Action Research








Action Research

Keyword: What is action research;  Types of Action Research; Characteristics of Action Research; A plan of action Research,

Research is:
*        Organized systematic scientific investigation to solve problems and  test hypothesis, or Add new knowledge to the field of study
*      Research is a very careful, critical and disciplined inquiry varying in technique and method according to the nature and conditions of the problem identified, directed towards the clarification or resolution (or both) of a problem.
 Conducted when a decision must be made about a specific real-life problem
Research undertaken to answer questions about specific problems or to make decision about a particular course of action or policy


Action Research
Definition
Action research is a research that ANY of us can do on his/her own practice to improve it.
It can be conducted with the assistance or guidance of professional researchers in order to improve strategies, practices, and knowledge of the environments within which they practice.
“Action research is a process in which participants examine their own educational practice, systematically and carefully, using the techniques of research”
Action research can be described as a family of research methodologies which pursue ACTION (or Change) and RESEARCH (or Understanding) at the same time.

What is action research?
Action research is inquiry or research in the context of focused efforts to improve the quality of a PRACTICE.
It is typically designed and conducted by practitioners who analyze the data to improve their own practice.
Action research can be done by individuals or by teams of colleagues. The team approach is called collaborative inquiry.
Action research has the potential to generate genuine and sustained improvements in schools.
AR gives educators new opportunities to reflect on and assess their teaching;
To explore and test new ideas, methods, and materials;
To assess how effective the new approaches were;
To share feedback with fellow team members;
To make decisions about which new approaches to include in the practice.

Types of Action Research
There are two main types of action research:
1.       Practical Action Research
Addresses a specific problem Primary purpose is to improve practice and inform larger issues
A “how to” approach
2.       Participatory Action Research
·         Philosophically driven, Empower individuals and groups to improve their lives and bring about a social change.
·         Stakeholders are involved and are active in all processes Levels of Participation Provide information
·         Become informed of purpose of the study
·         Receive findings
·         Assist in data collection
·         Review findings
·         Participate in interpretation
·         Participate in designing the project
·         Participate in problem specification
·         Initiate study
·         Advantages of Action Research
·         It can be performed by anyone, in any type of school or institution
·         It can help to improve educational practice
·         It can help education and other professionals to improve their craft
·         It can help them learn to identify problems systematically
·         It can build up a small community of research-oriented individuals at the local level


Characteristics of Action Research

         It is an emergent process which takes shape as understanding increases; 
        It is an iterative process which converges towards a better understanding of what happens;
        It is participative (Change is usually easier to achieve when those affected by the change are involved) and qualitative. 
     A practical focus
A problem that will have immediate benefits for
Single teacher
Schools
Communities
The educator-researcher research his own practices
Self reflective research by the educator-researchers turns the lens on their own educational classroom, school, or practices. 

 Collaboration

Collaboration in student, teacher, community, and researcher
Dynamic process
Dynamic process of spiraling back and forth among reflection, data 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
1.               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
      Arises from practical questions
      its validity is strengthened through peer examination and discussion

Why Action research

It is participatory; It is “from within” and not from an external “Expert’s eye”
It is Very real “presences” can emerge in the dynamically unfolding relations which can teach us new ways of conducting our practice.
It is the most logical way of doing research on societal and community issues.
Sometimes, it does not make sense to go to an outsider ,with often shaky or no knowledge of the given situation, thinking that with a few questions, he/she can get enlightening answers.
It is difficult to grasp the issues of a group or community by an outsider who has limited interaction with the group.

The Action Research Plan
  1. Write an area-of-focus statement
  2. Define the variables
  3. Develop research questions
  4. Describe the intervention or innovations
  5. Describe the membership of the action research group
  6. Describe negotiations that need to be undertaken
  7. Develop a timeline
  8. Develop a statement of resources
  9. Develop data collection ideas

References
Alton-Lee, A. (2011) Using evidence for educational improvement, Cambridge Journal of Education, 41(30), 303-329.
Bartlett, B.  & Burton, D. (2006): Practitioner research or descriptions of classroom practice? A discussion of teachers investigating their classrooms, Educational Action Research, 14(3),  395-405
Castleton, G., Moss, T. & Milbourne, S. (2011) Challenges in Leading for Literacy in Schools in T.Le, Q. Le & M. Short,  Language and Literacy Education in a Challenging World. New York: Nova Science Publishers.
Freebody, P. (2003) Qualitative Research in Education  London: Sage Publishers.
Graczewski, C., Knudson, J. & Holtzman, D. (2008) Instructional leadership in practice: What does it look like and what influence does it have? Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, 14(1), 72-96.
Gronn, P. (2000) Distributed Properties: A new architecture for leadership. Educational Management and Administration, 28(3), 371-395.
Murphy, J. (2004) Leadership for literacy: A framework for policy and practice. School Effectiveness & School Improvement, 15(1), 65 – 96.
Mills, G. (2000). Action Research: A guide for the teacher researcher. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Allyn & Bacon.
Roberts, K. & Owens, S. (2012) Innovative Education: a Review of the Literature, Adelaide: DECD.
Sharratt, L. & Fullan, M. (2006) Accomplishing district wide reform. Journal of School Leadership, 16,583-595
Souto-Manning, M. (2009) Teacher as Researcher: Teachers Search and ReSearch: Questioning Educational Practices, Childhood Education, 86 (1) 49-51.
Spears, B. & Skrzypic, G. (2012) Framing research questions, approaches, analysis. Powerpoint presentation

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