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Educational Research: Action Research in Schools

Educational Research: Action Research in Schools

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Educational Research: Action Research in Schools

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  1. Educational Research:Action Research in Schools EDU 8603 Educational Research Richard M. Jacobs, OSA, Ph.D.

  2. The question of the practical significance of research findings has increasingly become an issue in educational research during the past two decades…

  3. Although research may be helpful for educators in schools to solve the problems confronting them… …most published research does not speak directly to the “real world” needs that educators in schools have …or is difficult to access, understand, and use

  4. …in addition, the focus of most research is “objective” and “out there” rather than “subjective” and “in my practice”

  5. Focusing upon these needs… …educators can conduct, practice-oriented research to improve their classroom practice …by collecting data about their daily activities, problems, and outcomes for the purpose of improving themselves as teachers and their students as learners

  6. action research... …teacher-initiated, school-based research used to improve the practitioner’s practice by doing or changing something

  7. …where the teacher is the researcher and the teacher’s practice is the focus of the research

  8. The main reason for teachers to engage in action research is to learn from and to improve their own teaching activities… …by re-examining their practice and altering their taken-for-granted beliefs and understandings

  9. but, action research can also be used to form a more egalitarian community of professional educators… …as principals, teachers, and other staff conduct in-school research …used in school improvement efforts as the research results are applied to the school and/or its classrooms

  10. Four assumptions underlying action research… 1. teachers should have multiple opportunities to engage in professional growth and development 2. good teachers have an intrinsic desire to improve their practice and need data to do so

  11. 3. given the opportunity and resources (the most scarce resource being time), teachers can carry research studies that can inform their practice 4. no matter how conclusive research findings may be, they may not be applicable to certain classrooms, given their idiosyncratic features

  12. Steps in action research… 1. identification of the problem or topic 2. data gathering 3. decision making 4. resulting action 5. assessment/evaluation

  13. identification of the problem or topic …derived form a review of actual practice …is more narrowly-stated than global …leads to the formulation of a hypothesis

  14. data gathering… …involves the collection of both informal, anecdotal data as well as formal, objective data …provides the foundation for the researcher to examine, critique, and better understand the researcher’s practice

  15. …because the focus of action research emphasizes particular settings (e.g., a classroom), the issue of generalizability is not accorded priority …at the same time, action research must be purposeful, systematic, data-based and evaluative in its conduct

  16. anecdotal data... …information derived from recollections about people, statements, behaviors, interactions and other observations

  17. the use of two data sources presents several challenges… …the collection of objective data must be systematized and anonymity guaranteed …the data must be compared to something (e.g., a pre-test or predicted outcomes)

  18. …the specific aspects of the behaviors to be observed must be identified a priori to their performance and evaluation

  19. decision making… …the process of interpreting the data and making a determination about how one will respond to the data …in action research, the teacher is the data interpreter and decision maker

  20. resulting action… …an action-oriented response directed toward developing insight into and improving practice …the outcome is that the research’s actions, activities, beliefs, assumptions, and effects are positively impacted by the findings

  21. assessment and evaluation… …assessment: making a determination about improvement based upon a new standard emerging from the action research findings …evaluation: identifying the practice-oriented values that the researcher is now capable of drawing out of practice

  22. The role of reflection in action research... • reflection is an important aspect of action research… …especially formal, tangible evidence directly related to one’s practice …less helpful are post hoc reflections …of little use are momentary, fleeting, intuitive, and tacit reflections

  23. Validity issues in action research... • The role of the teacher as researcher and the focus upon the teacher’s practice raises issues concerning validity… …and validity should be an essential feature of any action research

  24. to enhance validity… …have students respond to questionnaires anonymously …use clear and understandable criteria to focus the data collection and analysis …test all claims concerning alleged improvement in practice through triangulation

  25. triangulation... …the utilization of knowledgeable and expert yet differing perspectives to corroborate research results and interpretations

  26. common threats to validity in action research… …failing to separate descriptions from explanations …failing to understand the difference between data and evidence …failing to collect tangible data

  27. …failing to define commonly understood criteria for the aspects of practice being investigated …presenting raw data rather than summarized data …failing to differentiate between the action and the action research …failing to validate the results

  28. Comparing research methods... • quantitative, qualitative, and action research methods are research, not opinions or ad hoc activities… …each method involving systematic inquiry into a problem as well as collecting and interpreting data to produce results

  29. while quantitative and qualitative research methods attempt to verify or reject a hypothesis and, thus, to “repair the problem” indirectly… …action research attempts to repair the problems of practice directly

  30. while quantitative and qualitative research methods are value neutral… …action research reflects the researcher’s values

  31. while quantitative researchers are objective and qualitative researchers are semi-objective in the process of conducting their research… …researchers are subjectively involved in the process of conducting action research

  32. Mini-Quiz… • True and false… …the general purpose of action research is to improve a practitioner’s practice True

  33. True and false… …in action research, the researcher is the central focus of the action research process True

  34. True and false… …teacher professional development can be a form of action research True

  35. True and false… …good action research shares some qualities of good quantitative and qualitative research True

  36. True and false… …because much action research is value-neutral, this presents a threat to its validity False

  37. True and false… …the major difference between action research and other research methods is that action research aims at developing a theory about what works in classrooms False

  38. True and false… …post hoc reflection provides the best data for action research False

  39. True and false… …the data collected in action research should be tangible True

  40. True and false… …the topic of action research is derived from issues arising from the application of theory to practice True

  41. True and false… …generalization beyond a particular classroom is not a primary concern of most action research True

  42. True and false… …the Achilles’ heel of action research is the reliability of the findings False

  43. True and false… …the results of action research can be used to alter and improve professional practice True

  44. Fill in the blank… …teacher-initiated, school-based research used to improve the practitioner’s practice by doing or changing something action research

  45. Fill in the blank… …information derived from recollections about people, statements, behaviors, interactions and other observations anecdotal data

  46. Fill in the blank… …making a determination about improvement based upon a new standard emerging from the action research findings assessment

  47. Fill in the blank… …identifying the practice-oriented values that the researcher is now capable of drawing out of practice evaluation

  48. Fill in the blank… …the utilization of knowledgeable and expert yet differing perspectives to corroborate research results and interpretations triangulation

  49. This module has focused on... action research in schools …teacher-initiated, school-based research used to improve the practitioner’s practice by doing or changing something

  50. The next module will focus on... descriptive statistics ...the statistical procedures for describing, synthesizing, analyzing, and interpreting quantitative data