Introducing action research

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  • Feminist research
  • Get them to look at photocopyMaybe activity or discussions on advantages /disadvantages of triangulation?

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  • 1. Introducing Action Research Muireann O'Keeffe
  • 2. This presentation explores the following:  Research Paradigms  History of action research  Practitioner as researcher  Types of action research – collaborative, participatory  Design: cycles  Data collection/analysis  Validity, rigour  Role of reflection
  • 3. Kurt Lewin  Kurt Lewin (1890-1947)  German social psychologist  Involved in combating of anti-Semitism  Joined Psychological Institute, University of Berlin  Moved to USA  Generally credited as the person who coined the term „action research‟
  • 4. Action research and its position within the research paradigms: EMPIRICAL RESEARCH (Quantitative) INTERPRETIVE RESEARCH (Qualitative) CRITICAL THEORETICAL RESEARCH ACTION RESEARCH Interpretive approaches Living theory approaches Critical theoretic approaches (McNiff & Whitehead 2002)
  • 5. Action research is:  Not research ‘on’ people (Quantitative paradigm)  Not research ‘for’ people (Qualitative paradigm) BUT  Research ‘with’ people (Critical Social theory paradigm)
  • 6. Critical Research Paradigm  Emancipatory interest (Freire)  Advocates Change  Political, ideological factors, power and interests shaping behaviour  Feminism  Small scale research  Participant researchers  Understanding, interrogating, critiquing, transforming actions and interests  Critical theorists, action researchers, practitioner researchers
  • 7. 4 Defining Characteristics of Action Research Practical nature – real world problems Change – integral part of research Cyclical process – feedback loop Participation is active not passive
  • 8. Action Research  It recognises that practitioners can and should contribute to research - initiated, directed and controlled by practitioner  Research in action rather than about action  It puts the „I‟ at the centre of the research process
  • 9. Key Features of Action Research  It is research in action rather than about action  It is participative  Starts small  It has a sequence of events (cycle)  Compiles evidence – keeps records (logs, journals)  Aims to manage change and/or solve problems in an analytical, reflective series of actions, evaluations and further actions.
  • 10. Key Features of Action Research CTD  It takes place in situ  It is self consciously analytical  It is generally grounded in a theoretical framework and through its activities generates emergent theory  It is informed by an overt ethical framework
  • 11. Practitioner Action Research (in education/health)  Aims to improve education/health practices by changing practice and learning from the consequences of change  It is participatory and collaborative  Establishes self critical communities keen to „enlighten‟ themselves and thus „emancipate‟ themselves from rigid practices
  • 12. Cycles of action research Plan Act Observe Reflect (Lewin 1946)
  • 13. Action Research Map 2. Imagine a possible solution 1. Identify a problematic issue 3. Try it out 4. Evaluate it 5. Change your practice in the light of the evaluation (McNiff 2002)
  • 14. Simple 5 step process (ITDEM) 1 • Identifying a problem/issue 2 • Thinking of ways to solve the problem 3 • Doing it 4 • Evaluating it (research findings) 5 • Modifying future practice (Norton, 2009)
  • 15. Criticisms of action research  Not valid research as seen from positivist/scientific perspective  Largely un-theorised descriptions of practice  Need to be aware of major criticisms, and have confidence in that approach to action research is well thought out and systematic  Findings not generalisable How can we combat this?
  • 16. Establishing reliability & validity Critical friends (Whitehead, McNiff) Recording of events (journaling) Validation of focus groups/interviews Triangulation Reflection: Helps to acknowledge individual bias
  • 17. Role of reflection What is reflective practice? “The ability to reflect to learn from and make sense of experience” Jackson (2006) …the process of stepping back from experience to process what the experience means, with a view to planning further (Kolb 1984) “we might find ourselves driving somewhere we go every day when we actually intended going somewhere different” (Somekh 2006)
  • 18. Triangulation  Checking data from multiple sources for consistency  Member-checking, is the data consistent?  Redundancy, ask the question in various ways  Effort to assure that right information and interpretation obtained?  Does phenomenon remain the same at other times?
  • 19. Action Research and Ethics  Action research is „insider research‟  If our journals remain private and our videotapes aren‟t played, we can inquire with equanimity……..however we rarely work in isolation (Zeni, 1998)  What at first seemed a rather straightforward exercise in translation proved a formidable task…………informed consent can be sought but the journey of research often changes as action progresses (Malone, 2010)
  • 20. Checklist for action research Cycle structure Timescales Ethical approval How will you insure quality and validity
  • 21. My Action Research Study  Problem: students not engaging with ePortfolio, lack of reflective practice  Question: How can I support postgraduate students developing ePortfolios?  Cycle of 2 years  Change of teaching practices, change design of curriculum implementation of new supports for students  Analysis: Currently investigating if the activities/strategies put in place during the academic year 2012-13 been effective in supporting the development of ePortfolios  Data Collection: Interviews, focus groups, student ePortfolios, my reflections.
  • 22. What action research means for my practice as a teacher: How do I improve what I am doing? Applied research carried out on an identified need for improvement An enquiry carried out to understand , evaluate and then change, in order to improve some educational practice Process of systematic reflection ..........
  • 23. References & Resources  Costello, Patrick (2011) effective action research: developing reflective thinking and practice. London, New York: Continuum International Pub. Group.  Denscombe, M (2010) The Good research guide: for small-scale research projects (4th Ed) Open University Press  Farren & Crotty Educational action research http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qg83f72_6Gw&feature=player_embedded  Freire, P. (1972) Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Harmondsworth: Penguin  Malone(2010) Ethics at home: informed consent in your own backyard, International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 16:6, 797-815  Mcniff, J., Lomax, P. Whitehead, J ( 2003) You and your research project (2nd ed)  Norton, L., (2009) Action research in teaching and learning: A practical guide to conducting pedagogical research in universities. Routledge  Whitehead, J (2011) All you need to know about action research. London: Sage Publications  Zeni (1998) A guide to ethical issues and action research, Educational Action Research, 6:1, 9-19
  • 24. Action Research Journals  Action research http://arj.sagepub.com/  Educational journal of living theories EJOLTS http://ejolts.net/  Educational Action Research http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/reac20/current