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Chapter 18

Action Research Designs

John W. Creswell
Educational Research: Planning, Conducting, and Evaluating
Quantitative and Qualitative Research, third edition

Copyright © 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc.


Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458
All rights reserved.
18.2

By the end of this chapter,


you should be able to:
 Define the purposes and uses of action
research
 Describe types of action research designs
 Identify key characteristics of action
research
 Describe the steps in conducting an
action research study
 List criteria for evaluating an action
research study
John W. Creswell
Educational Research: Planning, Conducting,
and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative
Research,
Copyright © 2008 bythird edition
Pearson Education, Inc.
Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458
All rights reserved.
18.3

What Is Action Research?


Action research is systematic inquiry done
by teachers (or other individuals in an
educational setting) to gather information
about, and subsequently improve, the
ways their particular educational setting
operates, how they teach, and how well
their students learn (Mills, 2000).

John W. Creswell
Educational Research: Planning, Conducting,
and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative
Research,
Copyright © 2008 bythird edition
Pearson Education, Inc.
Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458
All rights reserved.
18.4

When Do You Use Action Research?

 When you have an educational problem


to solve
 When educators want to reflect on their
own practices
 When you want to address schoolwide
problems
 When teachers want to improve their
practices
 When educators want to participate in a
research project
John W. Creswell
Educational Research: Planning, Conducting,
and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative
Research,
Copyright © 2008 bythird edition
Pearson Education, Inc.
Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458
All rights reserved.
18.5

How Action Research


Developed
2000s
Teacher and school inquiries
(teacher-initiated
research studies)

1990s School-based
Professional inquiry by
site councils
teachers (self-study)
(school
1980s committees)

1970s In-service days (teacher


staff-development activities)

John W. Creswell
Movement Toward Action Research
Educational Research: Planning, Conducting,
and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative
Research,
Copyright © 2008 bythird edition
Pearson Education, Inc.
Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458
All rights reserved.
18.6

Types of Action Research


Designs Action Research

Practical Participatory

•Studying local practices •Studying social issues


Involving individual or team- that constrain individual lives
based inquiry •Emphasizing “equal”
•Focusing on teacher development and collaboration
student learning •Focusing on “life-enhancing
•Implementing a plan of action changes”
•Leading to the teacher-as-researcher •Resulting in the emancipated
John W. Creswell
researcher
Educational Research: Planning, Conducting,
and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative
Research,
Copyright © 2008 bythird edition
Pearson Education, Inc.
Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458
All rights reserved.
Mills (2000) Dialectic Research
18.7

Spiral

Identify an
Area of Focus

Develop an
Collect Data
Action Plan

Analyze and
John W. Creswell
Interpret Data
Educational Research: Planning, Conducting,
and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative
Research,
Copyright © 2008 bythird edition
Pearson Education, Inc.
Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458
All rights reserved.
Features of
18.8

Participatory Action Research


 Deliberate exploration of a relationship between
the individual and others
 Participatory: People conduct studies on
themselves
 Practical and collaborative
 Emancipatory (challenges procedures)
 Helps individuals free themselves from constraints
found in media, language, work procedures, and
power relationships
 Reflexive or dialectical: Focused on bringing about
change in practices

John W. Creswell
Educational Research: Planning, Conducting,
and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative
Research,
Copyright © 2008 bythird edition
Pearson Education, Inc.
Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458
All rights reserved.
18.9

Stringer’s (1999) Action


Research
 Think Interacting Spiral
 Look
 Act

John W. Creswell
Educational Research: Planning, Conducting,
and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative
Research,
Copyright © 2008 bythird edition
Pearson Education, Inc.
Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458
All rights reserved.
18.10

Key Characteristics of Action


Research
 A practical focus: Researchers study
practical issues that will have immediate
benefits to teachers, schools, and
communities.
 The educator-researcher’s own practices:
Self-reflective research by the educator-
researchers turns the lens on their own
educational classroom, school, or practices.
 Collaboration between stakeholders
John W. Creswell
Educational Research: Planning, Conducting,
and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative
Research,
Copyright © 2008 bythird edition
Pearson Education, Inc.
Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458
All rights reserved.
18.11

Collaboration
Students
Community
Teachers Stakeholders

Collaborative
Team

Parents
Staff

Administrators John W. Creswell


Educational Research: Planning, Conducting,
and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative
Research,
Copyright © 2008 bythird edition
Pearson Education, Inc.
Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458
All rights reserved.
18.12

Key Characteristics of Action


 Dynamic process
 Research
The process spirals back and forth among reflection,
data collection, and action
 Does not follow a linear pattern
 Does not follow a causal sequence from problem to
action
A plan of action
 The action researcher develops a plan of action
 Formal or informal—involve a few individuals or an
entire community
 May be presenting data to stakeholders, establishing a
pilot program, or exploring new practices

John W. Creswell
Educational Research: Planning, Conducting,
and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative
Research,
Copyright © 2008 bythird edition
Pearson Education, Inc.
Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458
All rights reserved.
18.13

Key Characteristics of Action


Research (cont’d)
 Sharing research
 Groups of stakeholders
 Local schools, educational personnel
 Local or state individuals
 Not specifically interested in publication, but in
sharing with individuals or groups who can
promote change

John W. Creswell
Educational Research: Planning, Conducting,
and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative
Research,
Copyright © 2008 bythird edition
Pearson Education, Inc.
Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458
All rights reserved.
18.14

Steps in Conducting Action


Research
1. Determine if action research is the best design
to use
2. Identify the problem to study
3. Locate resources to help address the problem
4. Identify the information you will need

John W. Creswell
Educational Research: Planning, Conducting,
and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative
Research,
Copyright © 2008 bythird edition
Pearson Education, Inc.
Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458
All rights reserved.
18.15

The Problem Is Only


One Phase in Which to Enter
Evaluating
Identifying Collecting Taking
Existing
“Problem” Data Action
Data

Point of Point of Point of Point of


Entry Entry Entry John W.Entry
Creswell
Educational Research: Planning, Conducting,
and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative
Research,
Copyright © 2008 bythird edition
Pearson Education, Inc.
Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458
All rights reserved.
18.16

Taxonomy of Action Research


Data Collection Techniques
Action Research
Data Collection Techniques
(The Three Es)
Examining
Experiencing Enquiring Using and making
Through observation When the researcher records
and fieldnotes asks Archival documents
Participant observation Informal interview Journals
(Active participant) Structured formal Maps
interview Audio and
Privileged, active Questionnaires videotapes
observer Attitude scales Artifacts
John W. Creswell
Educational
Standardized tests Research: Planning, Conducting,
Fieldnotes
Passive observer and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative
Research, third edition
Copyright © 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc.
Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458
All rights reserved.
18.17

Steps in Conducting Action


Research (cont’d)
5. Implement the data collection
6. Analyze the data
7. Develop a plan for action
8. Implement the plan and reflect

John W. Creswell
Educational Research: Planning, Conducting,
and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative
Research,
Copyright © 2008 bythird edition
Pearson Education, Inc.
Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458
All rights reserved.
18.18

 Does the project clearly address a problem or


Evaluating Action Research
issue in practice that needs to be solved?
 Did the action researcher collect sufficient data
to address the problem?
 Did the action researcher collaborate with
others during the study? Was there respect for
all collaborators?
 Did the plan of action advanced by the
researcher build logically from the data?
 Is there evidence that the plan of action
contributed to the researcher’s reflection as a
professional?
John W. Creswell
Educational Research: Planning, Conducting,
and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative
Research,
Copyright © 2008 bythird edition
Pearson Education, Inc.
Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458
All rights reserved.