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Chapter 1. What Is Action Research?

Action Research: It's Easier Than You Think

❶Discussions, distinguished by the goal of making a group decision or taking an action, required a fair degree of moderation, insofar as participants found it difficult to reach closure. Building the reflective practitioner Making progress on schoolwide priorities Building professional cultures.

Three Purposes for Action Research

The Action Research Process
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This paper therefore seeks to gather relevant data from people who are led and those who practice leadership in the selected organizations. The selection of the sample was based random sampling technique so as to avoid bias selection.

This is also significant in obtaining composite data that will touch on a variety of organizations that practice leadership. For the participants in this research I have chosen managers of various organizations for instance the sales managers are normally the team leaders in the sales team therefore they can provide the relevant data concerning leadership in their organization.

I have also targeted to interview members of such team who are also capable of giving out information regarding to how they relate with their leaders and what they feel about their current leadership. In an organization like a bank I will target the sales representatives of customer relations officers who are part of teams in that particular firm.

Data collection The first technique I will use will be the available information. This will be found in books, magazines, journals, reports and the internet. I will go for this technique because I will not spend much besides the information being readily available.

But I fear that issues regarding to confidentiality may arise and I may also get incomplete information. The methods should also consider the appropriate demographic that is targeted in the research. Structured interviews in the form of questionnaires can best work for collecting pieces of information form that targeted group. This method is objective and its validity is high. Written questionnaires permitted anonymity and made me get more honest responses from the respondents. The following are examples of questions to be included in the questionnaire; What can you say about leadership in your organization?

Are there teams in your organization? Does your team leader understand the needs of the other members? Have you ever been a leader? To put this differently, certain more-or-less similar steps tend to recur, in more-or-less similar order, at different phases of an action research study.

At the same time so the action researcher hopes progress is made towards appropriate action and research outcomes. A commonly known cycle is that of the influential model of Kemmis and McTaggart mentioned earlier -- plan, act, observe, reflect; then, in the light of this, plan for the next cycle. It is also generally held that action research is participative, though writers differ on how participative it is. My own preference is to use participative methods.

On the other hand I don't see why action research must be limited to this. So, the extent of participation may vary. In some instances there may be a genuine partnership between researcher and others.

The distinction between researcher and others may disappear. On other occasions the researcher may choose for whatever reason to maintain a separate role. Participation may be limited to being involved as an informant.

The participants, too, may choose something less than full partnership for themselves under some circumstances. Most action research is qualitative. Some is a mix of qualitative and quantitative. All else being equal, numbers do offer advantages. In field settings, though, one often has to make other sacrifices to be able to use them. Most importantly, sometimes numbers are not easily applied to some features of a study.

If these include features of particular interest or importance, the choice is between qualitative research or omitting important features. In addition, developing a suitable quantitative measure is often difficult and time-consuming. It may be more time-efficient to use qualitative data.

As I mentioned before, it is also easier to be flexible and responsive to the situation if you are using qualitative methods. In short, it is my view that action research more often than not exhibits certain features. It tends to be, in some sense of the terms, cyclic, participative, qualitative and reflective. I see all of these features except the last as choices to be made by the researcher and the other participants. In my view, good action research and good research of any variety is research where, among other features, appropriate choices are made.

Perhaps even critical reflection might be abandoned for sufficient reason. Whatever action research is, I suspect it is mostly or always emergent and responsive. In fact, I think that the choices made about its cyclic and qualitative nature are mostly to be justified in terms of the responsiveness which they allow. This may be true of decisions about participation too. In many field settings it is not possible to use more traditional quasi-experimental research methods.

If you do alter them in midstream you may have to abandon the data collected up to that point. This is because you have probably altered the odds under the null hypothesis. But to achieve both action and research outcomes requires responsiveness -- to the situation, and the people, and the growing understanding on the part of those involved. Using a cyclic process in most circumstances enhances responsiveness.

It makes sense to design the later stages of an action research activity in such a way that you capitalise on the understanding developed in the early stages. It is the cyclic nature of action research which allows responsiveness.

It is often difficult to know just where a field intervention will end. Precise research questions at the beginning of a project may mislead researcher and clients.

Imprecise questions and methods can be expected to yield imprecise answers initially. But if those imprecise answers can help to refine questions and methods, then each cycle can be a step in the direction of better action and research. It is not a term familiar to most but understanding the steps involved will reveal how straightforward in a round-about way it really is. Action research methodology is outcome based in that it aims to improve the methods used in educational, social science, community, and other settings.

Also known as participatory research, it calls for insight, reflection, and personal involvement with the topic being explored. It is conducted in real world settings by the people directly involved with the problem or situation being investigated.

For the education graduate student, action research is not a bland analysis of data but a deliberate assessment of the impact specific actions have on student achievement.

After a problem or subject to examine is recognized, there are four, repeated steps: Plan, Act, Observe, and Reflect. The observation methods are left to the discretion of the researcher or researchers.

Interviews, collection of quantitative data, note-taking, and discussion are all possible observation and reflection techniques. Is independent study a worthwhile activity for students?

Does it have a positive impact on student learning and performance? As you can see from the example above, action research methodology is useful in real life situations. It enables the researcher to find what works in his or her own situation and helps to determine ways to improve techniques.

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Critical action research is a specific type of action research that adopts critical approach towards business processes and aims for improvements. The following features of action research need to be taken into account when considering its suitability for any given study: It is applied in order to improve specific practices.

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Action research is known by many other names, including participatory research, collaborative inquiry, emancipatory research, action learning, and contextural action research, but all are variations on a .

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• Remember that action research is a learning process. • Organize my work in series of spirals of action and reflection. • Undertake my research rigorously and systematically. • Show evidence that there has been an improvement in the quality of education in my context. • Make it a visible process. I regard action research as a methodology which is intended to have both action outcomes and research outcomes. I recognise, too, that in some action research the research component mostly takes the form of understanding on the part of those involved.

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Philosophy, Methodology and Action Research WILFRED CARR The aim of this paper is to examine the role of methodology in action research. It begins by showing how, as a form of inquiry concerned with the development of practice, action research is nothing other than a modern 20th century. Action research – which is also known as Participatory Action Research (PAR), community-based study, co-operative enquiry, action science and action learning – is an approach commonly used for improving conditions.