a process in which participants systematically examine their own educational practice using the techniques of research, for the purpose of increasing learning of students, their teachers, and other interested parties.
Caro-Bruce. (2000). Action Researcher: Facilitator’s Handbook . National Council of Staff Development.
According to Sagor (1992), collaborative action research involves “people who want to do something to improve their own situation” (p. 7) taking action. The focus of the research process is “teams of practitioners who have common interests” (p. 10) working together to investigate issues relevant to their interests.
Collaborative action research and school counselors. From: Professional School Counseling | Date: 10/1/2005 | Author: Rowell, Lonnie L.
is the process through which teachers collaborate in evaluating their practice jointly; raise awareness of their personal theory; articulate a shared conception of values; try out new strategies to render the values expressed in their practice more consistent with the educational values they espouse; record their work in a form which is readily available to and understandable by other teachers; and thus develop a shared theory of teaching by researching practice.
Traditionally, scientific research has been conducted by professional full-time researchers. They generally choose their topics based on their personal predilections or the preference of journal editors, and they publish reports of their work with the hope that someone will someday make use of it. But even if no one does, their work is usually complete upon publication of their report.
Action research, on the other hand, is conducted by people who want to do something to improve their own situation . When other people read about their work, notice it, or make use of it, that is simply icing on the cake. Action researchers undertake a study because they want to know whether they can do something in a better way.
Sagor, How to Conduct Collaborative Action Research , Chapter 2. Defining Collaborative Action Research
Inquiry is the investigation of users and their context in order to understand their problem space, their goals, and associated design constraints, usually by observational methods, surveys, and interviews. Collaborative inquiry involves the users (or potential users) of an application in the investigation, relying on them as collaborators for their domain knowledge and appreciation of user needs.
The main reason is based on the old adage, “Two heads better than one.” Multiple perspectives from different people help make sense of the complex nature of teaching and learning. Additionally, research informs us it is a good characteristic of successful professional development.
This step, which is described in detail in Chapter 3, helps action researchers identify the issues that are of the greatest professional concern. Researchers identify what they already know about each issue, what they still need to know about it, and their understanding of the variables affecting the issue.
Corresponds to Phases I and II of Five Phases of Action Research , because it involves both identifying the problem and creating a plan of what to do about it.
Action research involves puzzling, the identification of a 'problem' where there is some doubt about how to proceed. It requires the ability to constantly ask questions (problem definition), in addition to the determination of patterns through the formal tools of systematic audit.
Research to Support Schools of Ambition: Annual Report 2007 . 4. Summary and conclusions. 4.1 Learning Issues for Schools
How do I choose a research question to study ?
The question should be:
Focused on your practice
Focused on client/student impact
Within your control to influence
Something you feel passionate about
Something you’d like to change
Aligned with your professional growth
Action Research Question Formation : 3. Question Characteristics
Commonly used data collection tools in action research projects include existing archival sources in schools (e.g., attendance reports, standardized test scores, lesson plans, curriculum documents), questionnaires, interviews, observation notes and protocols, videotapes, photographs, journals and diaries, and narratives (e.g., stories told by teachers, see Hartman, 1998).
Donato, R. (2003, December). Action Research
Hartman, D. K. (1998). Stories teachers tell. Lincolnwood, IL: National Textbook.
[Sagor] provides several suggestions, including identifying themes that appear repeatedly in the data, considering how much data support each theme, using a matrix to help see which themes emerge from which data sources, using quotes from participants in the study to represent the themes that emerged from the data, and forming new conclusions about the research question based on the data. The key lies in "looking systematically at all the data collected to see what trends or patterns emerge and what conclusions, if any, can be drawn"(p. 11). However, even if a theme does not come up frequently, the research team may still feel that it is noteworthy.
Jacobs, G. Review of Sagor .
See also A Process for Analyzing Your Data and Guidelines for Analyzing Your Data
One of the nice things about reporting action research is the freedom you have in choosing how to present what you have learned. The professional research community has developed rules and conventions regarding scientific presentation (see, for example, the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association ) that, while enforcing some degree of rigor through standardization, may also stifle enthusiasm and creativity, both of which are hallmarks of collaborative action research. Since action research reports are developed by and for practitioners, the most important consideration should be to choose a method that will tell the story accurately and effectively.
Action planning is a process which will help you to focus your ideas and to decide what steps you need to take to achieve particular goals that you may have. It is a statement on paper of what you want to achieve over a given period of time. Preparing an action plan is a good way to help you to reach your objectives in life.
An effective action plan should give you a concrete timetable and set of clearly defined steps to help you to reach your objective, rather than aimlessly wondering what to do next. It helps you to focus your ideas and provides you with an answer to the question ‘‘What do I do to achieve my objective?’’
University of Kent > Careers > Employability Skills > Action Planning