Academic journal article The Agricultural Education Magazine

The Role of Action Research in Effecting Educational Change

Academic journal article The Agricultural Education Magazine

The Role of Action Research in Effecting Educational Change

Article excerpt

Action research is any systematic inquiry conducted by teacher researchers, or other stakeholders in the teaching and learning environment to gather information about ways that their particular classroom or program operates, how they teach, and how well their students learn. This information is gathered with the goal of gaining insight, developing reflective practice, effecting positive changes in the classroom or program environment, on educational practices in general, and improving student outcomes and the lives of those involved.

Action research is research done by teachers for themselves; it is not imposed on them by someone else. Action research engages teachers in a four-step process, namely to:

* Identify an area of focus

* Collect data

* Analyze and interpret data

* Develop an action plan

Research done by teachers for teachers involves the collection of persuasive data. The data are persuasive because teachers are interested in the legitimacy of the data collection, that is, they have identified data sources that provide persuasive insights into the impact of an intervention on student outcomes. Similarly, the findings of action research and the actions recommended by the findings are authoritative for teacher researchers. In doing action research, teacher researchers have developed solutions to their own problems. The teachers - not outside "experts" - are the authorities on what works in their classrooms.

Action Research is NOT a Fad

When discussing the apparent failure of research to affect teachers' practices, it is the belief of many classroom teachers that researchers tend to investigate trendy fads and are interested only in the curricular approach or instructional method "du jour." Therefore, you may not be surprised to hear critics of action research say: "Why bother? This is just another fad that, like other fads in education, will eventually pass if I can wait it out. …

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