Chapter Summaries

  • The cyclical and iterative action research process comprises nine steps nested within four stages: planning, acting, developing, and reflecting.
  • The planning stage consists of the following four steps:
    1. Identifying and limiting the topic
      • It is important to remember that the goal of any action research project is to make things better.
      • Must take into consideration such things as the time requirements (or restrictions), the data collection and analysis skill levels of the individual(s) conducting the research, and any budgetary limitations.
    2. Gathering information
      • Mills (2011) refers to information gathering as reconnaissance. Doing reconnaissance takes three forms: self-reflection, description, and explanation.
    3. Reviewing the related literature
      • “Related literature” is any existing source of information that can shed light on the topic selected for investigation.
    4. Developing a research plan
      • Action researchers must identify research question(s) or topic(s) and sometimes develop a research hypothesis. They will then need to identify observable and measurable variables and make a data collection plan, all while considering research ethics.
  • The acting stage consists of the following two steps:
    1. Implementing the plan and collecting data
      • Four main categories of data collection techniques: (1) observation; (2) interviews; (3) examining existing documents and records; (4) quantitative measures such as checklists, rating scales, tests, and assessments.
    2. Analyzing the data
      • In action research, data analysis should take place at the end of data collection as well as during the process.
  • The developing stage consists of the following step:
    1. Developing an action plan
      • The action plan is essentially a proposed strategy for implementing the results of your action research project.
  • The reflecting stage consists of the following two steps:
    1. Sharing and communicating the results
      • The presentation of results can take a variety of forms ranging from informal to formal, and results can be shared with a wide range of audiences.
    2. Reflecting on the process
      • Reflection is a crucial step in the action research process, since this is where the practitioner-researcher reviews what has been done, determines its effectiveness, and makes decisions about possible revisions for future implementations of the project.