How do you know what a Cycle of Action Research is and when one ends?

Determining the beginning and end of cycles is not always easy. In the beginning you can plan cycles but they often turn out different than planned. If you find you engage in a similar activity over time, challenge yourself to find a better way each time you cycle through the process. Think of the repetition as opportunities of innovation. One way to recognize the formation of a new cycle is when you have a sense that something didn't work out just as you expected and you find yourself saying...I wonder what would happen if I...?

Here is a place for you to share your experiences in making decisions about cycles. Feel free to share the difference from what you planned in the beginning and what triggers your decision to start a new cycle. This might help others who are stuggling with trying to figure out what it means to revisit an idea and experiment with it.

Seeing the Cycles...

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One Benefit of Action Cycle Reflective Thought.

The Threads of Continuing Knowledge and Action Research
As we continue writing our Action Cycle Reports it's important to reflect upon what the connections between these cycles are and what they mean. This seems to be self-evident and yet all too often we don't give enough thought about these connections and what they imply or infer. These are the essential question Understandings revealing themselves.

I think that these connections get to the heart of Action Research and thus understanding them more completely will enable us to create more useful knowledge for the future use. Adding additional knowledge rather than reinvent old. (Mitch Townsend)

Agree. Finding the connections is part of the reflective process. As we move forward we are required to reveal the importance of our past experiences to offer the direction to our future actions. (Brad Davey)

For me my action research has been down a path where I have been learning to be leader of a major initiative. Each step I have learned something new and have been applying that not just to that cycle but to every action along the way. For me the connections have to be there otherwise I feel like I am just performing "trial and error" studies. Thank you for this reminder. (Allen Haren)

I agree fully. Even with the topic has change as my Cycle 3 has; I see connection to 1 & 2 that flowed from one to the other. I say that knowing that for me the connection is big in how I have learned to ask better open ended questions of the students and see how I want them to see beyond our little school and our small area. Everything does connect to the bigger world! (Barb Lolli)

Isn't it much like life? Though there are different chapters, they are somehow always interconnected and you may never know what to expect despite all the planning in the world. That's why reflection and connecting the experiences is such a powerful tool to give meaning to them and add to the learning process. (Katrin Steele)

Great insight, Connections and reflections are two key important processes for action research. I think the reflection sometimes helps make or synthesize the connection. All so important. (Kim Woolman)