What Is Action Research?

By Martindale, Maura; Tomlin, Viva | Volta Voices, March/April 2010 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

What Is Action Research?

Martindale, Maura, Tomlin, Viva, Volta Voices

In the field of listening and spoken language for children and youth with hearing loss, there is a paucity of research literature from the very best of today's practitioners on specific strategies that they use every day and believe work with parents and students. However, practitioners in deaf education rarely conduct their own research, or have time to read the research that is available. And much of that research is not always presented in a manner that is useful to teachers and therapists. Increasingly, with growing emphasis on evidence-based practices, teachers and parents need to be fully armed with data to support their practices and strategies.

In Action Research courses at California Lutheran University (CLU) in Thousand Oaks, Calif., teachers and practitioners in auditory-based graduate programs are being guided to seek answers to their problems, improve practices and evaluate their programs via Action Research. Action Research "is a type of applied research, conducted by practitioners to improve practices in educational settings" (Glanz, 2003, p. 4). It is a highly collaborative process designed to encourage practitioners to evaluate their own programs, to discover whether or not interventions and strategies are working with their own students, and to solve real problems.

With Action Research, a practitioner plans, designs, carries out and evaluates his or her own project. Teachers choose an area of interest or concern in education (in this case, auditory-based practices), assess the scope of the issue, find out what others have published on this topic, design their own solutions, try to solve a problem, improve their own practices and evaluate their results. Teachers work collaboratively with others at their school sites to make a real difference in teaching outcomes. They "take action" or make changes, based on their project. Beyond just an individual teacher or therapist working toward a goal, a school-wide climate emerges that supports problem solving, self-assessment and continued improvement.

Action Research, step by step, nurtures a symbiotic living partnership between academia and the teacher/ practitioner. Conducting one's own research in the field of deaf education can be difficult to carry out alone due to lack of time, small numbers of subjects, too many variables to control for, difficulty randomizing subjects, inappropriate instruments or lack of support from administrators. In addition, the time and expertise needed to write a grant to hire an outside researcher can be overwhelming. As a result, we are left with a vacuum of knowledge that could be gained from today's teachers/practitioners. While there is a great deal of excellent basic research published in journals regarding listening and spoken language, a given practitioner may be looking for solutions closer to home.

This article explains how teachers and practitioners can bridge the gap between problems and solutions using Action Research. The following steps for creating an Action Research project include an example of the process as followed by a professor at CLU and a teacher in a special day class for students with hearing loss at Saticoy Elementary School in the Los Angeles Unified School District in California. Designed for students who are not ready for a general education setting, a special day classroom (SDC) is situated on a general education campus but all of the students in the class have a significant hearing loss.

Conducting Action Research: Step By Step

First, ask yourself, "what are you concerned about?" What is the problem in your classroom or school? What do you want to know about a specific practice, program or strategy? We recommend that practitioners try to articulate this in a single sentence or question. The following question was asked by the teacher of the classroom in our example:

What best practices do students with hearing loss, who are also English language learners (ELL), need in order to meet grade level standards for literacy in elementary school?

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

What Is Action Research?


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?