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Center For Collaborative Action
Pages and Files
TI: Overview of Action Research
T2: Understanding Action Research
T3: Your Research Question
T4: The Context
T5: Plan For Action
T6: Cycle 1 in an Iterative Process
T7: Collecting Data
T8: Analyzing Data
T9: Reflecting on your Actions
T10: Cycles of Change
T11: Writing your Action Research Report
T12: Your Identity as an Action Researcher
Click the globe to see our 3-D
Action Research Neighborhood
AR Sharing Overview
Sharing AR syllabi
Cycles of Actions
Reports & Portfolios
Rubrics for Assessment
Evaluating Student Work
Journal for publishing Action Research
Q and A
Sharing Outcomes from
Doing Action Research
Overview of Outcomes
AR World Map of SITES
A) Getting Started: A research question is a blueprint for your action.
Framing an Action Research Question
Identify an area of change that is possible for you to make that will move you in the direction of your visions and values. What do you imagine will be the outcome of the action. How might it move toward a different future.
Recognize a problem where values do not align with practice: [area of concern] is not working as well as it could or should.
Identity a problem to explore....The problem I want to solve is...
Consider a specific element of the more general problem. This is where I could intervene.
Anticipate outcomes: I wonder what would happen if I..
Your action research question involves trying to find a reasonble path to approach change.
Look at the
in the resources for ideas.
Template for Activity T6A - Framing a research question
B) Taking Action
Now is the time to get started with your action. Check the resources for some advice on thinking about the scope of your action. This is not a huge project and it is best to start small. You are examining the reactions to a plan or strategy that is helping you move foward with your plans.
C) Spend some time reading and writing in your blog
Hopefully you have been keeping a weekly blog. Now is the time to review what you have written. Are you writing about what happened (what someone could see) or why it happened (a reflection of your thinking). Often novice action researchers write detailed accounts of things that are happening, but there is no record of their thinking about the events. The goal is document both the actions and your thinking about the actions.
1) Personal Change--
How did you change during this cycle? You tried to solve problem at your workplace. Maybe it wasn't a perfect solution but did you feel it worked? What does it mean to you when you say it worked? Why do you think it did or did turn out as your expected? Do you see yourself as a problem solver? What has been some of your experience in solving problems in the past? Are you different in different contexts, for example would you have been more likely to have solved this problem if it was located outside of work? In your past, how have you oriented toward problems like this? Did you wait for others to solve them or would you have done it in a different way? When you and others came up with your plan, was there a time when you worried it would not work? Was there something that you can point to that you learned about yourself that helped make it work. Have you changed the way you look at problems or at least at common ones? Do you see yourself different in any way? Do you think that others see you differently?
2) Local Change
-- How do you think this action affected others. Do you think they knew why you were taking the action you spearheaded? Do you think that they might have wanted a different plan? Were you surprised by their reactions? Did they appreciate your efforts to solve the problem or did they feel left out? Who owned the problem at the beginning? Who owns the problem now? Why do you think this is the case? What are the "norms"-- the unspoken rules-- that shape behavior? Did this project challenge any of these norms? Did you see any evidence of norms shifting? What about the division of labor within the group, has this shifted? Do you have a better understanding of the forces for change in your workplace?
3) Conceptual Change
-- Did your ideas change in anyway. This might be your ideas about learning. Maybe you expected that it would be easy for others to learn a new system but you realized that not everyone approaches a learning task in the same way. Maybe you understood something about the way ownership of the problem or your identity as a problem solvers interacted with learning. Maybe there was something about leadership that you read and experienced in this cycle. Were their any principles of learning, change or interaction that you learned? Think back on what you read, look back on your notes. Were there any good examples of theoretical concepts? Did you see Vygotsky's "Zone of Proximal Development" in practice? Did you understand better way in which Lave and Wenger's "legitimate peripheral participation" works in a community of practice? Could you see the connections between Berieter and Scardamalia's "progressive probleming" and Brandford's "cycles of innovation" or adaptive expertise?
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