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Introduction to Action Research

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This presentation is part of a workshop in the PGCert Developing Professional Practice in Higher Education run by the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching at the University of Wales, …

This presentation is part of a workshop in the PGCert Developing Professional Practice in Higher Education run by the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching at the University of Wales, Newport. This presentation was delivered by Rachel Stubley in the afternoon of Friday 9th October 2009 on the Allt-Yr-Yn Campus of the University of Wales, Newport.

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  • 1. PG Cert: developing professional practice in HE Introduction to Action Research 9th October 2009
  • 2. Session objectives  To share definitions of research and describe action research  To undertake a SWOT analysis of ourselves as HE teachers  To identify potential areas for own action research  To start to plan how to undertake this research
  • 3. What do you call research?  Spend a few minutes thinking about research in an area of interest  In non-specialist language give examples of:  a “typical” research question  typical research activities  typical research outcomes (e.g. who is the audience? is something produced? might certain practices change?)
  • 4. Social science vs action research  Looks at a situation from outside/objective distance  Looks at others  Produces scientific proof  Conclusions can be generally applied  May show cause/effect, statistical correlation  Looks at own practice/practitioner led  Emphasis on self- knowledge/transforming practice  Results are provisional  Specific and personal – to be shared and learned from  Aims for improvements, rather than an answer
  • 5. Social science vs action research QUESTIONS What is the relationship between student motivation and student retention? How do I improve the quality of students’ experience at Newport, so that they stay? Does teaching style influence student assessment results? ? Will a different seating arrangement increase learner participation? ?
  • 6. What constitutes data in action research?  …“data refers to all the information you gather in relation to a particular issue. Evidence refers to those special pieces of data that show the issue in action. Evidence is therefore found in, and extracted from, data, which are usually contained in … books, records, memos, transcripts, computer files, videos, pictures and so on. Your task is to imagine where you could find evidence, that is, what sources of data you would look at to find instances of what you are looking for…”  McNiff & Whitehead 2005:95
  • 7. Your action research  Study the diagram on p.50 of the guide  Now look at the examples of action research cycle topics from past participants  Flesh them out with actions/sources of data etc.
  • 8. SWOT analysis Strengths (own) Weaknesses (own) Opportunities (external) Threats (external)
  • 9. Developing your project (McNiff & Whitehead 2005:91) What is my concern? Identify a small, focussed, managable research area Turn the research issue into a “how do I…” action research question Why am I concerned? Is this issue in some way related to your values – express what this is/these are
  • 10. Developing your project (McNiff & Whitehead 2005:91)  Look at the remaining questions on the handout  This is a suggested framework for developing an action plan  You can ideastorm, make notes, draw spidergraphs etc. in order to develop your ideas….
  • 11. References/further reading  Cohen, L & Manion, L (1994) Research Methods in Education 4th Edition London: Routledge  McNiff, J. & Whitehead, J. (2005) All you need to know about action research: an introduction London: Sage