What is Action Research?


As we approach our first face-to-face experience, there is a lot to plan and to get ready for. But this preparation is different than preparation for a conference, like OHASSTA, or for a staff meeting, or any other meeting. It’s different because the focus of Cohort 21 will be driven by you, the members.

One thing that we’ve been talking about is this notion of Action Research. That members of the cohort will partake in action research. We want you to reconsider what action research is. First, let’s look at a popular take on action research from: Essays on Teaching ExcellenceToward the Best in the Academy Vol. 14, No. 7, 2002-2003

  • Step 1: Identify a question. The question is significant to your classroom situation
  • Step 2: Review the literature. The information from these sources may help refine your question and choose your method of research.
  • Step 3: Plan a research strategy. Although a tightly controlled experimental design is usually impractical, you can use a quasi-experimental design such as comparing student outcomes from two sections of the same course.
  • Step 4: Collect data. This data could be quantitative (e.g. test scores, grades, survey results) or qualitative (e.g. dialogue from focus groups or class discussions)..
  • Step 5: Analyze data. The goal of data analysis is to look for patterns. If statistical tests are desired, Bruning and Kintz (1997) offer a very user-friendly guide.
  • Step 6: Take action based on results. Your research findings should inform your teaching decisions.
  • Step 7: Share your findings.

Whew…did you make it through?  What we want you to consider for Cohort 21 is personalizing this process and making it more of your own…The question you ask will help you find critical friends amongst us. The tools we are going to get with during the cohort will help you access and share your reflections and thoughts about what you are exploring. And our blog will help you publish your findings and results.

We want action research to be collaborative. We want your questions to be shared. We want your experiences to have fresh eyes. And most importantly, we want you to feel safe and supported to take risks within your area.

 

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Cohort 21