Action Research for Educational Change, Improvement and Reform

Essay by stephanthonyUniversity, Master'sA, April 2010

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Action Research for Educational Change, Improvement and Reform


Dr. Linda A. Catelli

By Stephanie Alkes

Action research is a multi-faceted type of research. It can be used for school based curriculum development, professional development, systems planning, school restructuring, and as an evaluative tool. In this essay I will define and explain action research including its purposes, key characteristics, levels and history. I will describe how it differs from other types of research. I will identify and explain the different conceptualizations. I will describe the steps involved in conducting an action research study and the concept of triangulation. Lastly I will identify and explain one study that employs the action research methodology.

Action research is a process in which participants examine their own educational practice systematically and carefully, using the techniques of research. Action research specifically refers to a disciplined inquiry done by a teacher, or group of teachers, with the intention of informing and changing his/her practices in the future.

This research is carried out within the context of the teacher's environment-that is, with the students and at the school in which the teacher works-on questions that deal with educational matters at hand. The information is collected with the goals in mind of gaining insight, developing reflective practice, causing positive changes in the school, and improving student learning and teacher effectiveness. Action research encourages teachers to be continuous learners throughout their practice of teaching. When the teachers conduct research in their own classrooms and schools, they are able to model for students the skills needed to make learning effective and also instill the desire to learn new and exciting things. Action research helps teachers to look into their own teaching so that they can improve and enhance their effectiveness. Teachers gain better understanding of students' behaviors and of themselves...