Action Research

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  • 1. ActionResearch

2. What is Action Research?Action Research is a processin which participants examine theirown educational practicesystematically and carefully, usingthe techniques of research. (Watts, 1985, p.118) 3. Action Research is based on thefollowing assumptions: Teachers and principals work best onproblems they have identified forthemselves; Teachers and principals becomemore effective when encouraged toexamine and assess their own workand then consider ways of workingdifferently; 4. Teachers and principals help eachother by working collaboratively; and Workingwith colleagues helpsteachers and principals in theirprofessional development. (Watts, 1985, p.118) 5. Although there are many types ofresearch thatmaybeundertaken, action research specificallyrefers to a disciplined inquiry done by ateacher with the intent that theresearch will inform and change his orher practices in the future. Implicit to the term action research isthe idea that teachers will begin a cycleofposingquestions,gatheringdata, reflection and deciding a courseof action. 6. What is Not Action Research? Action research is not usually comesto mind when we hear the wordresearch. Action research is not a library projectwhere we learn more about a topicthat interests us. It is not problem-solving in the senseof trying to find out what is wrong, butrather a quest for knowledge abouthow to improve. 7. What is Not Action Research? Action research is not about doingresearch on or about people, orfinding all available information on atopic looking for the correct answers.It involves people working to improvetheir skills, techniques, and strategies. Action research is not about learningwhy we do certain things, but ratherhow we can do things better. It isabout how we can change ourinstruction to impact students. 8. Similarities and Differences betweenAction Research and Formal Quantitative and Qualitative Research 9. Action Research Formal ResearchSystematic inquiry.Systematic inquiry.Goal is to solve Goal is to developproblems of localand test theoriesconcern. and to produce knowledge generalizable to wide population.Little formalConsiderabletraining required to training required toconduct such conduct suchstudies. studies. 10. Action Research Formal ResearchIntent is to identify Intent is toand correct investigate largerproblems of local issues.concern.Carried out byCarried out byteacher or otherresearcher who islocal education not usuallyprofessional. involved in localsituation.Uses primarilyUses primarilyteacher-professionallydeveloped developedinstruments.instruments. 11. Action Research Formal ResearchLess rigorous.More rigorous.Usually value-Frequently value-based.neutral.Purposive samples Random samplesselected. (if possible)preferred.Selective opinions Selective opinionsof researcher often of researcherconsidered as never considereddata. as data.Generalizability is Generalizabilityvery limited. often appropriate. 12. Types of Action Research Individual Teacher Research usuallyfocuses on a single issue in theclassroom. Collaborative Action Research mayinclude as few as two teachers or agroup of several teachers and othersinterested in addressing in aclassroom or department issue. School-wide Research focuses onissue common to all. 13. Types of Action Research District-wide Research far morecomplex and utilizes more resources,but the rewards can be great. Issuescan be organizational, community-based,performance-based orprocesses for decision making. 14. History of Action Research 1940: The idea of using research in anatural setting to change the waythat the researcher interacts with thatsetting was traced back to KurtLewin. Kurt Lewin credited for coining theterm action research to describework that did not separate theinvestigation from the action neededto solve the problem. 15. History of Action Research Stephen Corey - the first to useaction research in the field ofeducation. 1950: Action research was attackedas unscientific, little more than acommon sense and the work ofamateurs (McFarland & Stansell, p.15). 1970: Saw again the emergence ofaction research. 16. Steps in Action Research Within all the definitions of actionresearch, there are four basic themes:empowerment ofparticipants,collaboration through participation,acquisition of knowledge, and socialchange.In conducting actionresearch, we structure routines forcontinuous confrontation with data onthe health of a school community. 17. Steps in Action Research These routines are loosely guided bymovement through five phases ofinquiry:1. Identification of problem area2. Collection and organization of data3. Interpretation of data4. Action based on data5. Reflection 18. Identify the Problem NextGather StepsDataEvaluateInterpret ResultsDataAct on Evidence 19. Identify a Problem AreaTeachersoften have severalquestionstheywishto investigate;however, it is important to limit thequestion to one that is meaningful anddoable in the confines of their dailywork. Careful planning at this first stagewill limit false starts and frustrations. 20. Identify a Problem Area There are several criteria to considerbefore investing the time and effort inresearching a problem. The questionshould: be a higher-order question- not ayes/no be stated in common language,avoiding jargon be concise be meaningful not already have an answer 21. Gather Data The collection of data is animportant step in deciding what actionneeds to be taken. Multiple sources ofdata are used to better understand thescope of happenings in the classroomor school. 22. Gather DataTherearemany vehiclesforcollection of data:Interviews PortfoliosJournalsDiariesVideotapesAudio TapesPhotos Memos Case StudiesSurveysField Notes ChecklistQuestionnairesLogs of MeetingsIndividual FilesSelf-assessmentRecords tests, report cards, attendance 23. Interpret Data Analyzeand identifymajorthemes. Depending upon the question,teachers may wish to use classroomdata, individual data or subgroup data.Some of the data are quantifiable andcan be analyzed without the use ofstatistics or technical assistance. 24. Act on Evidence Using the information from thedata collection and review of currentliterature, design a plan of action thatwill allow you to make a change and tostudy that change. It is important thatonly one variable be altered. 25. Evaluate Results Assess the effects oftheinterventiontodetermine ifimprovement has occurred. Is there isimprovement,do the dataclearlyprovide the supporting evidence? If no,what changes can be made to theactions to elicit better reults? 26. Next Steps As a result of the action researchproject, identify additional questionsraised by the data and plan foradditional improvements, revisions andnext steps. 27. Guide Questions1. What was my concern?2. Why was I concerned?3. What could I do?4. What could help me?5. What did I do?6. How can I evaluate my work? 28. Benefits of Action Research1. Focus on school issue, problem or area of collective interest.2. Form ofteacher professional development.3. Collegial interactions.4. Potential to impact school change.5. Reflect on own practice.6. Improved communications. 29. Sample #1Studying the Effects of Time-Out on aStudents Disruptive Behavior by Means of a Single-Subject ExperimentMs. Wong, a third-grade teacher, findsher class continually interrupted by a studentwho cant seem to keep quiet. Distressed, sheasks herself what she can do to control thisstudent and wonders if some kind of time outactivity might work. Accordingly, she asks: 30. Would brief periods of removal from theclass decrease the frequency of this studentsdisruptive behavior?What might Ms. Wong do to get ananswer to her question?This sort of question can best beanswered by means of a single-subject A-B-A-Bdesign. First, Ms. Wong needs to establish abaseline of the students disruptive behavior.Hence, she should observe the student carefullyover a period of several days, charting thefrequency of the disruptive behavior. 31. Once she has establishedastablepattern of the students behavior, she shouldintroduce the treatment in this instance, time-out, orplacingthestudent outsidetheclassroom for a brief period of time for severaldays andobservethe frequency of thestudents disruptivebehaviorafter thetreatment periods. She then should repeat thecycle. Ideally, the students disruptive behaviorwill decrease and Ms. Wong will no longerneed to use a time-out period with this student. 32. The main problem for Ms. Wong is beingable to observe and chart the studentsbehavior during the time-out period and yet stillteach the other students in her class. She mayalso have difficulty making sure the treatment(time-out) works as intended (e.g., that thestudent is not wandering the halls). Both ofthese problems would be greatly diminished ifshe had a teachers aide to assist with theseconcerns. 33. Sample #2 How Can I Improve My Students to Improve in English?By Ma HongI am a teacher of English in China, I havebeen teaching for two years. I undertook myprofessional learning within atraditionalcontext, which emphasizedthatteachersshould help their students learn correct answersand achieve a high standard of languageproficiency. 34. This involved using pedagogies that putthe responsibility for success on the teachersteaching, rather than on the students learning.Using this approach also meant that mystudents and I were exhausted at the end ofeach day. I wondered what I could do aboutthe situation.In 2003, I heard from my colleague, TaoRui about the action research approaches shewas developing under the guidance of MoiraLaidlaw at the Guyuan Teachers College, 35. so I asked Moira to help me develop newpedagogies. Under Moiras guidance I beganmy formal action inquiry within the context ofmy class 40 English major students aged 15-18,of which 98% had failed the entranceexamination for senior middle school. I metthem for a two-hour class three