Action Research in Education

The ability to improve teaching skills was once largely left to input from an educator's conference or feedback given during a performance review. These types of teacher resources were typically unproductive in supporting an educator's overall teaching philosophy let alone assisting with managing day to day issues with the educational development of a student.

Action research is an alternative that can extensively help to improve a teacher's ability to cope with the educational, behavioral and overall social development of their students. Receiving the input of a team of colleagues also provides the benefit of educators that may have experienced similar issues.

Applying Action Research

When an educator is faced with a difficult situation with their student, collaborating with a colleague on a solution is nothing new. With active research, there is a designated path to assist educators with everything from looking at their entire teaching philosophy to developing lesson plans, strategies for study skill or handling an individual situation impacting a student.

While consulting with another teacher or colleague may have aided in certain situations, the overall ability to assess a teaching strategy can be a difficult undertaking. Action research provides the ability to participate in the research component while consecutively collectively arriving at a conclusion.

Techniques for Action Research

Traditional methods for research studies often revolve around heavy statistical correlations. With Action research educators employ a variety of techniques that are relatively more qualitative than quantitative. For example, a teacher utilizing action research would assemble a self-assessment of their teaching practice as a whole or would narrow down to a specific issue. Peers would then be consulted to review the issues or self-assessment.

Additional, more quantitative options would include using a checklist to identify or eliminate potential issues. Surveys are also a great teacher resource that can assess everything from lesson plans to the study skills being executed by students.

Why Action Research Works

One of the major benefits of action research is getting a more holistic assessment of an issue a teacher may be facing. The documentation of responses and input from all colleagues or professionals involved in the assessment review will assist a teacher in having a record to review as an implementation plan is put into place to resolve a problem.

There are additional quantitative options that can help an educator arrive at a conclusion. Utilizing a survey or even video recordings can help with the research process. Specialists in action research recommend considering a minimum of three points of view or resources to help validate the overall conclusion.

The validation of an action research conclusion can be arrived at when multiple perspectives are combined with the qualitative and quantitative responses. Continuing to assess the success of a solution and providing reciprocal feedback to the supporting research team of colleagues is also a beneficial attribute of action research. For an educator wishing to utilize action research, there are worksheets and additional teacher resources to help with effectively implementing an action research plan.

More Information On Action Research

  1. Poverty & Race Research Action Council