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Action Research

Research Approaches and Methods


(MEd608)

Associate Prof. Dr. Subadrah Nair


Types of action research
Practical action research
Participatory action research
Practical Participatory
Studying local practices Studying social issues that
constrain individual lives

Involving individuals or Emphasizing equal


team-based inquiry collaboration

Focussing on teacher Focusing on life-enhancing


development and student changes
learning
Practical Participatory
Implementing plan of action Resulting in the
emancipated researcher
Leading to the teacher as
researcher
Action research is making a significant impact in many
professional contexts, particularly in teachers
classroom teaching. Carr and Kemmis (1986) defined
action research as:
Action research is simply a form of self-reflective
enquiry undertaken by participants in social situations
in order to improve the rationality and justice of their
own practices, their understanding of these practices,
and the situations in which the practices are carried
out(p. 162).
Lewin coined the term action research in 1944 and in
1946, he described action research as a comparative
research on the condition of effects of various forms of
social action and research leading to social action.
He also stressed that action research uses a spiral of
steps, each of which is composed of a circle of planning,
action and fact-finding about the result of the action.
McNiff (1988) and Lomax (1994) concluded that
action research is educational research. McNiff
(1988) stressed that:
Action research implies adopting a deliberate
openness to new experiences and processes, and
as such demands that the action of educational
research is itself educational. By consciously
engaging in their own educational development,
teachers gain both professionally and personally,
and it is this personal commitment that counts in
the process of human enquiry (p.9).
Bogdan and Biklen (1992) offered a broader view of
action research as the systematic collection of
information that is designed to bring about social
change.
Elliot (1991) in his discussion on action research
developed his own interpretation of action research as a
form of teacher professional development and reflective
practices.
Reason and Bradbury (2001) defined action research as
an interactive inquiry process that balances problem
solving actions implemented in a collaborative context
with data-driven collaborative analysis or research to
understand underlying causes enabling future
predictions about personal and organizational change.
Diagram 1: Spiral Steps in Action Research (Kemmis and
McTaggart, 1988).

PLANNING

REFLECTING
ACTING

OBSERVING
Planning
This stage involves identify the problem and problem
analysis before drawing up a strategic plan of action.
List down all your strategic plans
Acting
This stage involves the implementation of the strategic
plan. Flexibility, negotiations and compromise may be
necessary in implementing the plan.
Observing
Observation is about documenting the effects of
critically informed action by using appropriate methods
and techniques. Observation must be guided by the
intent to provide a sound basis for critical self- reflection
with practitioners. Observation data may come from a
professional journal, case study notes, reports, test
papers, check lists, meeting records, interviews,
surveys, etc.

Reflecting
This stage involves the researcher reflecting on the
results of the evaluation as well as on the way the
whole action research process went on. Reflection is
usually aided by discussion amongst participants.
Action research reinforce these
trends:
Encourage change in the schools.
Fosters a democratic ( involvement of teachers/
individuals) approach to education.
Empowers teachers/individuals through collaboration on
projects.
Positions teachers and other educators as learners who
seek to narrow the gap between practice and their
vision of education.
Encourage educators to reflect on their practices
Promotes a process of testing new ideas
Data collection techniques
Experiencing/observation
Enquiring
Examining
Experiencing/ observation and field
note
Participant observation ( active participant)
Privileged active observer
Passive observer
Enquiring
Informal interview
Structured formal interview
Questionnaires
Attitude scales- Likert
Standard test
Examining ( using and making
records)
Archival documents
Journals
Maps
Audio and videotapes
Artifacts
Field-notes
Chapter 1
Introduction
Problem statement
Research objectives
Research questions
Significance of the study
Limitation if the study
Operational definition of key terms
Summary
Chapter 2-Literature review
Introductiojn
Theoretical framework
Related literature
Summary
Methodology
Introduction
Research design
Conceptual framework
Sampling
Instruments
Research procedure
Data analysis
Chapter 4- Findings
Data analysis and findings
Answer all the research questions
Discussion and Interpretation
Discuss findings
Relate to findings from other studies and theories.
Significance of the study
Implication-theoretical, pedagogical and practical
Recommendation
Conclusion