education, community-building and change
What is action research and how do we do it?
In this article, we explore the development of some different traditions of action research and provide an introductory guide to the literature.
Contents : what is action research · origins · the decline and rediscovery of action research · undertaking action research · conclusion · further reading · how to cite this article . see, also: research for practice ., what is action research.
In the literature, discussion of action research tends to fall into two distinctive camps. The British tradition – especially that linked to education – tends to view action research as research-oriented toward the enhancement of direct practice. For example, Carr and Kemmis provide a classic definition:
Action research is simply a form of self-reflective enquiry undertaken by participants in social situations in order to improve the rationality and justice of their own practices, their understanding of these practices, and the situations in which the practices are carried out (Carr and Kemmis 1986: 162).
Many people are drawn to this understanding of action research because it is firmly located in the realm of the practitioner – it is tied to self-reflection. As a way of working it is very close to the notion of reflective practice coined by Donald Schön (1983).
The second tradition, perhaps more widely approached within the social welfare field – and most certainly the broader understanding in the USA is of action research as ‘the systematic collection of information that is designed to bring about social change’ (Bogdan and Biklen 1992: 223). Bogdan and Biklen continue by saying that its practitioners marshal evidence or data to expose unjust practices or environmental dangers and recommend actions for change. In many respects, for them, it is linked into traditions of citizen’s action and community organizing. The practitioner is actively involved in the cause for which the research is conducted. For others, it is such commitment is a necessary part of being a practitioner or member of a community of practice. Thus, various projects designed to enhance practice within youth work, for example, such as the detached work reported on by Goetschius and Tash (1967) could be talked of as action research.
Kurt Lewin is generally credited as the person who coined the term ‘action research’:
The research needed for social practice can best be characterized as research for social management or social engineering. It is a type of action-research, a comparative research on the conditions and effects of various forms of social action, and research leading to social action. Research that produces nothing but books will not suffice (Lewin 1946, reproduced in Lewin 1948: 202-3)
His approach involves a spiral of steps, ‘each of which is composed of a circle of planning, action and fact-finding about the result of the action’ ( ibid. : 206). The basic cycle involves the following:
This is how Lewin describes the initial cycle:
The first step then is to examine the idea carefully in the light of the means available. Frequently more fact-finding about the situation is required. If this first period of planning is successful, two items emerge: namely, “an overall plan” of how to reach the objective and secondly, a decision in regard to the first step of action. Usually this planning has also somewhat modified the original idea. ( ibid. : 205)
The next step is ‘composed of a circle of planning, executing, and reconnaissance or fact-finding for the purpose of evaluating the results of the second step, and preparing the rational basis for planning the third step, and for perhaps modifying again the overall plan’ ( ibid. : 206). What we can see here is an approach to research that is oriented to problem-solving in social and organizational settings, and that has a form that parallels Dewey’s conception of learning from experience.
The approach, as presented, does take a fairly sequential form – and it is open to a literal interpretation. Following it can lead to practice that is ‘correct’ rather than ‘good’ – as we will see. It can also be argued that the model itself places insufficient emphasis on analysis at key points. Elliott (1991: 70), for example, believed that the basic model allows those who use it to assume that the ‘general idea’ can be fixed in advance, ‘that “reconnaissance” is merely fact-finding, and that “implementation” is a fairly straightforward process’. As might be expected there was some questioning as to whether this was ‘real’ research. There were questions around action research’s partisan nature – the fact that it served particular causes.
The decline and rediscovery of action research
Action research did suffer a decline in favour during the 1960s because of its association with radical political activism (Stringer 2007: 9). There were, and are, questions concerning its rigour, and the training of those undertaking it. However, as Bogdan and Biklen (1992: 223) point out, research is a frame of mind – ‘a perspective that people take toward objects and activities’. Once we have satisfied ourselves that the collection of information is systematic and that any interpretations made have a proper regard for satisfying truth claims, then much of the critique aimed at action research disappears. In some of Lewin’s earlier work on action research (e.g. Lewin and Grabbe 1945), there was a tension between providing a rational basis for change through research, and the recognition that individuals are constrained in their ability to change by their cultural and social perceptions, and the systems of which they are a part. Having ‘correct knowledge’ does not of itself lead to change, attention also needs to be paid to the ‘matrix of cultural and psychic forces’ through which the subject is constituted (Winter 1987: 48).
Subsequently, action research has gained a significant foothold both within the realm of community-based, and participatory action research; and as a form of practice-oriented to the improvement of educative encounters (e.g. Carr and Kemmis 1986).
Exhibit 1: Stringer on community-based action research
A fundamental premise of community-based action research is that it commences with an interest in the problems of a group, a community, or an organization. Its purpose is to assist people in extending their understanding of their situation and thus resolving problems that confront them….
Community-based action research is always enacted through an explicit set of social values. In modern, democratic social contexts, it is seen as a process of inquiry that has the following characteristics:
• It is democratic , enabling the participation of all people.
• It is equitable , acknowledging people’s equality of worth.
• It is liberating , providing freedom from oppressive, debilitating conditions.
• It is life enhancing , enabling the expression of people’s full human potential.
(Stringer 1999: 9-10)
Undertaking action research
As Thomas (2017: 154) put it, the central aim is change, ‘and the emphasis is on problem-solving in whatever way is appropriate’. It can be seen as a conversation rather more than a technique (McNiff et. al. ). It is about people ‘thinking for themselves and making their own choices, asking themselves what they should do and accepting the consequences of their own actions’ (Thomas 2009: 113).
The action research process works through three basic phases:
Look -building a picture and gathering information. When evaluating we define and describe the problem to be investigated and the context in which it is set. We also describe what all the participants (educators, group members, managers etc.) have been doing.
Think – interpreting and explaining. When evaluating we analyse and interpret the situation. We reflect on what participants have been doing. We look at areas of success and any deficiencies, issues or problems.
Act – resolving issues and problems. In evaluation we judge the worth, effectiveness, appropriateness, and outcomes of those activities. We act to formulate solutions to any problems. (Stringer 1999: 18; 43-44;160)
The use of action research to deepen and develop classroom practice has grown into a strong tradition of practice (one of the first examples being the work of Stephen Corey in 1949). For some, there is an insistence that action research must be collaborative and entail groupwork.
Action research is a form of collective self-reflective enquiry undertaken by participants in social situations in order to improve the rationality and justice of their own social or educational practices, as well as their understanding of those practices and the situations in which the practices are carried out… The approach is only action research when it is collaborative, though it is important to realise that action research of the group is achieved through the critically examined action of individual group members. (Kemmis and McTaggart 1988: 5-6)
Just why it must be collective is open to some question and debate (Webb 1996), but there is an important point here concerning the commitments and orientations of those involved in action research.
One of the legacies Kurt Lewin left us is the ‘action research spiral’ – and with it there is the danger that action research becomes little more than a procedure. It is a mistake, according to McTaggart (1996: 248) to think that following the action research spiral constitutes ‘doing action research’. He continues, ‘Action research is not a ‘method’ or a ‘procedure’ for research but a series of commitments to observe and problematize through practice a series of principles for conducting social enquiry’. It is his argument that Lewin has been misunderstood or, rather, misused. When set in historical context, while Lewin does talk about action research as a method, he is stressing a contrast between this form of interpretative practice and more traditional empirical-analytic research. The notion of a spiral may be a useful teaching device – but it is all too easy to slip into using it as the template for practice (McTaggart 1996: 249).
This select, annotated bibliography has been designed to give a flavour of the possibilities of action research and includes some useful guides to practice. As ever, if you have suggestions about areas or specific texts for inclusion, I’d like to hear from you.
Explorations of action research
Atweh, B., Kemmis, S. and Weeks, P. (eds.) (1998) Action Research in Practice: Partnership for Social Justice in Education, London: Routledge. Presents a collection of stories from action research projects in schools and a university. The book begins with theme chapters discussing action research, social justice and partnerships in research. The case study chapters cover topics such as: school environment – how to make a school a healthier place to be; parents – how to involve them more in decision-making; students as action researchers; gender – how to promote gender equity in schools; writing up action research projects.
Carr, W. and Kemmis, S. (1986) Becoming Critical. Education, knowledge and action research , Lewes: Falmer. Influential book that provides a good account of ‘action research’ in education. Chapters on teachers, researchers and curriculum; the natural scientific view of educational theory and practice; the interpretative view of educational theory and practice; theory and practice – redefining the problem; a critical approach to theory and practice; towards a critical educational science; action research as critical education science; educational research, educational reform and the role of the profession.
Carson, T. R. and Sumara, D. J. (ed.) (1997) Action Research as a Living Practice , New York: Peter Lang. 140 pages. Book draws on a wide range of sources to develop an understanding of action research. Explores action research as a lived practice, ‘that asks the researcher to not only investigate the subject at hand but, as well, to provide some account of the way in which the investigation both shapes and is shaped by the investigator.
Dadds, M. (1995) Passionate Enquiry and School Development. A story about action research , London: Falmer. 192 + ix pages. Examines three action research studies undertaken by a teacher and how they related to work in school – how she did the research, the problems she experienced, her feelings, the impact on her feelings and ideas, and some of the outcomes. In his introduction, John Elliot comments that the book is ‘the most readable, thoughtful, and detailed study of the potential of action-research in professional education that I have read’.
Ghaye, T. and Wakefield, P. (eds.) CARN Critical Conversations. Book one: the role of the self in action , Bournemouth: Hyde Publications. 146 + xiii pages. Collection of five pieces from the Classroom Action Research Network. Chapters on: dialectical forms; graduate medical education – research’s outer limits; democratic education; managing action research; writing up.
McNiff, J. (1993) Teaching as Learning: An Action Research Approach , London: Routledge. Argues that educational knowledge is created by individual teachers as they attempt to express their own values in their professional lives. Sets out familiar action research model: identifying a problem, devising, implementing and evaluating a solution and modifying practice. Includes advice on how working in this way can aid the professional development of action researcher and practitioner.
Quigley, B. A. and Kuhne, G. W. (eds.) (1997) Creating Practical Knowledge Through Action Research, San Fransisco: Jossey Bass. Guide to action research that outlines the action research process, provides a project planner, and presents examples to show how action research can yield improvements in six different settings, including a hospital, a university and a literacy education program.
Plummer, G. and Edwards, G. (eds.) CARN Critical Conversations. Book two: dimensions of action research – people, practice and power , Bournemouth: Hyde Publications. 142 + xvii pages. Collection of five pieces from the Classroom Action Research Network. Chapters on: exchanging letters and collaborative research; diary writing; personal and professional learning – on teaching and self-knowledge; anti-racist approaches; psychodynamic group theory in action research.
Whyte, W. F. (ed.) (1991) Participatory Action Research , Newbury Park: Sage. 247 pages. Chapters explore the development of participatory action research and its relation with action science and examine its usages in various agricultural and industrial settings
Zuber-Skerritt, O. (ed.) (1996) New Directions in Action Research , London; Falmer Press. 266 + xii pages. A useful collection that explores principles and procedures for critical action research; problems and suggested solutions; and postmodernism and critical action research.
Action research guides
Coghlan, D. and Brannick, D. (2000) Doing Action Research in your own Organization, London: Sage. 128 pages. Popular introduction. Part one covers the basics of action research including the action research cycle, the role of the ‘insider’ action researcher and the complexities of undertaking action research within your own organisation. Part two looks at the implementation of the action research project (including managing internal politics and the ethics and politics of action research). New edition due late 2004.
Elliot, J. (1991) Action Research for Educational Change , Buckingham: Open University Press. 163 + x pages Collection of various articles written by Elliot in which he develops his own particular interpretation of action research as a form of teacher professional development. In some ways close to a form of ‘reflective practice’. Chapter 6, ‘A practical guide to action research’ – builds a staged model on Lewin’s work and on developments by writers such as Kemmis.
Johnson, A. P. (2007) A short guide to action research 3e. Allyn and Bacon. Popular step by step guide for master’s work.
Macintyre, C. (2002) The Art of the Action Research in the Classroom , London: David Fulton. 138 pages. Includes sections on action research, the role of literature, formulating a research question, gathering data, analysing data and writing a dissertation. Useful and readable guide for students.
McNiff, J., Whitehead, J., Lomax, P. (2003) You and Your Action Research Project , London: Routledge. Practical guidance on doing an action research project.Takes the practitioner-researcher through the various stages of a project. Each section of the book is supported by case studies
Stringer, E. T. (2007) Action Research: A handbook for practitioners 3e , Newbury Park, ca.: Sage. 304 pages. Sets community-based action research in context and develops a model. Chapters on information gathering, interpretation, resolving issues; legitimacy etc. See, also Stringer’s (2003) Action Research in Education , Prentice-Hall.
Winter, R. (1989) Learning From Experience. Principles and practice in action research , Lewes: Falmer Press. 200 + 10 pages. Introduces the idea of action research; the basic process; theoretical issues; and provides six principles for the conduct of action research. Includes examples of action research. Further chapters on from principles to practice; the learner’s experience; and research topics and personal interests.
Action research in informal education
Usher, R., Bryant, I. and Johnston, R. (1997) Adult Education and the Postmodern Challenge. Learning beyond the limits , London: Routledge. 248 + xvi pages. Has some interesting chapters that relate to action research: on reflective practice; changing paradigms and traditions of research; new approaches to research; writing and learning about research.
Bogdan, R. and Biklen, S. K. (1992) Qualitative Research For Education , Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
Goetschius, G. and Tash, J. (1967) Working with the Unattached , London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
McTaggart, R. (1996) ‘Issues for participatory action researchers’ in O. Zuber-Skerritt (ed.) New Directions in Action Research , London: Falmer Press.
McNiff, J., Lomax, P. and Whitehead, J. (2003) You and Your Action Research Project 2e. London: Routledge.
Thomas, G. (2017). How to do your Research Project. A guide for students in education and applied social sciences . 3e. London: Sage.
Acknowledgements : spiral by Michèle C. | flickr ccbyncnd2 licence
How to cite this article : Smith, M. K. (1996; 2001, 2007, 2017) What is action research and how do we do it?’, The encyclopedia of pedagogy and informal education. [ https://infed.org/mobi/action-research/ . Retrieved: insert date] .
© Mark K. Smith 1996; 2001, 2007, 2017
Last Updated on December 7, 2020 by infed.org
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Action Research: What it is, Stages & Examples
The best way to get things accomplished is to do it yourself. This statement is utilized in corporations, community projects, and national governments. These organizations are relying on action research to cope with their continuously changing and unstable environments as they function in a more interdependent world.
This post outlines the definition of action research, the stages it goes through, and some examples.
What is action research?
Action research is a strategy that tries to find realistic solutions to organizations’ difficulties and issues. It is similar to applied research.
Action research is basically learning by doing. First, a problem is identified, then some actions are taken to address it, then how well the efforts worked are measured, and if the results are not satisfactory, the steps are applied again.
It can be put into three different groups:
- Positivist: This type of research is also called “classical action research.” It considers research a social experiment. This research is used to test theories in the actual world.
- Interpretive: This kind of research is called “contemporary action research.” It thinks that business reality is socially made, and when doing this research, it focuses on the details of local and organizational factors.
- Critical: This is a sort of action research that takes a critical approach to corporate systems and tries to enhance them.
Stages of action research
All research is about learning new things. Action research develops knowledge based on investigations in particular and frequently useful circumstances. It starts with identifying a problem. After that, the research process is followed by the below stages:
Stage 1: Plan
For an action research project to go well, the researcher needs to plan it well. After coming up with a research topic or question after a research study, the first step is to develop an action plan to guide the research process. The research plan aims to address the study’s question. The research strategy outlines what to undertake, when, and how.
Stage 2: Act
The next step is implementing the plan and gathering data. At this point, the researcher must select how to collect and organize research data . The researcher also needs to examine all tools and equipment before collecting data to ensure they are relevant, valid, and comprehensive.
Stage 3: Observe
Data observation is vital to any investigation. The action researcher needs to review the project’s goals and expectations before data observation. This is the final step before drawing conclusions and taking action.
Different kinds of graphs, charts, and networks can be used to represent the data. It assists in making judgments or progressing to the next stage of observing.
Stage 4: Reflect
This step involves applying a prospective solution and observing the results. It’s essential to see if the possible solution found through research can really solve the problem being studied.
The researcher must explore alternative ideas when the action research project’s solutions fail to solve the problem.
Examples of action research
Here are two real-life examples of action research.
Action research initiatives are frequently situation-specific. Still, other researchers can adapt the techniques. The example is from a researcher’s (Franklin, 1994) report about a project encouraging nature tourism in the Caribbean.
In 1991, action research was launched to study how nature tourism may be implemented on the four Windward Islands in the Caribbean: St. Lucia, Grenada, Dominica, and St. Vincent.
For environmental protection, a government-led action study determined that the consultation process needs to involve numerous stakeholders, including commercial enterprises.
First, two researchers undertook the study and held search conferences on each island. The search conferences resulted in suggestions and action plans for local community nature tourism sub-projects.
Several islands formed advisory groups and launched national awareness and community projects. Regional project meetings were held to discuss experiences, self-evaluations, and strategies. Creating a documentary about a local initiative helped build community. And the study was a success, leading to a number of changes in the area.
Lau and Hayward (1997) employed action research to analyze Internet-based collaborative work groups.
Over two years, the researchers facilitated three action research problem-solving cycles with 15 teachers, project personnel, and 25 health practitioners from diverse areas. The goal was to see how Internet-based communications might affect their virtual workgroup.
First, expectations were defined, technology was provided, and a bespoke workgroup system was developed. Participants suggested shorter, more dispersed training sessions with project-specific instructions.
The second phase saw the system’s complete deployment. The final cycle witnessed system stability and virtual group formation. The key lesson was that the learning curve was poorly misjudged, with frustrations only marginally met by phone-based technical help. According to the researchers, the absence of high-quality online material about community healthcare was harmful.
Role clarity, connection building, knowledge sharing, resource assistance, and experiential learning are vital for virtual group growth. More study is required on how group support systems might assist groups in engaging with their external environment and boost group members’ learning.
This post discusses action research, its steps, and real-life examples. It is very applicable to the field of research and has a high level of relevance. We can only state that the purpose of this research is to comprehend an issue and find a solution to it.
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Action research can be defined as “an approach in which the action researcher and a client collaborate in the diagnosis of the problem and in the development of a solution based on the diagnosis”  . In other words, one of the main characteristic traits of action research relates to collaboration between researcher and member of organisation in order to solve organizational problems.
Action study assumes social world to be constantly changing, both, researcher and research being one part of that change.  Generally, action researches can be divided into three categories: positivist, interpretive and critical.
Positivist approach to action research , also known as ‘classical action research’ perceives research as a social experiment. Accordingly, action research is accepted as a method to test hypotheses in a real world environment.
Interpretive action research , also known as ‘contemporary action research’ perceives business reality as socially constructed and focuses on specifications of local and organisational factors when conducting the action research.
Critical action research is a specific type of action research that adopts critical approach towards business processes and aims for improvements.
The following features of action research need to be taken into account when considering its suitability for any given study:
- It is applied in order to improve specific practices. Action research is based on action, evaluation and critical analysis of practices based on collected data in order to introduce improvements in relevant practices.
- This type of research is facilitated by participation and collaboration of number of individuals with a common purpose
- Such a research focuses on specific situations and their context
Advantages of Action Research
- High level of practical relevance of the business research;
- Can be used with quantitative, as well as, qualitative data;
- Possibility to gain in-depth knowledge about the problem.
Disadvantages of Action Research
- Difficulties in distinguishing between action and research and ensure the application of both;
- Delays in completion of action research due to a wide range of reasons are not rare occurrences
- Lack of repeatability and rigour
It is important to make a clear distinction between action research and consulting. Specifically, action research is greater than consulting in a way that action research includes both action and research, whereas business activities of consulting are limited action without the research.
Action Research Spiral
Action study is a participatory study consisting of spiral of following self-reflective cycles:
- Planning in order to initiate change
- Implementing the change (acting) and observing the process of implementation and consequences
- Reflecting on processes of change and re-planning
- Acting and observing
Kemmis and McTaggart (2000) do acknowledge that individual stages specified in Action Research Spiral model may overlap, and initial plan developed for the research may become obselete in short duration of time due to a range of factors.
The main advantage of Action Research Spiral model relates to the opportunity of analysing the phenomenon in a greater depth each time, consequently resulting in grater level of understanding of the problem.
Disadvantages of Action Research Spiral model include its assumption each process takes long time to be completed which may not always be the case.
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15 Action Research Examples (In Education)
Action research refers to a wide range of evaluative or investigative methods designed to analyze professional practices and take action for improvement.
Commonly used in education, those practices could be related to instructional methods, classroom practices, or school organizational matters.
The creation of action research is attributed to Kurt Lewin , a German-American psychologist also considered to be the father of social psychology.
Gillis and Jackson (2002) offer a very concise definition of action research: “systematic collection and analysis of data for the purpose of taking action and making change” (p.264).
The methods of action research in education include:
- conducting in-class observations
- taking field notes
- surveying or interviewing teachers, administrators, or parents
- using audio and video recordings.
The goal is to identify problematic issues, test possible solutions, or simply carry-out continuous improvement.
There are several steps in action research : identify a problem, design a plan to resolve, implement the plan, evaluate effectiveness, reflect on results, make necessary adjustment and repeat the process.
Action Research Examples
- Working with parents through research: A school’s admin staff conduct focus group sessions with parents to identify top concerns.Those concerns will then be addressed and another session conducted at the end of the school year.
- Peer teaching observations and improvements: Kindergarten teachers observe other teachers handling class transition techniques to share best practices.
- PTA surveys and resultant action: The PTA of a district conducts a survey of members regarding their satisfaction with remote learning classes.The results will be presented to the school board for further action.
- Recording and reflecting: A school administrator takes video recordings of playground behavior and then plays them for the teachers. The teachers work together to formulate a list of 10 playground safety guidelines.
- Pre/post testing of interventions: A school board conducts a district wide evaluation of a STEM program by conducting a pre/post-test of students’ skills in computer programming.
- Focus groups of practitioners: The professional development needs of teachers are determined from structured focus group sessions with teachers and admin.
- School lunch research and intervention: A nutrition expert is hired to evaluate and improve the quality of school lunches.
- School nurse systematic checklist and improvements: The school nurse implements a bathroom cleaning checklist to monitor cleanliness after the results of a recent teacher survey revealed several issues.
- Wearable technologies for pedagogical improvements; Students wear accelerometers attached to their hips to gain a baseline measure of physical activity.The results will identify if any issues exist.
- School counselor reflective practice : The school counselor conducts a student survey on antisocial behavior and then plans a series of workshops for both teachers and parents.
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1. cooperation and leadership.
A science teacher has noticed that her 9 th grade students do not cooperate with each other when doing group projects. There is a lot of arguing and battles over whose ideas will be followed.
So, she decides to implement a simple action research project on the matter. First, she conducts a structured observation of the students’ behavior during meetings. She also has the students respond to a short questionnaire regarding their notions of leadership.
She then designs a two-week course on group dynamics and leadership styles. The course involves learning about leadership concepts and practices. In another element of the short course, students randomly select a leadership style and then engage in a role-play with other students.
At the end of the two weeks, she has the students work on a group project and conducts the same structured observation as before. She also gives the students a slightly different questionnaire on leadership as it relates to the group.
She plans to analyze the results and present the findings at a teachers’ meeting at the end of the term.
2. Professional Development Needs
Two high-school teachers have been selected to participate in a 1-year project in a third-world country. The project goal is to improve the classroom effectiveness of local teachers.
The two teachers arrive in the country and begin to plan their action research. First, they decide to conduct a survey of teachers in the nearby communities of the school they are assigned to.
The survey will assess their professional development needs by directly asking the teachers and administrators. After collecting the surveys, they analyze the results by grouping the teachers based on subject matter.
They discover that history and social science teachers would like professional development on integrating smartboards into classroom instruction. Math teachers would like to attend workshops on project-based learning, while chemistry teachers feel that they need equipment more than training.
The two teachers then get started on finding the necessary training experts for the workshops and applying for equipment grants for the science teachers.
3. Playground Accidents
The school nurse has noticed a lot of students coming in after having mild accidents on the playground. She’s not sure if this is just her perception or if there really is an unusual increase this year. So, she starts pulling data from the records over the last two years. She chooses the months carefully and only selects data from the first three months of each school year.
She creates a chart to make the data more easily understood. Sure enough, there seems to have been a dramatic increase in accidents this year compared to the same period of time from the previous two years.
She shows the data to the principal and teachers at the next meeting. They all agree that a field observation of the playground is needed.
Those observations reveal that the kids are not having accidents on the playground equipment as originally suspected. It turns out that the kids are tripping on the new sod that was installed over the summer.
They examine the sod and observe small gaps between the slabs. Each gap is approximately 1.5 inches wide and nearly two inches deep. The kids are tripping on this gap as they run.
They then discuss possible solutions.
4. Differentiated Learning
Trying to use the same content, methods, and processes for all students is a recipe for failure. This is why modifying each lesson to be flexible is highly recommended. Differentiated learning allows the teacher to adjust their teaching strategy based on all the different personalities and learning styles they see in their classroom.
Of course, differentiated learning should undergo the same rigorous assessment that all teaching techniques go through. So, a third-grade social science teacher asks his students to take a simple quiz on the industrial revolution. Then, he applies differentiated learning to the lesson.
By creating several different learning stations in his classroom, he gives his students a chance to learn about the industrial revolution in a way that captures their interests. The different stations contain: short videos, fact cards, PowerPoints, mini-chapters, and role-plays.
At the end of the lesson, students get to choose how they demonstrate their knowledge. They can take a test, construct a PPT, give an oral presentation, or conduct a simulated TV interview with different characters.
During this last phase of the lesson, the teacher is able to assess if they demonstrate the necessary knowledge and have achieved the defined learning outcomes. This analysis will allow him to make further adjustments to future lessons.
5. Healthy Habits Program
While looking at obesity rates of students, the school board of a large city is shocked by the dramatic increase in the weight of their students over the last five years. After consulting with three companies that specialize in student physical health, they offer the companies an opportunity to prove their value.
So, the board randomly assigns each company to a group of schools. Starting in the next academic year, each company will implement their healthy habits program in 5 middle schools.
Preliminary data is collected at each school at the beginning of the school year. Each and every student is weighed, their resting heart rate, blood pressure and cholesterol are also measured.
After analyzing the data, it is found that the schools assigned to each of the three companies are relatively similar on all of these measures.
At the end of the year, data for students at each school will be collected again. A simple comparison of pre- and post-program measurements will be conducted. The company with the best outcomes will be selected to implement their program city-wide.
Action research is a great way to collect data on a specific issue, implement a change, and then evaluate the effects of that change. It is perhaps the most practical of all types of primary research .
Most likely, the results will be mixed. Some aspects of the change were effective, while other elements were not. That’s okay. This just means that additional modifications to the change plan need to be made, which is usually quite easy to do.
There are many methods that can be utilized, such as surveys, field observations, and program evaluations.
The beauty of action research is based in its utility and flexibility. Just about anyone in a school setting is capable of conducting action research and the information can be incredibly useful.
Aronson, E., & Patnoe, S. (1997). The jigsaw classroom: Building cooperation in the classroom (2nd ed.). New York: Addison Wesley Longman.
Gillis, A., & Jackson, W. (2002). Research Methods for Nurses: Methods and Interpretation . Philadelphia: F.A. Davis Company.
Lewin, K. (1946). Action research and minority problems. Journal of SocialIssues, 2 (4), 34-46.
Macdonald, C. (2012). Understanding participatory action research: A qualitative research methodology option. Canadian Journal of Action Research, 13 , 34-50. https://doi.org/10.33524/cjar.v13i2.37 Mertler, C. A. (2008). Action Research: Teachers as Researchers in the Classroom . London: Sage.
Dave Cornell (PhD)
Dr. Cornell has worked in education for more than 20 years. His work has involved designing teacher certification for Trinity College in London and in-service training for state governments in the United States. He has trained kindergarten teachers in 8 countries and helped businessmen and women open baby centers and kindergartens in 3 countries.
- Dave Cornell (PhD) #molongui-disabled-link 15 Negative Reciprocity Examples
- Dave Cornell (PhD) #molongui-disabled-link 15 Priming Examples (in Psychology)
- Dave Cornell (PhD) #molongui-disabled-link 18 Cognitive Development Examples
- Dave Cornell (PhD) #molongui-disabled-link 15 Achievement Tests Examples
Chris Drew (PhD)
This article was peer-reviewed and edited by Chris Drew (PhD). The review process on Helpful Professor involves having a PhD level expert fact check, edit, and contribute to articles. Reviewers ensure all content reflects expert academic consensus and is backed up with reference to academic studies. Dr. Drew has published over 20 academic articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education and holds a PhD in Education from ACU.
- Chris Drew (PhD) #molongui-disabled-link 15 Negative Reciprocity Examples
- Chris Drew (PhD) #molongui-disabled-link 15 Priming Examples (in Psychology)
- Chris Drew (PhD) #molongui-disabled-link Stereotype Content Model: Examples and Definition
- Chris Drew (PhD) #molongui-disabled-link 10 Procedural Knowledge Examples
2 thoughts on “15 Action Research Examples (In Education)”
Where can I capture this article in a better user-friendly format, since I would like to provide it to my students in a Qualitative Methods course at the University of Prince Edward Island? It is a good article, however, it is visually disjointed in its current format. Thanks, Dr. Frank T. Lavandier
Hi Dr. Lavandier,
I’ve emailed you a word doc copy that you can use and edit with your class.
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Neag School of Education
Educational Research Basics by Del Siegle
An Introduction to Action Research Jeanne H. Purcell, Ph.D.
- Review Related Literature
- Examine the Impact of an Experimental Treatment
- Monitor Change
- Identify Present Practices
- Describe Beliefs and Attitudes
Action Research Is…
- Action research is a three-step spiral process of (1) planning which involves fact-finding, (2) taking action, and (3) fact-finding about the results of the action. (Lewin, 1947)
- Action research is a process by which practitioners attempt to study their problems scientifically in order to guide, correct, and evaluate their decisions and action. (Corey, 1953).
- Action research in education is study conducted by colleagues in a school setting of the results of their activities to improve instruction. (Glickman, 1990)
- Action research is a fancy way of saying Let’s study what s happening at our school and decide how to make it a better place. (Calhoun,1994)
Conditions That Support Action Research
- A faculty where a majority of teachers wish to improve some aspect (s) of education in their school.
- Common agreement about how collective decisions will be made and implemented.
- A team that is willing to lead the initiative.
- Study groups that meet regularly.
- A basic knowledge of the action research cycle and the rationale for its use.
- Someone to provide technical assistance and/or support.
The Action Research Cycle
- Identify an area of interest/problem.
- Identify data to be collected, the format for the results, and a timeline.
- Collect and organize the data.
- Analyze and interpret the data.
- Decide upon the action to be taken.
- Evaluate the success of the action.
Collecting Data: Sources
- Attendance at PTO meetings
- + and – parent communications
- Office referrals
- Special program enrollment
- Standardized scores
- Interviews with parents
- Library use, by grade, class
- Minutes of meetings
- Nature and amount of in-school assistance related to the innovation
- Number of books read
- Observation journals
- Record of peer observations
- Student journals
- Teacher journals
- Videotapes of students: whole class instruction
- Videotapes of students: Differentiated instruction
- Writing samples
Collecting Data: From Whom?
- From everyone when we are concerned about each student’s performance.
- From a sample when we need to increase our understanding while limiting our expenditure of time and energy; more in-depth interviews or observations may follow.
Collecting Data: How Often?
- At regular intervals
- At critical points
Collecting Data: Guidelines
- Use both existing and inventive data sources.
- Use multiple data sources.
- Collect data regularly.
- Seek help, if necessary.
- Keep it simple.
- Disaggregate numbers from interviews and other qualitative types of data.
- Plan plenty of time to look over and organize the data.
- Seek technical assistance if needed.
- What important points do they data reveal?
- What patterns/trends do you note? What might be some possible explanations?
- Do the data vary by sources? Why might the variations exist?
- Are there any results that are different from what you expected? What might be some hypotheses to explain the difference (s)?
- What actions appear to be indicated?
- Do the data warrant action?
- What might se some short-term actions?
- What might be some long-term actions?
- How will we know if our actions have been effective?
- What benchmarks might we expect to see along the way to effectiveness ?
- Target date
- Evidence of Effectiveness
Action Research Handout
Brubacher, J. W., Case, C. W., & Reagan, T. G. (1994). Becoming a reflective educator . Thousand Oaks: CA: Corwin Press.
Burnaford, G., Fischer, J., & Hobson, D. (1996). Teachers doing research . Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Calhoun, Emily (1994). How to use action research in the self-renewing school . Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
Corey, S. M. (1953). Action research to improve school practices . New York: Teachers College Press.
Glickman, C. D. (1990). Supervision of instruction: A developmental approach . Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
Hubbard, R. S. & Power, B. M. (1993). The art of classroom inquiry . Portsmouth, NH: Heineman.
Lewin, K. (1947). Group decisions and social change. In Readings in social psychology . (Eds. T M. Newcomb and E. L. Hartley). New York: Henry Holt.
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How Action Research Can Improve Your Teaching
Home / How Action Research Can Improve Your Teaching
Do you ever find yourself looking at a classroom problem with not a clue in the world about how to fix it? No doubt, teaching art is difficult. Sometimes the issues we face don’t have easy solutions.
One method that is worth looking into is action research. In action research, a teacher takes the time to analyze a problem and then cycles through specific steps to solve it. If you’re struggling with a problem in your classroom, this might be the perfect strategy to try!
What is action research?
Simply put, action research describes a research methodology used to diagnose and address problems. In a school setting, the teacher plays the role of the researcher, and the students represent the study participants. Action research is a meaningful way for a teacher to find out why students perform the way they do.
The term, “action research,” was coined in 1933 by Kurt Lewin to describe a scenario in which a researcher and participants collaborate to solve a specific problem. Donald Schön developed this idea further with the term, “reflective practitioner,” to describe a researcher who thinks systematically about their practice.
Educators have taken both of these ideas into the classroom to better serve their students.
Here is a look at the basic structure of an action research cycle. You might notice it looks a lot like the Design Thinking Process.
- The teacher recognizes and wonders about a problem in the classroom.
- The teacher thinks about possible reasons students are having trouble.
- The teacher collects and analyzes data.
- The teacher comes up with solutions to try.
- The teacher analyzes the solution.
In this model, if the first solution is not effective, the cycle starts over again. The teacher recognizes what remains of the problem and repeats the steps to collect more evidence and brainstorm new and different solutions.
Download What Is Action Research?
Because the process is cyclical, the teacher can loop through the steps as many times as needed to find a solution. Perhaps the best part of action research is that teachers can see which solutions have made a real impact on their students. If you’re looking for an even more in-depth take on the topic, The Art of Classroom Inquiry: A Handbook for Teacher-Researchers by Hubbard and Powers is a great place to start.
Action research can be as informal or formal as you need it to be. Data is collected through observation, questioning, and discussion with students. Student artwork, photographs of your classroom at work, video interviews, and surveys are all valid forms of data. Students can be involved throughout the whole process, helping to solve the problem within the classroom. With a formal study for a university, there will be requests for permission to use student data through the Institutional Research Board (IRB) process.
How can action research be implemented in your classroom?
I discovered action research while working on my higher degree. Using action research allowed me to find real solutions for real issues in my classroom and gave me my topic of study for my dissertation at the same time!
The problem I chose to address was how to engage students in an analog photography course in the digital age.
I broke my classes into two groups. I taught the district curriculum to one group and an altered curriculum to another. In the altered version, I included big ideas and themes that were important to students such as family, identity, and community.
To gather data, I observed, compared the quality of the photos, and conducted student interviews. I found students were much more engaged when I switched the projects from a technical study (i.e., demonstrating depth of field) to a more personal focus (breaking the teenage stereotype.)
What are the benefits of action research?
Using action research in my classroom allowed me to involve students in the curriculum process. They were actively more engaged within the classroom and felt ownership of their learning.
I was able to show them that teachers can be lifelong learners, and that inquiry is a powerful way to enact change within the classroom. The students cheered me on as I was writing and defended the results of my study. Plus, I was able to connect with them on a personal level, as we were all students. Furthermore, my teaching practice became more confident, and my understanding of art education theory deepened.
Conducting action research also allowed me to become a leader in my community. I was able to present a way to be a reflective practitioner within my classroom and model it for other teachers. I shared my new knowledge with the other art teachers in my district and invited them to try their own informal studies within their classrooms. We were able to shift our focus from one of compliance to one of inquiry and discovery, thus creating a more engaging learning environment for our students.
Action research provides a way to use your new knowledge immediately in your classroom. It allows you to think critically about why and how you run your art classroom. What could be better?
What kinds of issues are you facing in the classroom right now?
What kind of research study might you be interested in conducting?
Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.
Alexandra Overby, a high school art educator, is one of AOEU’s Adjunct Instructors. She immerses herself in topics of photography practice, visual ethnography, technology in the art room, and secondary curriculum.
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Action Research for Business, Nonprofit, and Public Administration A Tool for Complex Times
- E. Alana James - Walden University, USA
- Tracesea Slater
- Alan Bucknam - Notchcode Creative
See what’s new to this edition by selecting the Features tab on this page. Should you need additional information or have questions regarding the HEOA information provided for this title, including what is new to this edition, please email [email protected] . Please include your name, contact information, and the name of the title for which you would like more information. For information on the HEOA, please go to http://ed.gov/policy/highered/leg/hea08/index.html .
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This book bridges the gap between theory and applied action research offering concrete tools that should be invaluable for anyone who wants to practice action research.
Adopted Intro to Nonprofit Mangement
for business, not sociology
approachable for undergraduate students; excellent process support materials
- Stories and pictures illustrate the concepts which underpin action research.
- Eight chapters address each step in the process from framing the proposal to analyzing the results and writing up the report with lessons illustrated by success stories of other students and the projects they completed during a class length of time.
- Discussion of theoretical material is woven within the major content areas illustrating the concepts that impact practice.
- Reflective questions at the end of each section help students develop an ongoing reflective/reflexive practice.
- Suggestions for next steps and additional readings at the end of each chapter encourage students to dig deeper into the rich literature that surrounds this methodology.
- Features pictures, stories, pull-outs, and illustrations make the material approachable, capture interest, and foster understanding
Sample Materials & Chapters
Chapter 1: Introducing the Three Steps of Action Research
Chapter 3: What to Do and How to Do It...
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Conducting Action Research for Business and Management Students
- By: David Coghlan & Abraham B. (Rami) Shani
- Publisher: SAGE Publications Ltd
- Series: Mastering Business Research Methods
- Publication year: 2018
- Online pub date: December 20, 2019
- Discipline: Business and Management
- Methods: Action research , Insider action research , Dissertation
- DOI: https:// doi. org/10.4135/9781529716566
- Keywords: business management , cycles , knowledge , organizations , outcomes , students , teams Show all Show less
- Print ISBN: 9781526404787
- Online ISBN: 9781529716566
- Buy the book icon link
In Conducting Action Research, Coghlan and Shani explain how action research differs from more detached research methods and provides expert guidance on how to engage effectively with it, helping the reader to complete both a successful research project and produce findings that are useful in an organizational context. Ideal for Business and Management students reading for a Master’s degree, each book in the series may also serve as reference books for doctoral students and faculty members interested in the method. Part of SAGE’s Mastering Business Research Methods, conceived and edited by Bill Lee, Mark N. K. Saunders and Vadake K. Narayanan and designed to support researchers by providing in-depth and practical guidance on using a chosen method of data collection or analysis. Watch the editors introduce the Mastering Business Research Methods series
- Editors’ Introduction to the Mastering Business Research Methods Series
- About the Series Editors
- About the Authors
- List of Figures and Tables
- Chapter 1 | Introducing Action Research
- Chapter 2 | Understanding Action Research
- Chapter 3 | Components of Action Research
- Chapter 4 | Enacting Action Research
- Chapter 5 | Examples of Action Research
- Chapter 6 | Conclusions
- Glossary of Terms
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School of Education
Action Research is a method of systematic enquiry that teachers undertake as researchers of their own practice. The enquiry involved in Action Research is a process involving the following key steps ( McNiff, 2013. p. 90) .
We review our current practice;
- Identify an issue we wish to investigate;
- Ask focused questions about how we can investigate it;
- Imagine a way forwards;
- Try it out an intervention), and take stock of what happens (evaluation);
- Modify our plan in light of what we have found, and continue with the action;
- Evaluate the modified action;
- Reconsider what we are doing in light of the evaluation.
This can then lead to a new action–reflection cycle.
The start of the process is usually an issue or situation that, as a teacher, you want to change. You will be supported in turning this 'interesting problem' into a 'researchable question' and then developing actions to try out. You will draw on the findings of other researchers to help develop actions and interpret the consequences.
As an action researcher, or teacher-researcher, you will generate research. Enquiring into your practice will inevitably lead you to question the assumptions and values that are often overlooked during the course of normal school life. Assuming the habit of inquiry can become an ongoing commitment to learning and developing as a practitioner. As a teacher-researcher you assume the responsibility for being the agent and source of change.
McNiff, J. (2013). Action research: Principles and practice . London: Routledge.
People and expertise
We have highly experienced educationalists and researchers who are able to support you with school and classroom based action research. This support can take a range of forms from providing whole school input on Action Research to individual mentoring with classroom projects. We have found that setting up small, collaborative working groups is both supportive and effective, but please contact us to discuss your individual needs.
Find out about our experts and some suggested topics based on their Action Research activities.
Dr Alf Coles
Previously a mathematics teacher, head of department and assistant headteacher, Alf Coles now works as a PGCE tutor, MEd tutor and supervises doctoral students. He writes in the field of mathematics education, recent publications have focused on the role of the facilitator in leading professional development and on teaching mathematics as if the planet matters. His work with Action Research includes:
- mathematics education,
- working with collaborative groups of teachers,
- using video for teacher development.
Dr Frances Giampapa
Frances Giampapa is a Lecturer in Education (TESOL/Applied Linguistics). Her research interests focus on the migration, language and identities nexus across multilingual contexts. She has experience working in collaborative partnerships with schools in Canada (see the Multiliteracies Project ) and in Bristol. She has published in the areas of language and identities in multilingual contexts, multiliteracies, and ethnographic field methods. Her work with Action Research includes:
- the use of ethnographic and participatory approaches to researching multilingualism inside/outside classrooms with teachers, students, families and other stakeholders in the community.
When schools are starting out on action research we are happy to tailor our Continuing Professional Development offering to focus on supporting teachers and allied education professionals to develop as action researchers. We can also potentially award credit for educational research work under our advanced offering of postgraduate, professional development programmes. In the first instance a member of staff at the School of Education can:
- come to facilitate a staff meeting as a one-off prompt to start a project;
- help you to design and undertake a research enquiry;
- visit your school on a regular basis to support a collaborative working group.
Please contact us to further discuss your needs.
Action research at master's and doctoral level
The following routes into advanced study are available:
- Master's - this is a one year full-time or three to five year part-time taught programme. A dissertation has to be carried out as part of the master's programme and this could involve action research.
- Doctoral - we offer study at doctoral both through individual research for a PhD and through the largely taught EdD programme. Action Research is a regular feature of both doctoral programmes.
The key feature common to all Action Research projects is that it involves practitioner researchers planning for and reflecting on the outcomes of a change in their practice in an ongoing cycle of plan-act-reflect. Some examples follow:
- Piloting research with a local secondary school to explore through observation the activity of learners’ non-compliance.
- Using a Participatory Action Research approach to develop therapeutic interventions for young people who experience social and emotional difficulties in a secondary school.
- Using an ethnographic approach to investigate the ways in which teachers’ use the multilingual and multicultural resources of migrant children and their families as assets for learning in school.
- Supporting a collaborative group of early career teachers in science in developing and evaluating their practice in differentiation to include learners with English as Additional Language and learners with Special Educational Needs.
Details of master's and doctorate tuition fees .
Michelle Graffagnino Tel: 07920510572 Email: [email protected]
Pros and Cons of Action Research
Action research involves methodical observation, data collection for purposes of reflection, decision-making, and development of efficient strategies in the classrooms. Action research consists of phases including selecting an area of focus, data collection, data organization, analysis and interpretation of data, study of professional literature, and the last step is taking action. This study aims at analyzing the pros and cons of action research. This will aid in understanding the benefits accrued by practitioners as well as shortfalls of action research.
What is Action Research
Action research is a process of practitioners checking their work to confirm if it is as good as they want. As action research is done by, the practitioner is often referred to practitioner-based research or even self reflecting practice as it entails checking the effectiveness of work done personally (Dick 440). Action 5 research is not a replacement of quasi-experimental research but acts as a means of finding out results where other research paradigms may not be effective. This is due to the difference in the conditions inherent with different research conditions for the choice of a research paradigm to be utilized. Action analysis is primarily used to examine an ongoing situation in a work environment, for example. A choice of a research paradigm depends on it being able to meet the methodology and goals of the research.
Advantages of Action Research
Action research, as a paradigm, was mainly used for the improvement of the teaching profession, which is the main reason for pros and cons of action research examples being centered on education. Action research pros use action analysis as a basic method for improving the efficiency of service delivery in a sector in meeting needs and demands. Action research can be carried out in a teaching organization to allow teachers to recognize their weaknesses and improve on them in order to increase student experience. It will also aid in improving the effectiveness of teaching as a measure of making teachers efficiency in imparting knowledge and development on the students. Action research also aids in the building of a professional culture in the profession of the practitioners. This is possible owing to the better understanding of the practices in the profession that will be effective in meeting the needs and inculcated by practitioners for the development of the culture.
Action study also has the benefit of the the problem-solving skills of the professional within and without their service centers. For teachers, this is possible through an interactive process of the augmented process of the teachers to be analytical in the course of taking part in research. Action research aids teachers to be more reflective of the situation they are faced in and the ability of meeting the requirements of the students. Another prerequisite for action research is critical analysis of own teaching styles and methods. The consequence of incorporation of critical evaluation of teaching styles, analysis, and reflection results in the ability of the teachers to solve problems.
Action research has the ability of sharpening reasoning abilities of the practitioner and aids them in the development of measures of self monitoring to augment performance effectiveness. Through action research, teachers become more aware of their teaching practices, the difference between practice and beliefs, thoughts, feelings, and learning of their pupils. This allows them to tailor their teaching in a well reasoned and with high skill to meet the learning requirements of their pupils. Action research also aids in the ability of teachers to focus on student explanation and conceptions. This is brought about by the fact that action research involves collecting data on student’s understanding and thinking, making teachers understand the students better (Calhoun 33)
The research base of practitioners augments with participation in action research. This is due to collection of literature in literature review part of the action research on the main objective of the research. In teaching profession, the teacher will have a better understanding of the teaching process and will enable them to improve their teaching methods even if they do not eventually conduct the research. The other advantage of is that it aids in the general development of the work environment as it leads to the development of better work practices and strategies for service delivery and duty performance. There is involvement in action research groups in the course of participation in action research that leads to the generation of a new social setting. This is whereby ne relations are created, establishment of dialogue and profession practices, challenging and translating to change and modification. This change results in better practices and beliefs in the profession, which results on better development of the profession and creation of an effective workforce (Balnaves & Caputi 45).
Action research aids in improvement of confidence among practitioners in the course of the performance of their duties. As an example, action research augments a teacher’s confidence through learning various ways they are able to change lives and the importance of their jobs and it improves their confidence in their teaching ability. This improved confidence by the teachers gives them professional self-assurance, which is a main factor in the ability of continuous development of the teaching profession. The main way this is developed by action research is having better knowledge of education issues, formulating significant matters on the issues, and reviews them for the development of education practices (Balnaves & Caputi 24s).
In regards to the teaching profession, the other advantage of action research is that it is regarded as the only viable and coherent way of addressing curriculum development, evaluation and professional development. This is duty to the critical nature of action research on the state of the teaching profession as there is the application of critical theory for the completion of action (Dick 430).
Disadvantages of Action Research
The main disadvantage of action research is that the practitioner evaluates himself or herself. There is a risk in the benefits of action research in this case on the student selection criteria, objectivity in selecting the participants by the practitioner. There may raise a problem in action research if there exists coercion or voluntary selection of the participants is also a problem, honesty in the answers given by the participants is also in doubt, this is due to the presence of fear of repercussions that may arise after the research. This reduces the ability of action research to meet the required needs as there may not be presented the true picture of the situation because of personal evaluation by the teacher (Coghlan, & Brannik 23).
The other disadvantage of action research is the validity in writing and presentation of the final report by the practitioner. A practitioner may not give a correct report owing to matters that may not be good for the profession including a conclusion that may be critical of their methods of practice. The practitioner may not be willing to write this in the final report; hence, the validity of the report will be in doubt. The other matter is the objectivity in writing of report, as the practitioner may not be able to separate personal issues, and write the report in an objective manner as these touches on his /her profession. This will also affect the ability to deliver a report that is objective, efficient, and of high quality. The last matter for this assertion is if the practitioner will be willing to take corrective action on findings of the report. A recommendation for a change in teaching style may not augur well with the educator because many people love the status quo and there is a very strong resistance to change in all workplaces (Parsons & Kimberlee 29).
The other disadvantage of action research is that the results in action research cannot be generalized. The results can only be applicable to the portion of the population studied and the exact system. The other disadvantage of action research is that it is more difficult to conduct than conventional research as it takes longer and requirements refinement of the methodology as the research continues.
In conclusion, action research has a number of advantages including improved effectiveness, culture development, increases learning and improved confidence for the development of the practitioner in effective service delivery . However, action research has a number of disadvantages including lack of isolation between action research and personal issues, harder than conventional research, lack of generalization and objectivity problems. Despite the stated setbacks, action research has far more advantages than disadvantages making in an effective tool in augmenting service delivery, development of professionalism and the creation of better policies and rules at the workplace. Understanding of the workplace environment and the practitioners as well as quality of service are the other benefits accrued from action research making it an important component in organizational development.
- Balnaves, M., & Caputi, P., 2001, Introduction to quantitative research methods, California: Sage Thousand Oaks.
- Calhoun, E., 1994, “ How to Use Action Research in the Self-Renewing School.” Alexandria, Va: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
- Coghlan, D., & Brannik, T., 2005, Doing Action Research in your Organisation , London: Sage Publicaions.
- Dick, B,. 2006, Action Research Literature, Action Research , 4(4), 439-458.
- Dick, B., 2004, Action Research Literature: Themes and Trends, Action Research , 2(4), 425- 444.
- Parsons, D., & Kimberlee, S., 2002, Teacher as Reflective Practitioner and Action Researcher . Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning.
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Educational Action Research
Connecting research and practice for professionals and communities.
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Educational Action Research is concerned with exploring the dialogue between research and practice in educational settings. The considerable increase in interest in action research in recent years has been accompanied by the development of a number of different approaches: for example, to promote reflective practice; professional development; empowerment; understanding of tacit professional knowledge; curriculum development; individual, institutional and community change; and development of democratic management and administration. Proponents of all these share the common aim of ending the dislocation of research from practice, an aim which links them with those involved in participatory research and action inquiry.
This journal publishes accounts of a range of action research and related studies, in education and across the professions, with the aim of making their outcomes widely available and exemplifying the variety of possible styles of reporting. It aims to establish and maintain a review of the literature of action research. It also provides a forum for dialogue on the methodological and epistemological issues, enabling different approaches to be subjected to critical reflection and analysis.
The impetus for Educational Action Research came from CARN, the Collaborative Action Research Network, and since its foundation in 1992, EAR has been important in extending and strengthening this international network.
Editorial correspondence is now conducted primarily via the Educational Action Research ScholarOne Manuscripts site . If you would like to contact the office directly the email is [email protected] .
Peer Review Policy: All research articles in this journal have undergone rigorous peer review, based on initial editor screening and anonymized refereeing by at least two anonymous referees, normally from two different countries in line with the journal’s international status.
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Participatory Research to Address Climate Change and Sustainability
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Created by the Great Schools Partnership , the GLOSSARY OF EDUCATION REFORM is a comprehensive online resource that describes widely used school-improvement terms, concepts, and strategies for journalists, parents, and community members. | Learn more »
In schools, action research refers to a wide variety of evaluative, investigative, and analytical research methods designed to diagnose problems or weaknesses—whether organizational, academic, or instructional—and help educators develop practical solutions to address them quickly and efficiently. Action research may also be applied to programs or educational techniques that are not necessarily experiencing any problems, but that educators simply want to learn more about and improve. The general goal is to create a simple, practical, repeatable process of iterative learning, evaluation, and improvement that leads to increasingly better results for schools, teachers, or programs.
Action research may also be called a cycle of action or cycle of inquiry , since it typically follows a predefined process that is repeated over time. A simple illustrative example:
- Identify a problem to be studied
- Collect data on the problem
- Organize, analyze, and interpret the data
- Develop a plan to address the problem
- Implement the plan
- Evaluate the results of the actions taken
- Identify a new problem
- Repeat the process
Unlike more formal research studies, such as those conducted by universities and published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, action research is typically conducted by the educators working in the district or school being studied—the participants—rather than by independent, impartial observers from outside organizations. Less formal, prescriptive, or theory-driven research methods are typically used when conducting action research, since the goal is to address practical problems in a specific school or classroom, rather than produce independently validated and reproducible findings that others, outside of the context being studied, can use to guide their future actions or inform the design of their academic programs. That said, while action research is typically focused on solving a specific problem (high rates of student absenteeism, for example) or answer a specific question (Why are so many of our ninth graders failing math?), action research can also make meaningful contributions to the larger body of knowledge and understanding in the field of education, particularly within a relatively closed system such as school, district, or network of connected organizations.
The term “action research” was coined in the 1940s by Kurt Lewin, a German-American social psychologist who is widely considered to be the founder of his field. The basic principles of action research that were described by Lewin are still in use to this day.
Educators typically conduct action research as an extension of a particular school-improvement plan, project, or goal—i.e., action research is nearly always a school-reform strategy. The object of action research could be almost anything related to educational performance or improvement, from the effectiveness of certain teaching strategies and lesson designs to the influence that family background has on student performance to the results achieved by a particular academic support strategy or learning program—to list just a small sampling.
For related discussions, see action plan , capacity , continuous improvement , evidence-based , and professional development .
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Research Methods in Business Studies
This accessible guide provides clear, practical explanations of key research methods in business studies, presenting a step-by-step approach to data collection, analysis and problem solving. Readers will learn how to formulate a research question, choose an appropriate research method, argue and motivate, collect and analyse data, and present findings in a logical and convincing manner. The authors evaluate various qualitative and quantitative methods and their consequences, guiding readers to the most appropriate research design for particular questions. Furthermore, the authors…
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- Includes five new and dedicated chapters on qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis
- Includes even more examples and exercises in each chapter
- Provides practical guidelines for dissertation and report writing
- research design
- data collection
- quantitative analysis
- qualitative analysis
- cross-cultural research
- report writing
- statistical analysis
About the book
- DOI https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108762427
- Subjects Business and Management, Management: General Interest
- Publication date: 12 March 2020
- ISBN: 9781108486743
- Dimensions (mm): 244 x 170 mm
- Weight: 0.8kg
- Contains: 57 b/w illus. 87 colour illus. 27 tables
- Page extent: 300 pages
- Availability: Available, despatch within 1-2 weeks
- ISBN: 9781108708241
- Weight: 0.7kg
- Availability: In stock
- Publication date: 17 January 2020
- ISBN: 9781108762427
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Pervez Ghauri is Professor of International Business at University of Birmingham. Ghauri is the Editor-in-Chief of the International Business Review and Consulting Editor for the Journal of International Business Studies. Ghauri has published more than thirty books and more than hundred articles in top level journals.
Kjell Grønhaug is Professor emeritus, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration, Bergen-Sandviken. He is Honorary Professor at University of Turku, Göteborgs universitet and Stockholm School of Economics. His publications include eighteen authored and co-authored books and some 200 articles in leading European and American journals.
Roger Strange is Professor of International Business at the University of Sussex Business School. He is an Associate Editor of the International Business Review, a Senior Editor of the Asia Pacific Journal of Management, and on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of World Business, the Global Strategy Journal, and the Asia Pacific Business Review. His publications include twelve authored or edited books, and numerous book chapters and articles in leading international journals.
- Svenja Voelkel ,
- Franziska Kretzschmar
Online publication date: 20 August 2021
- Florian A. A. Becker-Ritterspach ,
- Susanne Blazejewski ,
- Christoph Dörrenbächer ,
- Mike Geppert
Online publication date: 05 June 2016
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Action research has come to be understood as a global family of related approaches that integrates theory and practice with a goal of addressing important organizational, community, and social issues together with those who experience them ( Bradbury, 2015; Brydon-Miller & Coghlan, 2014).
we review some applications of action research in the ﬁelds of business and management and functional areas while utilizing the comprehensive framework. Third, in the discussion, we invite readers to engage in their own reﬂection on how some of these published action research studies demonstrate characteristics of action research.
The action research process works through three basic phases: Look -building a picture and gathering information. When evaluating we define and describe the problem to be investigated and the context in which it is set. We also describe what all the participants (educators, group members, managers etc.) have been doing.
Action research is basically learning by doing. First, a problem is identified, then some actions are taken to address it, then how well the efforts worked are measured, and if the results are not satisfactory, the steps are applied again. It can be put into three different groups:
Action study is a participatory study consisting of spiral of following self-reflective cycles: Planning in order to initiate change Implementing the change (acting) and observing the process of implementation and consequences Reflecting on processes of change and re-planning Acting and observing Reflecting Action Research Spiral
Action research refers to a wide range of evaluative or investigative methods designed to analyze professional practices and take action for improvement. Commonly used in education, those practices could be related to instructional methods, classroom practices, or school organizational matters.
Examining your progress is called action research. This method applies to psychology, marketing, and education. Action research is used by teachers to find solutions to problem areas or formulate research plans for factors that need improvement.
Action research is a process by which practitioners attempt to study their problems scientifically in order to guide, correct, and evaluate their decisions and action. (Corey, 1953). Action research in education is study conducted by colleagues in a school setting of the results of their activities to improve instruction. (Glickman, 1990)
Simply put, action research describes a research methodology used to diagnose and address problems. In a school setting, the teacher plays the role of the researcher, and the students represent the study participants. Action research is a meaningful way for a teacher to find out why students perform the way they do.
Action research is a term used to describe a family of related approaches that integrate theory and action with a goal of addressing important organizational ... This is now an area of high popularity among academics and researchers from various fields—especially business and organization studies, education, health care, nursing, development ...
Preview. This book covers the background, process, and tools needed to introduce and guide students through to a successful action research (AR) project. Included are how to initiate, plan, and complete AR within all types of organizations in business, nonprofit, and public administration. Graphic organizers and a modular sequence of topics ...
Part of SAGE's Mastering Business Research Methods, conceived and edited by Bill Lee, Mark N. K. Saunders and Vadake K. Narayanan and designed to support researchers by providing in-depth and practical guidance on using a chosen method of data collection or analysis. Watch the editors introduce the Mastering Business Research Methods series
The action research process consists of five steps in the cycle: diagnosing, action planning, taking action, evaluating, and specifying learning. The process is known for on-the-job...
AR has also been identified as appropriate for organisational change research, as it assists in developing an understanding of the ways that social systems change (Lau 1999, p. 149), and has been...
The approach is recognized in studies concerning democracy, sustainability, and the renewal of society, for example acknowledging that democracy is the legacy of action research and claiming that action research has the potential to contribute to addressing current problems concerning democracy and sustainability (Gunnarsson et al., 2015 ...
Action Research is a method of systematic enquiry that teachers undertake as researchers of their own practice. The enquiry involved in Action Research is a process involving the following key steps (McNiff, 2013. p. 90). We review our current practice; Identify an issue we wish to investigate; Ask focused questions about how we can investigate it;
Action research is a philosophy and methodology of research generally applied in the social sciences. It seeks transformative change through the simultaneous process of taking action and doing research, which are linked together by critical reflection. Kurt Lewin, then a professor a MIT, first coined the term "action research" in 1944.
Action research is a process of practitioners checking their work to confirm if it is as good as they want. As action research is done by, the practitioner is often referred to practitioner-based research or even self reflecting practice as it entails checking the effectiveness of work done personally (Dick 440).
This journal publishes accounts of a range of action research and related studies, in education and across the professions, with the aim of making their outcomes widely available and exemplifying the variety of possible styles of reporting. It aims to establish and maintain a review of the literature of action research.
Action research is a philosophy and methodology of research that is generally applied in the social sciences. Action research has four key characteristics: persuasive authoritative relevant...
In schools, action research refers to a wide variety of evaluative, investigative, and analytical research methods designed to diagnose problems or weaknesses—whether organizational, academic, or instructional—and help educators develop practical solutions to address them quickly and efficiently. Action research may also be applied to programs or educational techniques that are not ...
This accessible guide provides clear, practical explanations of key research methods in business studies, presenting a step-by-step approach to data collection, analysis and problem solving. Readers will learn how to formulate a research question, choose an appropriate research method, argue and motivate, collect and analyse data, and present ...