DATA COLLECTION METHODS
The three primary data
collection techniques are:
• Teachers undertaking action research have
countless opportunities to observe in their
own classrooms. They observe as a normal
part of their teaching--monitoring and
adjusting instruction based on verbal and non-
verbal interactions in their classrooms
• This third category for data collection
techniques suggests a “catch all” term to
describe everything else that a teacher
researcher may collect. Again, many of these
data sources are naturally occurring and
require only that the teacher locate them
within the school setting.
• The journal acts as a narrative technique for
recording events and feelings that are important
to the teacher researcher.
• Journals are records of classroom life.
• Journals capture the essence of what is
happening with students in classrooms.
• Journals are more than a single data source. They
are an ongoing attempt by teachers to
systematically reflect on their practice by
constructing narrative that honors the unique
and powerful voice of the teachers’ language.
• Classrooms are a rich source of artifacts--
written or visual sources of data that
contribute to our understanding of what is
happening in our classroom.
• This category might include student portfolios.
• The term “anecdote” means a short narrative
• It is told or recorded in “past” tense
• Form of recording observations of children
When will you observe?
• Children engaged in an activity or interaction
• The observation starts when the child begins
to engage in an activity or an interaction and
finishes when the child stops participating
• Record your observation as soon as possible
after the event to ensure that you remember
significant information eg. Direct quotes, hand
What will you record?
• Record what you see or hear - objectively
Body language, facial expressions, tone of voice
and direct quotes (if you can)
• Focus on information that is significant
• Record in sequence – no gaps
• The reader of the record should be able to
understand the sequence of events
How will you record?
• Use the format provided on the CD
• Record child’s first name and age in years and
months eg. (2.3)
• Record observers name and date of
• Offer a purpose for the observation eg. To
identify gross motor skills
• Describe the setting eg. Sandpit with a carer
during outside play
What do we use anecdotal records
• Useful for recording significant events that tell
us something about the child’s
development, interests, strengths, emerging
skills and needs.
• Anecdotal observations may focus on one area
of development or skill or several areas at
• Diaries have the added advantage of soon
becoming reflective, that is you will find
yourself writing down private thoughts which
can be enormously illuminative about your
own understandings and biases.
• It is not unusual to find that a diary will at
least provide a useful record of your activities.
• At best it will become a reflective account of
your activities and a major source of data
1. Read the extracts taken from a research
2. What data collection methods did the
researchers use in the research? Discuss.
3. Did the data collection answer each of the
research questions? Discuss.
4. Which data collection methods would you
use/suggest to ensure a richer data in this