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A Working Session on Action Research for Literacy Educators

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Presentation on theme: "A Working Session on Action Research for Literacy Educators"— Presentation transcript:

1 A Working Session on Action Research for Literacy Educators
Karen Erickson (and David Koppenhaver) Bridges to Learning 2010 May 15, 2010

2 Introduction & Overview
Center for Literacy & Disability Studies Engaged Scholarship You? What experience do you have with research? What experience do you have with action research?

3 Does Wilfrid Gordon do the things that teacher researchers do?
Develop questions based on their own interest in their students’ learning and their teaching. Determine effective methods for answering their questions. Systematically document what happens. Observe and reflect on observations. Examine their assumptions, beliefs, and theories. Discuss their research with their colleagues to validate their findings and interpretations of their data. Present findings to others. Write about their research (school-wide publication, national).

4 What is Teacher Research. (From Marian M
What is Teacher Research? (From Marian M. Mohr) Inquiry that is intentional, systematic, public, voluntary, ethical, and contextual. .

5 Action Research Action Research
Problem solving and intervention that is not part of a research effort. Investigations that are planned with specific hypotheses, plans and procedures. Investigations that are planned primarily to address practical problems.

6 What is the difference between teacher research and action research?

7 Action research definitions
Family of research methods which pursue action and research outcomes simultaneously. Trying out ideas in practice as a means of increasing knowledge about and/or improving curriculum, teaching, and learning (ERIC Digest) Process used by educators to reflect on what they do in the classroom and improve their practice. (Action Research for Teachers Website)

8 Action research is… Cyclic Participatory Qualitative
Plan, act, observe, reflect, repeat Throughout career Data collecting, data interpreting, decision-making Participatory Involve yourself Doing--carrying out yourself Participant-observation Qualitative Does not require numbers and statistics Language/writing—themes Less confining--more wiggle room to change & adjust than in traditional research

9 Action research is (cont.)…
Reflective Constant refinement, active involvement, commitment to understanding Responsive What you observe, continue/change/document Emergent Break down repeatedly (interpretability)--in sharing Where you start and where you finish might differ Multiple data sources revisited, evolving questions

10 Example of Action Research
Identify the steps of action research as we work through the process.

11 What steps did you identify?
Annie’s Example What steps did you identify?

12 Example of Action Research
Identify the steps of action research as we work through the process.

13 Developing a Research Question
Look for things that are interesting to YOU. Think in open-ended ways: "how" or "why" or "under what conditions” When possible focus on questions that address a group rather than an individual student

14 The questions you ask should focus on:
teaching and learning; something in your control; something you’d like to change or improve; and something you feel PASSIONATE about.

15 What problems do you need to address in your work?
Before identifying questions, identify the problem you wish to address. What problems do you need to address in your work?

16 Low reading & writing test scores

17 What makes a good research question?
Once you have the problem identified, it is easier to identify the question. What makes a good research question?

18 Effective Action Research Questions
• Are open-ended – “How does word prediction influence writing for my students?” • Are focused on your students and classroom, practical in nature – “What are the effects of picture-supported text on reading motivation?” – “How does my Smart Board influence interactions during group time?” • Aren’t oriented to quantitative designs and statistical solutions

19 After you have your question, you have to figure out what we already know about the topic.
Literature Reviews

20 Literature Reviews Guiding direction of your research Challenges
What is known, what has been tried, is your question already thoroughly answered? Challenges Finding relevant studies Focus, focus, focus Reconciling/synthesizing different findings Conducting Define topic/questions Identifying sources of info (journal list) Limiting review (when is enough, enough?)

21 Literature Reviews Keeping records Reading/note taking Writing up
PDF or photocopies Notecards, Inspiration, databases ZOTERO (www.zotero.com) Reading/note taking Background book on topic is often a good starting place Search for patterns in what you read Look through the reference list of everything you read Writing up Clear, readable, concise Intro, description of each study and main findings, conclusion leading into your research question(s) Reference list:

22 Write something! Because you’re going to share this eventually, take some time to write about what you learned doing the literature review.

23 What data do you need? Where will it come from?

24 Example Measures What will you measure to gather data to answer your question(s)? – Multiple measures for triangulation – e.g., reading motivation Msre #1: Garfield test Msre #2: Observation of student behaviors during SSR Msre #3: Student interviews Msre #4: Anecdotal records Msre #5: Transcript analysis of student conference about SSR

25 Tools to Gather Data Interviews Observation Checklists
Cause and Effect Diagrams Surveys Flow charts Focus Groups Affinity Diagrams

26 Developing a Checklist for Observations
Identify the standards. Be sure that they are worded so that observable behaviors demonstrating those standards can be clearly identified. Create indicators. Be sure that they describe the observable behavior identified in the standard. Set criteria. Establish criteria in which you can have confidence. Design data collection tools. Tools can be designed as a pencil and paper checklist or an electronic tool. Apply use of the tools in making observations. Tabulate checklist data.

27 Questions about data

28 Question 1 Why are we collecting this data?
How is the data related to the focus area and question? What will the data tell us about student learning and teaching strategies or client benefits?

29 Question 2 What exactly are we collecting?
What kind of data will give us the best information about students learning and teaching strategies? Gather data on the same question in different ways, from different sources, and at different times (triangulation).

30 Question 3 When are we going to collect it and for how long?
How much data is needed?  How periodic should the collection be?

31 Question 4 Who is going to collect it?
Is this data being collected by an individual teacher-researcher, study group members, or extended school-wide?

32 Question 5 How will data be collected, analyzed and findings shared?
Has a time-line been established?  Where and how will the data be stored? Has the criterion for analyzing the data (rubrics, implementation logs) been established before the data is collected?  What is the system for recording and sharing the findings?

33 Staying Organized Develop a system to organize data as you collect it.
Don’t wait to figure out what you are finding. Look at the data as it is collected. Write in a journal, start a blog, but find a place to write and reflect upon what you’re learning Share your thinking with others – seek the input of others.

34 Visually Display Your Findings
Numeric Findings: Charts in Excel Text-based Findings: Inspiration Draft:Builder Blogs

35 Share it!

36 Questions to Consider When Developing a Data Collection Plan
What baseline data on student performance did you collect and how did this direct the development of your data collection plan? How did your literature searches contribute to the identification of data? Do the instruments and methods you plan to use measure what you think they do? Do the instruments and methods you plan to use accurately measure the strategy/ phenomena you are studying?


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