Presentation on theme: "The Purpose of Action Research"— Presentation transcript:
1 The Purpose of Action Research Contributes to the theory & knowledge base to enhance practiceSupports the professional development of practitionersBuilds a collegial networking systemHelps practitioners identify problems & seek solutions systematicallyCan be used at all levels & in all areas of education
2 Formal Research vs. Action Research Skills neededGoalsHow the research problem is identifiedLiterature reviewSelection of participantsResearch designData collectionData analysisApplication of resultsIt is to be noted that these components exist in both formal research and action research. The goals and the process for identifying the research problem are the two components in action research that vary a bit from “formal research.” In general, they are similar. In action research, though, the goals are more focused on problem solving and the enhancement of professional practice. The goals of “formal research” lean more toward contributing to the body of knowledge in the field, in addition to contributing to the enhancement of practice.Both “formal research” and Action Research use quantitative and qualitative designs and data collection and analysis strategies. It is important for the Action Researcher to understand both families of research in order to conduct Action Research appropriately, and to understand and be able to analysis and apply the literature reviewed.
3 Skills Needed General research skills: Ability to design research Ability to develop instrumentsAbility to select subjects (if necessary)Ability to collect dataAbility to analyze dataThese skills are needed in both “formal research” and action research.
4 Goals Goals… Overall goal should be to solve a problem Include collaborationProfessional developmentEnhance professional practiceThese goals are specific to action research, but can also be applied as “sub goals” to “formal research.”
5 Identifying the Problem First, select a general idea or area of focus:should involve teaching and learningshould be within your locus of controlshould be something you feel passionate aboutshould be something you would like to change or improveThis process if specific to action research, but can be helpful in “formal research,” as well.
6 Identifying the Problem Second, do Reconnaissance:Explore your understanding of theories, your educational values, how your work fits into the larger context of schooling, the historical context of your school, the history of the development of your ideas about teaching and learningDescribe the Who, What, When & Where of the situation you want to changeExplain the Why of the situationThis is the step of clarifying your area of focus. When it comes to the “Why” of the situation, you will likely be trying out a few hypotheses about the situation. This is where reviewing the literature becomes absolutely critical. This is where you may find potential promising practices that may correct the problem you are addressing.
7 Proactive Action Research A new practice is tried to bring improved outcomesHopes & concerns are incorporatedData are collected regularly to track changesReflection on alternatives takes placeAnother practice is triedProcess begins again
8 Responsive Action Research Data collected to diagnose situationData analyzed for themes & ideasData distributed & changes to be tried announcedNew practice triedReactions checkedData collected to diagnoseProcess begins again
9 The Process of Action Research Identify the problem; select an area of focus.Review the related research literature.Collect the data.Organize, analyze & interpret the data.Take the action (apply the findings).
10 Overview Identify the problem or area Review related research literatureCollect dataOrganize, analyze& interpretTake action;apply findings
11 Identify the Problem Select the Area of Focus Determine & describe the current situationDiscussNegotiateExplore opportunitiesAssess possibilitiesExamine constraintsThe researcher first assesses the existing situation. Through discussion and negotiation, one can narrow the focus of the research to the salient elements to be studied. Opportunities and resources for data collection and analysis should be examined, as should potential limitations in the environment. The result of these activities should be the concrete identification of what is to be the focus of the action research.
12 Review the Related Literature Become familiar with other research done on the area of focusUtilize the findings of others to help develop the planApply research findings through the lens of others’ experienceIt’s true that all research requires the foundation of prior research. Research often suggests theory, which can then be tested for its relevance to reality. The more one knows about the area of focus, the more precise will be the action research to be conducted.
13 Collect the DataUsing a variety of data collection strategies, gather information that will contribute to the findingsTriangulateData should be analyzed as it is collectedThe literature reviewed and the definition of the area of focus should help the researcher determine what data is to be collected. In Action Research, there are always multiple sources of data, multiple kinds of data, and multiple strategies for collecting data (triangulation).
14 Organize, Analyze & Interpret the Data As the data is collected, it is also continually organized & analyzedAs new perspectives are gained on the original area of focus, the problem statement may changeInterpretation is based on ongoing analysis & continually reviewing the area of focus
15 Take Action; Apply Findings Draw conclusions from the data analyzedTranslate conclusions into actions or behaviorsPlan how to implement the actions or behaviorsDo it!
16 Planning Action Research Write an area-of-focus statement.Define the variables.Develop research questions.Describe the intervention or innovation.Describe the action research group.Describe the negotiations that need to happen.Develop a timeline.Develop a statement of resources.Develop data collection ideas.Put action plan into action.These are the specific steps that you would take to plan out your action research.
17 Area-of-Focus Statement Identifies the purpose of the studyIdentifies the anticipated outcomeIdentifies the problem to be addressedCompletes the statement: “The purpose of this study is…”
18 Define the VariablesWrite definitions of exactly what you will address.Definitions should accurately represent what factors, contexts & variables mean to you.Be clear about what is being studied, so that you know it when you see it!
19 The Research Questions Develop questions that “breathe life” into the area-of-focus statement.Research questions should be open-ended!Research questions help give a focus to the plan.They also help validate that you have a workable plan.
20 Intervention or Innovation Describe your proposed solution to the initial problem.This is just a statement about what you will do to address the teaching and learning issue you have identified.In “formal research” this would be the experimental treatment.
21 The Action Research Group Who will you be working with?Why is each member important to the study?What will be the roles & responsibilities of each member?
22 Negotiations What permissions will you need to secure? Who will be in control of the focus of your study (hopefully, you!)?Who needs to be notified of what?Whose cooperation do you need & how will you get it?
23 Develop a Timeline This is the essence of planning! Anticipate where & how your study will take place.Anticipate how long each step will take.Apply predicted time frames to a calendar.
24 Statement of Resources What will you need to carry out your study?Resources include time, money, and materials.Make a list before you get started!
25 Data Collection Ideas First, decide what kinds of data you will need. Then, determine what kind of access you have to the data.Then, decide how you will gather it.Brainstorm what data naturally occurs in the environment you are studying.
26 Put the Action Plan into Action From your analysis of the data you collected, you should have elements and ideas you can apply to a plan.Formulate the plans in collaboration with the Action Research Group.Go for it!
27 Validity of Action Research Validity: the degree to which scientific observations actually measure or record what they purport to measure (Pelto & Pelto, 1978, p. 33)Assessing trustworthinessAssessing understandingValidity in quantitative research refers to accuracy of measurement and ability to generalize results. Of prime consideration in qualitative research is accuracy of measurement. New language – trustworthiness and understanding – is more applicable and appropriate to qualitative research. Since Action Research uses qualitative designs and strategies moreso than quantitative, looking at the validity of Action Research in terms of the trustworthiness of the data and understanding, makes more sense. There are several major theorists whose concepts of validity applied to qualitative and Action Research are important to consider. Our focus will be on Action Research.
28 Criteria for Assessing Validity Anderson, Herr & Nihlen:Democratic validity – require accurate representa-tion of multiple perspectives of all subjectsOutcome validity – requires that action emerging from a study lead to successful resolution of problem being studiedProcess validity – requires that study be conduc-ted in dependable & competent wayCatalytic validity – requires that subjects are moved to take actionDialogic validity – requires application of a peer review processApplying language like trustworthiness and understanding to the validity of Action Research provides us the opportunity to make sure that our work meets professional standards. Anderson, Herr and Nihlen have offered these criteria as a systematic way to assess the quality of Action Research.Democratic validity: Make sure “the problems emerge from a particular context and solutions are appropriate to that context” (Cunningham, 1983, p. 30). One way to do so is to involve teachers and administrators in a collaborative effort with subjects. Collaboration is essential to Action Research.Outcome validity: the study can be considered valid if the results lead to the research learning something that can be applied to the subsequent research cycle.Process validity: be vigilant in reflecting on the suitability of data collection strategies and modify the strategies if the data is not addressing the research questions.Catalytic validity: very simply, the results should be a catalyst to taking some action to resolve the original problem.Dialogic validity: more collaboration! Seeking the input of colleagues and peers establishes how “good” the research is (similar to peer review in traditional publications).
29 So, ask yourself… Democratic validity: Have the perspectives of all of the individuals in the study been accurately represented?Outcome validity:Did the action emerging from the study lead to the successful resolution of the problem?
30 So, ask yourself… Process validity: Was the study conducted in a dependable & competent manner?Catalytic validity:Were the results of the study a catalyst for action?Dialogic validity:Was the study reviewed by peers?
31 Strategies for Meeting the Criteria Talk Little, Listen a lot!Begin Writing Early!Let Readers “See” for ThemselvesReport FullyBe CandidSeek FeedbackWrite Accurately(Wolcott, 1994)