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Action Research

Methodology is the basic skill to have successful action research.

Action research becomes a part of funded educational research and curricular development projects.  There have been two arguments with this: first, it reduces the time lag between the generations of new knowledge (if the teachers are researchers, the time lag may be reduced to zero).  Its potential benefit benefit could reduce the cost of doing research. Second, its application in the classroom the teachers represent a highly educated population who, with proper training, could act as classroom researchers).  Its potential benefit is that, teachers as researchers spend large amounts of time in schools working with children and are experts at what they do.

There are significant concerns about the use of action research as a research methodology. First, how is the success of action research measured?  If done by looking at the product such as addition of knowledge base on teaching or learning, then issues related to the validity and reliability of the research arise. Second set of concerns relates to the ways in which the worlds of university based research and teaching in kindergarten through grade intersect. Its primary questions are: Who sets the agenda?   The issues arise of possible differences between the structure of funded projects and the teachers’ work and lives.  Lastly, there is an issue of how teachers learn to do action research and how others learn how to teach them how to do it and how to facililiate it.

Action research has been defined as ‘’teachers researching their own practice of teaching.’’ It is an inquiry into their teaching in their classroom.  Since research is focused on the work of teacher-researcher, it is developmental in nature and has two main purposes:  improvement of their teaching practice in order to improve their students’ learning and to seek an improved understanding of the educational situations, in which they teach so that they can become a part of the knowledge base on teaching and learning.  Moreover, action research can be seen as a methodology, a paradigm within which research is done, rather than a set of specific research methods.   It is characterized by the focus of the research –the teaching done by the researcher—and the goals of that research—the improvement of teaching and learning and a better understanding of the researcher’s educational situation.    Action research has variety of techniques borrowed from social sciences that improve on the verisimilitude of their research, such as: triangulation, the consideration of alternative perspectives, testing through practice, practical compability and ethical justifiability.

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