Chapter 18 Action Research Designs John W. Crewel Educational Research: Planning, Conducting, and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative Research, third edition Copyright 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458 All rights reserved. By the end of this chapter, you should be able to: Define the purposes and uses of action research Describe types of action research designs Identify key characteristics of action research Describe the steps in conducting an action research study List criteria for evaluating an action research study Educational Research: 18. 2 What Is Action Research?
Action research is systematic inquiry done by teachers (or other individuals in an educational setting) to gather information about, and subsequently improve, the ways their particular educational setting operates, how they teach, and how well their students learn (Mills, 2000). 18. 3 When Do You Use Action Research? When you have an educational problem to solve When educators want to reflect on their own practices When you want to address schoolchild problems When teachers want to improve their practices When educators want to participate in a research project 18. 4 How Action Research Developed
Teacher and school inquiries (teacher-initiated research studies) SASS SASS SASS School-based site councils (school committees) SASS Professional inquiry by teachers (self-study) In-service days (teacher staff-development activities) Movement Toward Action Research 18. 5 Why Action Research Is Important Encourages change in the schools Fosters a democratic (involvement of many individuals) approach to education Empowers individuals through collaboration on projects Positions teachers and other educators as learners who seek to narrow the gap between practice and their vision of education
Encourages educators to reflect on their practices Promotes a process of testing new ideas (Mills, 2000) 18. 6 Types of Action Research Designs Action Research Practical ;Studying local practices Involving individual or teammates inquiry ;Focusing on teacher development and student learning ;Implementing a plan of action ;Leading to the teacher-as-researcher Participatory ;Studying social issues that constrain individual lives ;Emphasizing “equal” collaboration ;Focusing on “life-enhancing changes” ;Resulting in the emancipated researcher 18. Practical Action Research: Mills (2000) Dialectic Research Spiral Identify an Area of Focus Develop an Action Plan Collect Data Analyze and Interpret Data 18. 8 Features of Participatory Action Research Deliberate exploration of a relationship between the individual and others Participatory: People conduct studies on themselves Practical and collaborative Emancipators (challenges procedures) Helps individuals free themselves from constraints found in media, language, work procedures, and power relationships Reflexive or dialectical: Focused on bringing about change in practices 18. Stringer’s (1999) Action Research Interacting Spiral Think Look Act 18. 10 Key Characteristics of Action Research A practical focus: Researchers study practical issues that will have immediate benefits to teachers, schools, and communities. The educator-researcher’s own practices: Self-reflective research by the autocorrelations turns the lens on their own educational classroom, school, or practices.
Collaboration between stakeholders 11 Collaboration Students Community Stakeholders Teachers Collaborative Team Parents Staff Administrators 12 Dynamic process – The process spirals back and forth among reflection, ATA collection, and action – Does not follow a linear pattern – Does not follow a causal sequence from problem to action A plan of action – The action researcher develops a plan of action – Formal or informal-?involve a few individuals or an entire community – May be presenting data to stakeholders, establishing a pilot program, or exploring new practices 13 (cont’d) Sharing research Groups of stakeholders Local schools, educational personnel Local or state individuals Not specifically interested in publication, but in sharing with individuals or groups who can promote change 14 Steps in Conducting Action Research 1. Determine if action research is the best design to use 2. Identify the problem to study 3. Locate resources to help address the problem 4.
Identify the information you will need 15 The Problem Is Only One Phase in Which to Enter Identifying “Problem” Collecting Data Evaluating Existing Point of Entry Taking Action 16 Taxonomy of Action Research Data Collection Techniques Data Collection Techniques (The Three SE) Experiencing Through observation and fieldstone Participant observation (Active participant) Privileged, active observer Passive observer Enquiring When the researcher asks Informal interview Structured formal interview Questionnaires Attitude scales Standardized tests Examining Using and making records Archival documents Journals Maps Audio and videotapes Artifacts Fieldstone 17 5. Implement the data collection 6. Analyze the data 7. Develop a plan for action 8. Implement the plan and reflect 18 Evaluating Action Research Does the project clearly address a problem or issue in practice that needs to be solved?
Did the action researcher collect sufficient data to address the problem? Did the action researcher collaborate with there during the study? Was there respect for all collaborators? Did the plan of action advanced by the researcher build logically from the data? Is there evidence that the plan of action contributed to the researcher’s reflection as a professional? 19 Evaluating Action Research (cont’d) Has the research enhanced the lives of the participants by empowering them, changing them, or providing them with new understanding? Did the action research actually lead to change, or did a solution too problem make the difference? Was the action research reported to audiences who might use the information?