Action Research Model

Action Research model

What is Action Research?

  • Teachers and principals work best on problems they have identified themselves
  • Teachers and principals become more effective when encouraged to examine and assess their own work and the consider ways of working differently
  • Teachers and principals help each other by working collaboratively
  • Working with colleagues helps teachers and principals in their professional development

Steps in Action Research

  1. Identify – Problem, Question, Baseline Data, and Professional Development
  2. Plan – The Intervention, Assessment, and Time to Assess
  3. Collect Data
  4. Analyze Data
  5. Reflect – What was learned, what will be improved, and making improvements

Step 1: Identify A Problem Area

Developing a question:

  • Be a higher-order question – not a yes/no
  • Be stated in common language, avoiding jargon
  • Be concise
  • Be meaningful
  • Not already have an answer

Current Level of Performance

What can we learn about the problem area from our site?

What is the current status (baseline) before we change anything?

  •  Multiple sources for triangulation
  •  Find data to describe current practice and data that describes student status
  • Organize data for ease in uncovering trends and patterns.

Potential Data Sources

  • Existing archival data within a school
  • Classroom and school observations
  • Surveys and questionnaires
  • Exhibits, portfolios, etc.
  • Test results
  • Inventories and checklists
  • Interviews
  • Visual recordings and photography
  • Journals and diaries

Identify Professional Development

  • What learning experiences will provide your team with the knowledge they need to design and implement an improvement that will address the problem? 
  • Look for a close relationship between what the PD offers and solutions to the problem.
  • Check the research – is there evidence of positive outcomes for the PD?
  • Attend professional development.

Step 2: Plan

  • Use PD to plan an intervention and implement it.
  • Plan the type of assessment tools your team will use to gather evidence. Develop tools that will allow confirmation (triangulation) with at least one other data source.
  • Plan the times to assess student learning and to collect other data.

Step 3: Collect Data

  • Conduct collection of the data collection your team determined it will need to measure the effect of the intervention and thereby the effect of the professional development.

Step 4: Analyze & Interpret Data

Action researchers analyze data to summarize it dependably and accurately

  • Techniques depend on the type of data collected
  • Identify themes – patterns that emerge and repeat
  • Code and sort results from surveys and interviews
  • Ask key questions: who, what, where, when & how
  • Identify needed data and unanswered questions

Data Interpretation - Techniques for teacher researchers

  • Extend analysis by raising more questions about the study
  • Compare findings with your personal experience as an educator
  • Collaborate – teamwork increases perspectives
  • Seek context in related literature
  • Turn to theory

Step 5: Reflect

  • With your team think about what you learned from the first cycle of implementation. Use this reflection on data and interpretation to inform a plan of action for year two and a second cycle. 
  • Revise your PD plans and intervention. 
  • Prepare to report your findings.