Writing Your ACTION RESEARCH Report

This outline suggests a 25-30 page double- spaced report (not counting title and references). It is much easier to write a long report. When you limit yourself, you also reduce the time the reader needs to spend to understand your work. Your goal is to provide the reader with a clear and insightful report of your process. Some readers will be more focused on your findings, and others will be reading about the way in which you did your study as a model for how they might do something similar. So you need to keep both of these audiences in mind as you write, You may have other

A note about Tables and Figures:
Table and figures help your readers get more information and understand it more quickly. But you cannot replace your narrative with pictures. You should be able to remove all images and tables and still be able to make sense of your work with the text. You will need to title each table and each figure in sequence with a clear and concise statement.
Table 1: The number of teachers who participated in each of the activities
Figure1: The Frequency of Themes in Teacher Blogs (n=28 teachers)
Table 2: The Percent of Participants who Agreed with Each of the Statements (N=12 participants).
Table 3: Average Response on a 5 point scale by students (N=26 students) and Figure 2.1: Image of students working together on the activity

APA has a format for M. A. Thesis title pages which you can find online. But you can be flexible with this. If you want to include a picture that is fine. You need a title, your name, Pepperdine University, and a date at the bare minimums. The only thing that we are insist on APA style is the citations and references.

You might want to include the name of your thesis adviser (Dr. Sparks or Dr.Riel)-- Some include the names of their review panel as a way of thanking them. This is your choice. And if you want to include a dedication line or page, you can also do that as well. There should be a table of contents.

You will need a clear statement of the problem and why you believe it to be a significant problem. This can include your reasons wanting to solve this problem. It might include your vision of how things might be different if this problem was solved. I can be about your and your values or more centered on the problem situation. This is not the setting --try to talk about the problem in ways that will connect with your reader. You might end this section with "The overall goal of my Action Research is...."

There are two ways of contextualizing your research and both are important. One is to locate the problem in the context of what others have done. This is done by reviewing the literature and other is to describe the setting and how the problem you have identified looks in your setting and your ties to the social scene. These can be done in either order. Sometimes, it is natural to move from the description of the problem to your setting as they are so closely linked. In this case, you start wide, pull in the focus and then move midway out to see what others have done in settings like yours. Some might find it works better to start with the wide focus, move to a mid range examination by looking at the problem in other settings and then you focus the lens clearly on the your setting. You can decide which seems to work for you in setting the context.


Share what you have learned about your topic from examining ideas or research that others have created around the problem. This is where you will add the text of your lit review (saving the references for the end) If your lit review was very long, you might consider leaving the longer version online and writing a summary of what you learned with citations in APA format (Move the references to the end of the report).


My membership/position in the community of practice that I am working in can be described in the following way. (You have written this in the first semester. Go find it and past it here. The problem that I want to solve.... or the situation that I want to improve is....(again you should have a draft of this text.

Describe how you are using action research to explore this issue. Assume that your reader does not know what action research is. You need to explain it in one or two paragraphs. If you decide to use a image of action research from any of the many sources, remember that you cite images just as you cite text.

End this section with your overall research question -- often in the form of .... How do I improve the way I....

CYCLE: REPORTS(about 12 pages - each cycle does not need to be the same length)

FOR EACH CYCLE-- address the following:

A) DESCRIBE YOUR ACTION BEGINNING WITH YOUR CYCLE RESEARCH QUESTION: This question needs to contain two very important parts. The first part clearly states what you will do in very specific language. And the second part shares your best guess at a outcome (the reactions of others that you expect to result from your action.) Your action research is a design experiment. You are designing with a eye towards deeper understanding of change.

B) EVIDENCE USED TO EVALUATE THE ACTION: What evidence did you collect to establish how other responded to your action. What artifacts did you collect to provide direct or indirect evidence of what happened?

C) EVALUATION: How did you evaluate the outcomes of your action?.....(Indicate how you did your analysis as well as what you discovered).

D) REFLECTION: (to be added after the cycle is complete) Looking back on your action with the benefit of data, how has your thinking, practice or identity shifted? How did this cycle lead to the next? What did you learn that helped you to think about the next innovation. These reflections are often shortened with specific insights developed more fully in the final reflection.

This is the most important part of your thesis. It answers the question of what you learned from this undertaking. You can organize it in the way that works best to share your insights. You often refer back to the beginning and then write about how your values, sense of self and knowledge has changed as a result of this process.

To get you started, you might try responding to some of these questions, and then use arrange the text into sections that make sense.
Personal Transformation
  1. How have I changed my practice?
  2. How have I changed the way I think about my practice or think about ideas?
  3. How do other see me?
  4. How do I see myself?
  5. Did I succeed in bringing my values in closer alignment with my work?

Organizational Transformations
  1. What did I learn about group processes in my workplace?
  2. How did roles change?
  3. What did people in my group learn to do or know?

Scholarly Level
  1. What knowledge or practices have I created that others in my workplace will find of value?
  2. What knowledge or practices have I created that other action researchers might value.
  3. What have I learned about myself and the way I learn, think and work that might help others?
  4. What did I learning about action research that might help others?

Once you are clear on what you want to say, then think about how best to organize it to have the most impact on the reader. Your learning circle or partner action researchers can help you think about this.

Take these from the end of your lit. review and past them here and add any additional references that you might have added as you discussed your cycles.

(Congratulations!...you have just completed your first draft of the final report. )