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How to Write an Action Research Paper

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The Action Research Process
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Action research and publication 25k. Some issues related to the use of action research for publication and theses are examined. Rigour in action research 12k. In those situations it is designed to address, action research can be a rigorous methodology; these tend to be situations where experimental and quasi-experimental methods are not easily applied.

There are ways in which action respearch can be made more attractive to practitioners, for example by adopting methods for improving both the rigour and the economy in conducting and reporting action research studies. Sources of rigour in action research 28k.

This is a paper which was presented at the Association of Qualitative Research conference in Melbourne in July It identifies some of the mechanisms in action research which provide rigour even though action research is typically used in changing situations. Search is a consensus seeking process. This paper gives details of a workbook for a particular variety of short search. The Snyder evaluation process: The Snyder evaluation process 64k. A fairly detailed description is given of the Snyder evaluation process, a process which combines process evaluation for understanding, outcome evaluation for improvement, and short-cycle evaluation for ongoing improvement.

Soft systems methodology 20k. Titled "Appropriate validity and its attainment", this paper by Bob Dick and Pam Swepson uses soft systems methodology to illustrate some of the ways in which action research processes like soft systems methodology can achieve good standards of rigour.

This technique, probably originating with Richard Beckhard, allows a group of people to pool their assumptions about various people and their attitude to change, and identify ways of approaching them. Theory and experience 12k. The nature and use of theory are briefly considered and some of the traps in the use of theory are identified. A list of books compiled by Marcia Connor from suggestions offered by subscribers to the training and development email list.

The validity chain 20k. There are many gaps between experience, and what an interviewer eventually interprets from the data about that experience collected at interview. There are some steps which can be taken to reduce the gaps. A workbook-style process which can be used to analyse and learn from an interaction which you would like to have handled differently. Information sharing using voting 28k. Allowing participants multiple votes, perhaps within a cyclic voting process, can be used for exchanging information between participants about their priorities.

The URL of this document is http: Papers on action research and related topics These are papers associated with "areol" -- action research and evaluation on line -- an on-line course available on the web or by email Action research: Action has two parts, implementation and monitoring Choosing action research 10k A number of different research paradigms are briefly described, together with a discussion of some of the conditions which may favour the choice of action research Communication skills 42k Three sets of important communication skills are described: This paper provides a practical illustration Darts 12k A hypothetical game of darts is used to illustrate some points about the quality of feedback in much of our working life and elsewhere Data-driven action research 16k In action research, it is possible to capitalise on the cyclic process by letting the data drive both the improvement of the process and the growing understanding of the research situation Deep action research: The survey is done with small teams or groups, who also choose some of the questions to be answered, and help to interpret the information collected Grounded theory: This paper briefly describes its process and some of its most important features A beginners guide to action research 18k An overview of action research is provided, and some of its features discussed Gaining involvement and participation 34k Some issues which are important at the beginning of a change program are addressed; attention is given to ways of involving people in organisational change programs Convergent interviewing 28k A form of interviewing is described in some detail.

The interviewing combines some of the features of structured and unstructured interviews, and uses a systematic process to refine the information collected Neighbourhood meetings 20k Neighbourhood meetings are small, partly-structured meetings of neighbours, hosted by one of them in her or his home.

They provide higher participation rates and more direct involvement, than many other forms of large-group community participation Meta-evaluation bibliography 28k The bibliography on meta-evaluation the evaluation of evaluations was compiled by Patricia Rogers A naive philosophy of action research 22k A pragmatic and probably naive approach to philosophy.

This paper was prepared for the areol action research and evaluation on line course at the request of some participants Options 12k This is a description of "Option one-and-a-half", a dialectical process in which the strengths of two opposing options are combined to create a third and better option Action research and participation 5k Vikki Uhlmann sets out some reasons why, for her, participation in action research is obligatory or nearly so Participative processes 26k An identification of some of the ways in which participants can be involved in action research, from low involvement as informants to high involvement as co-researchers Approaching an action research thesis 21k The use of action research for theses is considered, taking into account its dual aims of action and research Action research: This document identifies some of the important choices for those planning a thesis or dissertation, and discusses the advantages and disadvantages that each choice engenders Qualitative evaluation for program improvement 48k An action-research style of evaluation is used to illustrate some of the principles of qualitative evaluation methods Reflective mechanisms 16k Drawing on an evaluation of a fourth-year university class by Adelle Bish, this paper briefly describes the 19 different mechanisms which in the reports of class members assisted learning from experience Reflective questions 12k The quality of critical reflection after the event can be helped by questions one can ask oneself before the event.

This file gives questions for use before and after action Action research and publication 25k Some issues related to the use of action research for publication and theses are examined Rigour in action research 12k In those situations it is designed to address, action research can be a rigorous methodology; these tend to be situations where experimental and quasi-experimental methods are not easily applied Action research: It identifies some of the mechanisms in action research which provide rigour even though action research is typically used in changing situations Search 48k Search is a consensus seeking process.

This paper gives details of a workbook for a particular variety of short search The Snyder evaluation process: There are some steps which can be taken to reduce the gaps The effective practitioner: It deals with the disciplines and activities predominant in the ethical and political lives of people. Aristotle contrasted this with Theoria - those sciences and activities that are concerned with knowing for its own sake. Both are equally needed he thought.

That knowledge is derived from practice, and practice informed by knowledge, in an ongoing process, is a cornerstone of action research. Action researchers also reject the notion of researcher neutrality, understanding that the most active researcher is often one who has most at stake in resolving a problematic situation.

A German social and experimental psychologist, and one of the founders of the Gestalt school, he was concerned with social problems, and focused on participative group processes for addressing conflict, crises, and change, generally within organizations.

Eric Trist, another major contributor to the field from that immediate post-war era, was a social psychiatrist whose group at the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations in London engaged in applied social research, initially for the civil repatriation of German prisoners of war.

He and his colleagues tended to focus more on large-scale, multi-organizational problems. Both Lewin and Trist applied their research to systemic change in and between organizations. They emphasized direct professional - client collaboration and affirmed the role of group relations as basis for problem-solving.

Both were avid proponents of the principle that decisions are best implemented by those who help make them. The growing importance of labour-management relations led to the application of action research in the areas of Organization Development, Quality of Working Life QWL , Socio-technical systems e. This traditional approach tends toward the conservative, generally maintaining the status quo with regards to organizational power structures.

It is c ontextural, insofar as it entails reconstituting the structural relations among actors in a social environment; domain-based, in that it tries to involve all affected parties and stakeholders; holographic, as each participant understands the working of the whole; and it stresses that participants act as project designers and co-researchers.

The concept of organizational ecology, and the use of search conferences come out of contextural action research, which is more of a liberal philosophy, with social transformation occurring by consensus and normative incrementalism.

Participatory Action Research, often found in liberationist movements and international development circles, and Feminist Action Research both strive for social transformation via an advocacy process to strengthen peripheral groups in society. A fourth stream, that of Educational Action Research, has its foundations in the writings of John Dewey, the great American educational philosopher of the s and 30s, who believed that professional educators should become involved in community problem-solving.

Its practitioners, not surprisingly, operate mainly out of educational institutions, and focus on development of curriculum, professional development, and applying learning in a social context. It is often the case that university-based action researchers work with primary and secondary school teachers and students on community projects. Action Research is more of a holistic approach to problem-solving, rather than a single method for collecting and analyzing data. Thus, it allows for several different research tools to be used as the project is conducted.

These various methods, which are generally common to the qualitative research paradigm, include: Of all of the tools utilized by action researchers, the one that has been developed exclusively to suit the needs of the action research approach is that of the search conference, initially developed by Eric Trist and Fred Emery at the Tavistock Institute in , and first implemented for the merger of Bristol-Siddley Aircraft Engines in Search conferences also have been conducted for many different circumstances and participants, including: Eric Trist sums up the process quite nicely -.

The group meets under social island conditions for days, sometimes as long as five. The opening sessions are concerned with elucidating the factors operating in the wider contextual environment - those producing the meta-problems and likely to affect the future. The content is contributed entirely by the members. The staff are facilitators only. Items are listed in the first instance without criticism in the plenary session and displayed on flip charts which surround the room.

The material is discussed in greater depth in small groups and the composite picture checked out in plenary. The group next examines its own organizational setting or settings against this wider background and then proceeds to construct a picture of a desirable future. It is surprising how much agreement there often is. Only when all this has been done is consideration given to action steps Figure 3 provides a schematic of a typical search conference.

Small group session 1. Small group session 2. Small group session 3. Task Group reports, discuss future contacts, create new Advisory Group. Figure 3 - Search Conference. To accomplish this, it may necessitate the adoption of many different roles at various stages of the process, including those of.

The main role, however, is to nurture local leaders to the point where they can take responsibility for the process. This point is reached they understand the methods and are able to carry on when the initiating researcher leaves. Because action research is carried out in real-world circumstances, and involves close and open communication among the people involved, the researchers must pay close attention to ethical considerations in the conduct of their work.

Richard Winter lists a number of principles: To this might be added several more points: To better illustrate how action research can proceed, three case studies are presented. Action research projects are generally situationally unique, but there are elements in the methods that can be used by other researchers in different circumstances. The first case study, an account taken from the writings of one of the researchers involved Franklin , involves a research project to stimulate the development of nature tourism services in the Caribbean.

It represents a fairly typical example of an action research initiative. The second and third case studies centre around the use of computer communications, and therefore illustrate a departure from the norm in this regard. They are presented following a brief overview of this potentially promising technical innovation.

In , an action research process was initiated to explore how nature tourism could be instituted on each of the four Windward Islands in the Caribbean - St. Lucia, Grenada, Dominica, and St. The government took the lead, for environmental conservation, community-based development, and national economic development purposes.

Two action researchers from York University in Toronto, with prior experience in the region, were hired to implement the project, with a majority of the funding coming from the Canadian International Development Agency.

Multi-stakeholder national advisory councils were formed, and national project coordinators selected as local project liaisons. Their first main task was to organize a search conference on each island. At this point, extended advisory groups were formed on several of the islands, and national awareness activities and community sub-projects were implemented in some cases.

To maintain the process, regional project meetings were held, where project coordinators and key advisory members shared experiences, conducted self-evaluations and developed plans for maintaining the process e. One of the more valuable tools for building a sense of community was the use of a videocamera to create a documentary video of a local project.

Vincent the research project was highly successful, with several viable local developments instituted. Lucia showed mixed outcomes, and Dominica was the least successful, the process curtailed by the government soon after the search conference took place. There is always a risk that this kind of research will empower stakeholders, and change existing power relations, the threat of which is too much for some decision-makers, but if given the opportunity, there are many things that a collaborative group of citizens can accomplish that might not be possible otherwise.

In the past ten years or so, there has been a marked increase in the number of organizations that are making use of information technology and computer mediated communications. This has led to a number of convergences between information systems and action research. In some cases, it has been a matter of managers of corporate networks employing action research techniques to facilitate large-scale changes to their information systems. In others, it has been a question of community-based action research projects making use of computer communications to broaden participation.

The emergence of the Internet has led to an explosion of asynchronous and aspatial group communication in the form of e-mail and computer conferences, and recently, v-mail and video conferencing. While there have been numerous attempts to use this new technology in assisting group learning, both within organizations and among groups in the community [this author has been involved with a dozen or more projects of this kind in the nonprofit sector in Canada alone], there is a dearth of published studies on the use of action research methods in such projects Lau and Hayward , in a recent review of the literature, found that most research on group support systems to date has been in short-term, experimental situations using quantitative methods..

There are a few examples, though, of longitudinal studies in naturalistic settings using qualitative methods; of those that did use action research, none studied the use and effects of communication systems in groups and organizations. We can now to turn to the case studies, both of which are situated in an area in need of more research - that of the use of information technology as a potentially powerful adjunct to action research processes.

Lau and Hayward used an action research approach in a study of their own to explore the structuration of Internet-based collaborative work groups. Over a two-year period, the researchers participated as facilitators in three action research cycles of problem-solving among approximately 15 instructors and project staff, and 25 health professionals from various regions striving to make a transition to a more community-based health program.

Enhance the motivation and efficacy of a weary faculty. Meet the needs of an increasingly diverse student body. Teaching in North America has evolved in a manner that makes it more like blue-collar work than a professional undertaking. Although blue-collar workers are expected to do their jobs with vigilance and vigor, it is also assumed that their tasks will be routine, straightforward, and, therefore, easily handled by an isolated worker with only the occasional support of a supervisor.

Professional work, on the other hand, is expected to be complex and nonroutine, and will generally require collaboration among practitioners to produce satisfactory results. With the exploding knowledge base on teaching and learning and the heightened demands on teachers to help all children achieve mastery of meaningful objectives, the inadequacy of the blue-collar model for teaching is becoming much clearer. When the teachers in a school begin conducting action research, their workplace begins to take on more of the flavor of the workplaces of other professionals.

The wisdom that informs practice starts coming from those doing the work, not from supervisors who oftentimes are less in touch with and less sensitive to the issues of teaching and learning than the teachers doing the work. Furthermore, when teachers begin engaging their colleagues in discussions of classroom issues, the multiple perspectives that emerge and thus frame the dialogue tend to produce wiser professional decisions.

The work of teaching has always been difficult. But now it isn't just the demands of the classroom that are wearing teachers down. Students increasingly bring more problems into the classroom; parental and societal expectations keep increasing; and financial cutbacks make it clear that today's teachers are being asked to do more with less. Worse still, the respect that society had traditionally placed upon public school teachers is eroding, as teacher bashing and attacks on the very value of a public education are becoming a regular part of the political landscape.

Consequently, teacher burnout has become the plague of the modern schoolhouse. However, without credible evidence that the work of teaching is making a difference, it is hard to imagine the best and brightest sticking with such a difficult and poorly compensated line of work. Fortunately, evidence has shown that teachers who elect to integrate the use of data into their work start exhibiting the compulsive behavior of fitness enthusiasts who regularly weigh themselves, check their heart rate, and graph data on their improving physical development.

For both teachers and athletes, the continuous presence of compelling data that their hard work is paying off becomes, in itself, a vitally energizing force. In a homogeneous society in which all students come to school looking alike, it might be wise to seek the one right answer to questions of pedagogy. It is now imperative that classroom teachers have strong content background in each of the subjects they teach, be familiar with the range of student differences in their classrooms, and be capable of diagnosing and prescribing appropriate instructional modifications based upon a knowledge of each child's uniqueness.

Crafting solutions to these dynamic and ever changing classroom issues can be an exciting undertaking, especially when one acknowledges that newer and better answers are evolving all the time. Nevertheless, great personal satisfaction comes from playing a role in creating successful solutions to continually changing puzzles. Conversely, if teachers are expected to robotically implement outdated approaches, especially when countless new challenges are arriving at their door, the frustration can become unbearable.

In most jurisdictions standards-driven accountability systems have become the norm. Although they differ somewhat from state to state and province to province, fundamentally these standards-based systems have certain things in common.

Specifically, most education departments and ministries have declared that they expect the standards to be rigorous and meaningful, and that they expect all students to meet the standards at the mastery level. The stakes in the standards movement are high. Students face consequences regarding promotion and graduation. Teachers and schools face ridicule and loss of funding if they fail to meet community expectations.

Of course, none of that would be problematic if we as a society knew with certainty how to achieve universal student success. However, the reality is that no large system anywhere in the world has ever been successful in getting every student to master a set of meaningful objectives.

If we accept the truth of that statement, then we need to acknowledge the fact that achieving the goal of universal student mastery will not be easy. That said, most people will agree it is a most noble endeavor in which to invest energy and a worthy goal for any faculty to pursue. The reality is that our public schools will not prevail with the challenges inherent in the standards movement unless they encourage experimentation, inquiry, and dialogue by those pioneers the teachers who are working toward meeting those challenges.

So the time is right for action research. The teachers, schools, and school systems that seize this opportunity and begin investing in the power of inquiry will find that they are re-creating the professional practice of education in their locale as a meaningful and rewarding pursuit.

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Learn more about our permissions policy and submit your request online. Premium Member Book May What Is Action Research? The Action Research Process Educational action research can be engaged in by a single teacher, by a group of colleagues who share an interest in a common problem, or by the entire faculty of a school.


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"Action research is inquiry or research in the context of focused efforts to improve the quality of an organization and its performance. It typically is designed and conducted by practitioners who analyze the data to improve their own practice. Action research can be done by individuals or by teams of colleagues.

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Action research is known by many other names, including participatory research, collaborative inquiry, emancipatory research, action learning, and contextual action research, but all . Expert Help with Writing Action Research Papers. An action research paper is typically based on a change that is brought about in an organization, society or a particular program. This type of a paper requires extensive research as it has a two way approach that explains the reasons for the action to be implemented and as well as the steps undertaken to bring about the change.

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Receive remarkable help with action research writing. Learn how to write an action research from experienced professionals. We deliver the best help regarding report on action research. Action research resources at Southern Cross University, a set of resource files which support an on-line course in action research.