This week I have learned what action research is all about and how it differs from traditional educational research. Action research is the process by which a practitioner reflects on his/her own practices and becomes a problem solver; taking action by implementing a change based on what has been learned through the inquiry.
The process of action research involves reflection of current practices and then finding a situation that needs improvement. One must conjure up possible strategies that may resolve the problem, or help improve the situation at hand. An action research plan can take several months or longer, depending on what is being studied and or tested. It is important that data is collected throughout the process and analyzed to determine if what you are doing differently is in fact working to improve the issue. Finally, the findings of the action research plan should be shared with other colleagues as to benefit everyone from the study.
I have also learned the major differences between action research and traditional educational research. Where traditional research limits the practitioner’s role in the research process and is performed by “outsiders” to the school or classroom, action research involves the practitioner personally and allows the individual to actively seek change in a particular problem that is occurring on the campus or in the classroom. Traditional research studies others from afar and is in essence, “process-product research.” Through practitioner inquiry, teachers and administrators are able to make purposeful reflections on current strategies or practices, and find solutions that will result in improvement.Even with all of this information, I think I will learn a great deal more once I have initiated my own action research plan. As with many things in life, sometimes we learn best from experience.
Dana, N.F.(2009). Leading with passion and knowledge: The principal as action researcher. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.