Action Research Question Development to Guide Progressive Inquiry

The questions a researcher asks can guide their process. A good question will inspire one to look closely and collect evidence that will help find possible answers.

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: This is not working as well as it could or should.
  • Identity a a problem to explore....The nature of the problem 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..

Any examples or questions about action research questions?
What are other thoughts or questions on Action Research Questions?
(Feel free to add examples, edit these examples or push us to think about other issues.)

Here are some examples of researchers trying to find the a reasonable level of problems to approach:

Examples of beginning with thegeneral problemandwork towards a more specific statementof the research problemending with anaction research question for first cycle with action and responses indicated
K-12 Example (equity in access to resources)
* I care about problems of equity and social justice at my school (or in education). (general)
* The computer club only attracts male students (specific)
* What action could I take to get more female and special Ed students involved with computer technology? (action research problem)
* If I watch what girls and/or special needs students do when they have free time on the computer (action), how will their work influence the redesign of the curriculum of the computer club (Outcome)? (action research question for cycle one)

Organizations Example (knowledge management)
* I value an open source approach to knowledge management (general)
* Knowledge management strategies are at the center of many problems in our department (specific)
* I need to find a way to organize the storage and access of digital media because we waste time and effort trying to find things (action research problem)
* If I organize a learning community approach with the people most effected by the problem (action), in what ways will this shape the number and quality of the solutions generated for our organization (outcome)? (action research question for cycle one)

Examples of beginning
with the action research cycle question and
understanding how it is related
to both specific and more general issues
K-12 Example (Parents role in education)
* If I video record parents reading to students and send DVD's home with students (action), how will this affect students' reading and fluency scores? (Action research question for cycle one)
* How can I get parents in my classroom to support the early reading of students ? (action research problem)
* Parents of my students are not working as a team with me. (specific)
* I value high Parent-Teacher communication because I see it as essential for strong learning in the primary grades (general)

Organizations (collaboration)
* If I use a learning circle approach with distributed leadership for our work (action), how will it affect the way we share resources (outcome)? (action research question for cycle one)
* My team is not working well as a unit (action research problem)
* Team work takes some amount of leadership, direction, and support (specific)
* Companies that take advantage of teamwork are more productive (general)

Try to create three possible problems that you care about. By seeing others and thinking about your own, this may help you come up with new ideas of actions you want to research. Remember these are just ideas. So think about what it is that you would most want to change about your workplace and think about what might help you move in that direction.

Keeping an Action

Ideas for Action Research questions from Florida Education Computer Conference, 2008