interactions.
Case study• ‘Case study is the study of the particularity and complexity of a single case…[emphasising] … episodes of nuance, the sequentially of happenings in context, the wholeness of the individual.’• An in-depth exploration of one particular case (situation or subject) for the purpose of gaining depth of understanding into the issues being investigated. For example, out of 30 in-depth interviews, one may be singled out for a case study.