What is Action Research? Unit 1

What is Action
Unit 1
Action research is:
A. Practitioner driven
B. Done to improve one’s own practices
C. Personal
D. Part of your daily work
E. Professional growth
F. Dynamic
BRIEF History of AR:
 1950 by Steven Corey
 1970s and 1980s English and Australians
 1990s Educators in this country
 Presently flourishing with many variations
Why do Action Research?
 Explore and improve ones own educational
 NOT to contribute to the general knowledge
base in education. .
 Not done for judgment of others.
 Passion
 See how students are different because of
what you do.
 Accountability
 Be a better counselor
Six basic steps in the action
research process.
1. Action Research Step - The Question
2. Action Research Step - The Plan
3. Action Research Step - Collecting Data
4. Action Research Step – Findings
5. Action Research Step - Analyzing the Data
6. Action Research Step - Taking Action
I. The Question
 The driving force of the action research process.
 Determines the design of the project.
 The following are characteristics of the question:
 The question identifies the area of inquiry or study.
 The question focuses on the action strategy or counseling practice
that the action researcher is studying.
 The question describes who is being studied.
 The question also describes the anticipated changes or outcomes
that implementing the action strategy may have on the
people/person being studied by the educator.
 The inquiry question is not formed so that you receive a positive or
negative answer. For example, does .....? Will X ..........?
 The question is designed to provide you with rich and meaningful
"descriptions". For example, what is the influence of X on .......?
Question Examples:
Example A--The Question
How will using daily journal writing effect my third grade
self- esteem group’s attitudes about themselves?
Example B---The Question
What is the influence of peer mediators on office
referrals during third grade recess?
Example C Your turn…………………..
II. The Plan
The plan is a direct result of and follows the direction of
the question. The action research plan focuses on the
gathering of information or data needed to answer the
question. The following items characterize the action
research plan:
The plan, “data source”
Ethical precautions
The Plan –Example A
Example A--The Action Research Plan
Question: How will using daily journal writing affect the students’ attitudes about themselves in my third grade
self- esteem group?
Data sources: students, counselor, and the teacher.
1) A student survey- used before and after the implementation of the intervention.
Used to explore the student’s attitudes about journaling.
2) Teacher interview –investigate the change in perceived student attitudes and behavior regarding themselves
3) Personal reflection from counselor- any apparent self-esteem change seen in the students’
4) Student journals – any apparent self-esteem change seen in the students’ journal entries
8 week group starting 10/10/06;
Journaling everyday for two months
Interviews pre and post group
Personal reflection taken post group
As district policy requires, permission from parents and student will be required for students to start the group.
Permission from students will be gained proior to reading the journals. Teacher will be notified of action
research project and their requested participation.
-The Plan Example B
Question: What is the influence of peer mediators on office referrals during third
grade recess?
Data sources: Office referral tally sheet; mediator reports; Vice Principal’s report on
dealing with referrals.
1) Office referral tally sheet--use this as a before and after the intervention to see a
numerical change in number of referrals sent to the office during this recess period.
2) Mediator Reports—read the reports to see how many interventions are had daily
and the content of the related interventions.
3) Interview the VP every 3 months to attain a qualitative report on any change in
Assess each month for the remainder (10/2006-6/2006) of the school year to see
longitudinal effect.
Alert VP of my desire to interview him and gain his permission prior to the
III. Collecting Data
 Gather information
 Monitor your data.
 Revise as needed.
Collecting Data- Example A
Example A
 Question: How will using daily journal writing
affect the students’ attitudes about themselves
in my third grade self- esteem group?
 Collecting and monitoring data:
 Review journals mid way through the group to
see if the students’ entries contain any selfreflection. Look for themes and patterns in the
Collecting Data- Example B
 Example B
 Question: What is the degree of implementation of our
new school wide discipline policy for each teacher and
how effective does each teacher feel the policy is?
 Collecting and monitoring data:
 Survey teachers on their implementation and beliefs of
 Look for themes and patterns in the answers. If
implementation rates are very low, the researcher may
want to change the research question to find-out why
the implementation is low.
IV. Findings
 Characteristics
Organizing the data or information is very important.
There are several ways to organize the data into
Counts instances, events and artifacts
Descriptive statistics.
Inferential statistics (not often in AR)
In the case of numbers, the findings can be presented in tables
or charts.
 Themes or common ideas.
 Report the findings.
Findings -Organizing Data
Example A
 Example A---Theme 1: Essence of student
journaling was more positive.
 Theme 2: Students journal entries included
description of positive social interaction for the
 Student’s average score on the list of “Things
I’m Good At” raised from 1.5 to 4 on a scale of
Findings -Organizing Data
Example B
Beliefs about Effectiveness
Very effective for my 5
Somewhat effective
for my needs
Not effective for my
V. The Analysis
 Data that provides contrary information to your
question - VERY acceptable.
 Hiding such data- VERY unethical.
 Not be limited to "yes" or "no" answers
 “Question" the findings and
 Question your data sources
 Focus on the relationship of the results to the
review of the literature.
 Implications for changes in practice or further
action as a result of the findings.
Analysis –Example A & B
Example A--The Analysis
The findings indicated that initial student resistance to journaling was nonexistent. Their initial writings were focused on negative aspects of their
day or life, however with time the entries included more neutral or positive
writing. The student questionnaires indicated that each student left the
group feeling that she was good at more things.
Example B--The Analysis
The data we collected from the office referral tally sheet showed a
decrease in referrals since the implementation of peer mediators. The
mediator’s reports indicated they were meeting with numerous students
and most of the interventions ended with a “solution”. Finally, the report
from the VP indicated there were less referrals to address.
VI. Taking Action
 Once an educator's understanding is deepened
through the action research process, the
individual then can make informed decisions
about further "action strategies" to implement.
The action research steps are repeated with a
new "action strategy", question, and inquiry
Taking Action- Ex. A & B
 Example A
The activities in this group did increase the self esteem of these
girls. With a higher level of general self- concept these students
are ready to be challenged with the requirements of the social and
academic life of their classroom. Journaling was an effective tool
to measure this change and could be used to monitor these
students through the year in order to be proactive in guiding them.
 Example B
Will students continue to need these mediators or will the number
of mediator interaction reports decrease with time? Furthermore,
are the students learning new skills or is it an issue of attention?
Are these skills transferable?