Formally writing an action research report is important for the following reasons:
it promotes further clarification of various aspects of the study
it can provide you with valuable feedback
it tends to further empower teachers to improve their practice
it can provide a great sense of accomplishment
Academic writing follows certain agreed-upon conventions of style, most of which are found in various style guides, such as the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.
Most journals will specify in their guidelines for authors the style guide they follow.
Conventions of academic-style writing are simply agreed-upon procedures that help ensure the readability and credibility of research reports.
Some of the most common conventions of academic writing include titles and abstracts, person and voice, tense, tentative and definitive statements, clarity, consistency, and simplicity of language.
Title: It is important to remember that the title of your report is the initial screening mechanism for potential readers--it should be brief but also accurately describe the topic and study.
Abstract: An abstract is a brief but comprehensive summary of the contents of the entire research report. Abstracts should include a description of the research problem, the setting, procedures, findings, and conclusions.
Person: Most reports of traditional research studies tend to be written using third-person pronouns; however, it is appropriate to use first-person references when writing a report for action research studies.
Voice: Use of the active voice as opposed to the passive voice is more appropriate for action research reports.
Tense: Generally speaking, the introductory section of a research report is written in present tense; the review of related literature, methodology, and results are written in past tense; and any recommendations and an action plan are typically written in future tense.
Tentative versus definitive statements: It is always best to err on the side of caution and use tentative statements when discussing your conclusions and implications.
Clarity and Consistency: Any written report of research should be as clear and consistent as possible.
Simplicity of language: Do not try to impress your readers with flowery language; use simple, straightforward language in your write-up.
Although there is no universally agreed-upon organizational structure for formatting a research report, most action research reports contain the following sections:
Review of Related Literature
Description of the Intervention or Innovation
Data Collection and Considerations
Data Analysis and Interpretation
Reflection and Action Plan
The length of a final research report often depends on the purpose the report will serve and its intended audience.
All those who conduct research in education should abide by ethical principles to ensure the accuracy of their research results and to protect the rights of research participants.
Tips for reporting results of qualitative and quantitative studies:
When reporting the results of qualitative data analysis, it is important to be as objective as possible, to include references to yourself where they may be warranted, to thoroughly describe all aspects of your study, to include representative samples of your data only when they will enhance your presentation of the results, and to include interesting but nonessential information in appendices at the end of your report.
When reporting the results of quantitative data analysis, it is important to follow various conventions for reporting numerical data as either numbers or words, to report arithmetic data in descending order, to report the total number of participants involved in the study before reporting numbers in categories, and to use tables and figures where appropriate in order to enhance your presentation of numerical results.
When preparing to write a final research report, teacher-researchers should establish a writing routine, try to write at the same time each day, write as if conversing with a friend, begin with an outline and organize thoughts accordingly, not worry about spelling and grammar in an initial draft of the report, and develop a realistic writing schedule.