3 ACTION RESEARCH Group 1 – Assignment 2 Chloe WeaverNarelle WebbRebecca WheldonDallas WolfEmily WeightChloe Weaver Narelle WebbBec WheldonDallas WolfEmily Weight
4 Purpose - What is Action Research? Action Research is a collaborative method ofPlanningTaking actionCollecting dataAnalysingReflectionAction research is a process of REFLECTION in which researchers take an INVOLVED role in the process of problem solving and implementing change.The primary goal is to improve the community’s performance quality, either as a whole or in the area of current concern through a collaborative method . Action Research is a collaborative method comprising of the following 4 stages: planning, taking action, collecting and analysing evidence and finally reflecting on what has been achieved.It is not just a form of research, to be followed by hopeful action; it is instead, action that is researched, changed and then re-researched, within the research process by participants.“Action research is a term which refers to a practical way of looking at your own work to check that it is as you would like it to be. Because action research is done by you, the practitioner, it is often referred to as practitioner based research; and because it involves you thinking about and reflecting on your work, it can also be called a form of self-reflective practice. The idea of self reflection is central. In traditional forms of research – empirical research – researchers do research on other people. In action research, researchers do research on themselves. Empirical researchers enquire into other people’s lives. Action researchers enquire into their own” (McNiff 2002).
5 (Image Diagrams of Action Research, n.d) Kurt Lewin is credited as the person who coined the term ‘action research’ in the 1940’s. Kurt Lewin was social psychologist and educator who’s approach to research 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’.Action Research, simply put, is the reoccurring cycle to better, or rectify a situation:to plan, act and reflect, then observe.At the core of action research is increasing the understanding of how change in one’s actions or practices can mutually benefit a community and improve an area of concern. In regards to education, action research involves investigations by teachers, and/ or higher authorities with the prime aim of improving the outcomes of students.(Image Diagrams of Action Research, n.d)
6 Methodology – The Cyclical Process The cyclical process ofPlan Act Evaluate:1. Selecting a focus2. Clarifying Theories3. Identifying research questions4. Collecting Data5. Analyzing Data6. Reporting results7. Taking informed action(Leading the Digital Education Revolution –Image, n.d)Selecting a focus for improvement is imperative in order to achieve a positive result, without a goal, there is no way of measuring and drawing upon what your practicing.Clarifying theories amongst the group of researchers ( if participating solo, revisit your own) of all values and beliefs. This will allow any data found to be clear of any unethical practice. For example, students should not be used as case study’s if the research includes disciplines that would not normally be practiced.Identifying research questions is the group/individuals next step. Once all grey area’s involving ethics, morals and beliefs are cleared up, a set of questions need to be developed that will assist in generating measurable results.Collecting data may seem tedious and even daunting. But in actual fact, a classroom is laden with data. Any given research needs to be taken meticulously as to not overlook or misinterpret any aspect of the research. This is important as practitioners will not want to make any judgements or draw any conclusions based on false readings (data collection). Once findings are concluded, before practicing on a class, teachers must ensure that any lesson plans meet the expectation of institutional guidelines. It is also important that teachers be aware that any conclusions and lessons drawn from findings realistically may not suit their students. Especially if research was conducted on the same students, they will have already been exposed to the research and therefore give the practitioner a inaccurate reading.This is when a procedure known as triangulation occurs. This eliminates any discrepancies from the research whilst analysing it for validity. Researchers dissect any particular finding and test it to ensure it is viable to use in the classroom environment.They then proceed with Analysing the Data. This can be carried out quite simplistically, with the practitioner asking themselves a couple of easy questions whilst drawing on findings. Firstly, what conclusion is evident in findings throughout the research and secondly, why did the findings occur in the sequence they did. These two questions will allow the teacher to better understand the topic whilst illustrating obvious improvement techniques.Reporting results not only benefits the institution in remaining consistent with continuous improvement, but also provides a type of solace for your fellow colleagues. Teaching has been known to be a lonely profession; any headway made with practical research normally is conversed during yard duty or a quick bite in the staff room. Luckily now, seminars and conferences are held in which teachers from all over the country attend to hear such action research projects unveiled.Taking informed action or ‘Action Planning’ is the development of lesson plans. The great significance with this step is the teachers (practitioners) ability to feel empowered and confident with what they are delivering. Because the teacher has been so heavily involved in the topic, they feel comfortable that it has been tested and tried for discrepancies. They are not waiting to find out that they have problems with the topic, but yet they are aware of what problems can occur, therefore preventing them and encouraging a more fruitful lesson.
7 Methodology – The Principle of Triangulation Triangulation is a technique used in the process of data collection. It assists the researcher in cross-referencing and analysing the results of a number of different data sources, thus ensuring more accurate results are achieved.As the above diagram would suggest, the researcher has selected 3 key areas of data collection, including; observations, analysis of work and direct interviewing. Using this technique facilitates the use of a number of different data collection methods, however a sensible approach is suggested as too many will only create confusion for both the researcher and audience.(Image Diagrams of Triangulation, n.d)
8 Methodology – The Principle of Triangulation Research questionDo my students perform moreeffectively when working ingroup environments?Data collection methodsObservation of interactionsAnalyses of children’s workInterview with children“The concept suggests that using multiple sources is not a search for truth, but rather a search for clarity on the perspective we each bring to data and its analysis.” (Holly, Arhar ,Kasten, 2005, pg 215)Above is an example of how and when a teacher may use this in his or her classroom.The teacher wishes to determine whether or not her students performances are improved when working in groups as opposed to as an individual.This question is represented by a ? on the diagram.In this case she has used the Triangulation technique by assigning each point on the diagram with a data collection method. Each point is considered to be equally of importance and should be treated as such, in both the collection and analysis stages.The 3 methods used here are;Observation of interactionsAnalyses of children's workInterview with childrenOn completion of the observations, analysis and interviews the teacher must now cross-reference the data collected. In using 3 separate sources in her research as opposed to one, the teacher can have a far more greater confidence in the strength and accuracy of the results than if only one method had been used. This also significantly increases the perceived credibility of your findings.
9 Methodology - Types of Action Research Collaborative Action ResearchWhat: The study of educational issuesWho: Multiple researchers with collaborationbetween schools, educators and administrators.Critical Action ResearchWhat: The review of social issuesWho: University researchers, schooladministrators, teachers and community members.There are four types of action research, these include;Collaborative Action Research, has a focus on the many educational issues that impact the community as a whole and is usually conducted by multiple researchers in collaboration with different schools, teachers and administrative staff.Critical Action Research is the review of social issues that have a direct effect on education and the community in general, this may include; gender, ethnicity and social class issues. The research is performed by university researchers, school administrators, teachers and community members.
10 Methodology - Types of Action Research Classroom Action ResearchWhat: Improvements within the classroom .Who: Individual classroom teachers.Participatory Action ResearchWhat: Investigating real life issues.Who: Any number of members within the generalcommunity.Classroom Action Research, centres on improvements in the classroom specifically and may include classroom problems, challenges and ways to improve the delivery of lesson plans etc. This is generally initiated by the classroom teacher.Participatory Action Research, is the investigation of real life issues in order for them to be altered, it is considered to be, highly critical with the results inducing significant changes which are driven and will benefit those within the community.
11 Methodology - Action Research in Education In education, use action research toINFORM and CHANGESchool based curriculum developmentProfessional developmentSystems planningSchool restructuringEvaluative toolsKurt Lewin believed the motivation to change, was strongly related to action. He said: “If people are active in decisions affecting them, they are more likely to adopt new ways.”In education, Action Research is a disciplined inquiry with the intent that it will INFORM and CHANGE practices.Primarily the role of the teacher and educating staff, practice Active Research for;School based curriculum developmentProfessional developmentSystems planningSchool restructuringEvaluative tools“Action research emphasizes the involvement of teachers in problems in their own classrooms and has as its primary goal the in-service training and development of the teacher rather than the acquisition of general knowledge in the field of education.” (Borg, 1965)
12 For & Against Action Research PROS;Relevant & meaningfulDriven directly by those involvedStructured platform for improvementTools for ongoing developmentOwnership of research outcomesCONS;Researcher biasResults not able to be generalisedThe pure nature of Action Research lends itself to achieving results which are both relevant and meaningful. With the subject matter and focus being driven directly by those that will most benefit.Provides a structured platform to implement improvement strategiesResearch may highlight additional problem areas not previously considered, supporting the need for future action research projects and continuing the focus on ongoing improvement strategiesPromotes ownership within those who have contributed, significantly, increasing the likelihood of success and ongoing reflection and improvementConsAction research is carried out by individuals who are interested parties in the research. Action Research has been accused of inevitable researcher bias in data gathering and analysis.The results of the research are specific to the exact nature and situation in which the research is conducted.
13 Why to use Action Research 3 reasons for Action Researchto PROMOTE personal and professional growthto IMPROVE practice to enhance studentlearningto ADVANCE the teaching professionBefore Action Research, teachers were in one form or another constantly reflecting and evaluating how they could make improvements in their role. The practice of Action research has allowed this process to be more formalised and provides a more supportive platform for implementing suggesting improvements.Through researching initial subject matter, one may find themselves uncovering many more areas which require evaluation, creating the need for future research projects.All participants are more likely to embrace the changes resulting from the research if they themselves have had the opportunity to take part in the process.The benefits are the result of the 3 primary reasons for which action research takes place;to PROMOTE personal and professional growth,to IMPROVE practice to enhance student learning andto ADVANCE the teaching profession. (Johnson, 1995)
14 Digital Education Revolution NSW Case Study 1Digital Education Revolution NSWThe introduction of Laptops into NSW classrooms has allowed teachers to explore and develop current pedagogiesEnabling educators to align with 21st century thinkingOffers another tool for the classroom, whereboth teachers and students benefitGreater collaborative learningCreation of knowledge throughtechnological engagementThe Digital Education Revolution is facilitating not just a technological revolution but also an educational revolution. It has provided the momentum for school leaders to work with their school communities to explore new pedagogies, modify and adapt old pedagogies, address the issues of 21st century thinking and evaluate ‘ the look of classrooms’. NSW DET. 2009
15 ‘What the World could be..’ Case Study 2‘What the World Is’ &‘What the World could be..’Improvement in teaching English to ESL studentsin NSWOutcome:The school students developed their English and their understanding of how to learnTheir teachers developed new ways of thinking about supporting their students’ learningThe teacher educators worked with a new model of teacher in-serviceAction research is used throughout Australian educational systems, and is not uncommon to be used in the process of teaching English to students of other languages, ESL students. The South-West metropolitan region of Sydney, NSW has the highest percentage of students in the state, and in 2003 a program was run for teachers to progress from ‘what the world is’ to what ‘the world could be’, whilst deciphering a technology for this change. Based on the 3 main assumption of ESL learning, the group decided on 3 objectives of their research;To trial a sandwich model of teacher in-service education, in the hope those teachers who worked in different schools would have the opportunity to experience the advantage of collaborative discussion.To introduce some specific new material on learning strategies, thinking skills and study skills.To trial a focused mode of action research to see how useful the specific input would be in simulating action research projects.After a 4 day course, involving discussions, workshops, reviews and two cycles of plan – act and observe – reflect, these 3 outcomes were achieved, through 3 levels of learning.The school students developed their English and their understanding of how to learnTheir teachers developed new ways of thinking about supporting their students’ learningThe teacher educators worked with a new model of teacher in-service
16 Value - Student Benefits Teaching improves – learning outcomes improveStudents ‘collaborate’ to create learning environmentStronger student/teacher relationshipModernised classroomfacilities/resourcesand lessons plansStudents will greatly benefit from having a teacher who actively engages in Action Research. These benefits are presented through more effective and up to date lesson plans and having a teacher who is more invested in the lessons that they themselves have extensively developed.Stronger relationships between teachers and students are formed, through working closely together and giving students the opportunity to be involved with improvement strategies that directly effect them.Teacher develops up to date lesson plans and introduces modern and technologically advanced resources.
17 Value - Educator Benefits Builds a reflective practitionerMaking progress of school wide prioritiesBuilding professional culturesTeacher Benefits:Conducted in the classroomResearch directly benefits teachersMore effective educatorsIncreased knowledge basePeer resourcesAlways conducted withinprofessional & ethical guidelinesAction research can be executed by teachers whether in a group setting or simply as a sole mission to achieve positive continuous improvement within the classroom. No matter how many (or little) people are involved, the same cyclical process will be carried out, Plan = Act = Evaluate = Reflect = (Reflect = Act = Evaluate). Contemporary teachers practicing action research are all focused on three main purposes;1. Building the reflective practitioner. When a teacher gathers results from a class and reflects upon this to utilise for the next days class, they are actively adhering to a teachers oath to continually strengthen class materials. This shows a high level of integrity and commitment by such teaching practitioners.2. making progress on school wide priorities. More and more school faculties are building pedagogy around a positive educational focal point that will in turn portray the institution as a national leader in any particular focus, such as higher test scores, or positive thinking. So not only do the groups of teachers develop teaching techniques, but together as a group display significant efforts in striving towards a common goal.3. Building professional cultures. It’s not uncommon for practitioners of the same institution to have different focuses on educational research then the next practitioner, but what is important is that these teachers alike have a shared interest in a well educated student. In fact, the more action research happening simultaneously demonstrates an institution of educators all committed to continuous educational improvement.By simply being involved in action research a teacher’s knowledge base and skill level will increase through expanding their current understanding of topics researched. They are able to conduct the research in their own classrooms, and are free to decide how to gather & disseminate their evidence. The results directly affect the teacher and their class, providing more motivation to utilise Active Research as a tool in the classroom. The results also have an ongoing effect within the entire community and will further benefit even those teachers not directly involved in the initial research via the results and outcomes that are shared. Through action research teachers are able to take a more active role in producing more valuable and effective learning experiences for their students, and manipulate their lessons, behaviour, knowledge etc accordingly to best fit their own unique classroom environment.Throughout all undertakings of action research, teachers must maintain professionalism and follow ethical guidelines and school, educational policies.Action Research encourages the participation of fellow staff members and students. Through this approach, one can be more confident that outcomes have been achieved through analysing and considering a number of points of view, achieving a more balanced and well rounded result for all.Staff who have not been directly involved in the research process will still benefit, firstly by gaining knowledge through having the process and results presented for discussion and secondly by having the improvement strategy implemented throughout the school. Teachers become more effective when given the opportunity to formally evaluate their own work and consequently construct and implement improvement strategies . The very act of participating in Action Research will assist in the building of valuable relationships within the school and the community as a whole.
18 Value – Simplicity of process Teacher initiates and facilitatesFocus remains on required outcomesFlexibility in data gathering methodsCan be done with one or many participantsThe process of action research is flexible and can be easily managed, allowing the focus to remain on required outcomes.There are many data sourcing methods that can be used, allowing the flexibility to select the most practical and effective approach.The collection of data can be done through the involvement of one student or the whole class depending on what is most appropriate and in turn not restricting the researcher when many subjects are not available.
19 and self-creative whole” “Wherever scientists look and whatever they look at, they see nature acting and evolving not as a collection of independent parts, but as an integrated, interacting, self-consistent,and self-creative whole”(Reason, & Bradbury, n.d.)
21 ReferencesImage Diagrams of Action Research.[Image] (n.d). Georgia Southern University. Retrieved 23rd September 2009 from Lewin, K. (1958). Group Decision and Social Change. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. Sagor, R. (2000). Guiding school improvement with action research. United States: Association for supervision and curriculum development. Borg, W. (1981). Applying educational research: A practical guide for teachers. New York: Longman. Watts, H. (1985). When teachers are researchers, teaching improves. Journal of Staff Development, 6 (2), Johnson, B.M. (1995). Why conduct action research? Teaching and Change,1, The Qld Department of Education and Training, (2008). Advantages of action research in schools. Retrieved October 30th, 2009, A Guide to Action Research. (2009). Retrieved October 10, 2009, from McLean, James. (1995). IMPROVING EDUCATION THROUGH ACTION RESEARCH: A GUIDE FOR ADMINISTRATORS AND TEACHERS. The Practicing Administrator's Leadership Series: Roadmaps to Success. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. ED Digital Education Revolution. (2009). Retrieved October 20, 2009 from
22 References Con’tPerrett, G. (2003). Teacher Development Through Action Research. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, Vol 27, No. 2. Retrieved November 2nd 2009 from Dr Stephen Waters-Adams S Waters-Adams, Action Research in Education (Image), Faculty of Education, University of Plymouth, 2006 Retrieved October 22nd 2009 from Action research projects John Canning Subject Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies, Retrieved October 22nd 2009 from Barry, K. & King, L. (1998). Beginning Teaching and Beyond. (3rd ed.). Katoomba: Social Science Press. Leading the digital Education Revolution [Image] (2009). Retrieved October 10, 2009, From Reason, P., and Bradbury, H. (n.d) Handbook of Action Research: Parcipitative Inquiry and Practice. Retrieved October 29, 2009 from Leading the Digital Education Revolution – Action Research. [Image]. (n.d.)Retrieved October 29 from McNiff, J. (2002) Action Research for Professional Development: Concise Advice for new Action Researchers. Retrieved October 29 from