Action Research




Many educators (teachers, principals, counselors, or others involved in the education of others) desire a change in the way their classroom or school is operated. Many are others concerned with how well their students are learning and how effective their teaching is. Action research allows educators to address these concerns by providing a four step process. The four steps include identifying an area of focus, collecting data, analyzing and interpreting data, and developing an action plan. The goal of this process is to gain insight, develop reflective practices, and create positive changes in a school or classroom. Essentially, action research is “done by teachers for themselves” (Mills, 2011, p. 5).


1. Participants must be teaching or volunteering in a classroom. They also must be motivated to make a change or improve an aspect of the classroom. 2. Participants must feel comfortable writing about their feelings and experiences.

Unit 1: What is and why use action research

Content: Making better decisions, the definition of action research, facts about action research.


1.0: Participants will, in a written discussion, define action research and what its purpose in education is.

Unit 2: Where to begin

Content: Finding the problem, setting the problem in theoretical context (the definition of and how to write a literature review).


1.1 From personal experience and interest, participants will choose 1 area in their teaching/classroom that they would like to change/improve through the method of action research.

1.2: Participants will identify their topic/problem by posting it in the discussion board.

2.0: Participants will be able to define literature review by giving a written definition in a discussion board.

2.1: Given a number of sources, participants will locate recourses based on their topic.

Unit 3: Collecting data

Content: Types of data collection in action research (quantitative and qualitative), organizing the data.


3.0 Participants will discuss data analysis; involving graphing and categorizing qualitative data.

4.0: Participants must be able to collect real data and create a table/graph showing this data.

4.1 Participants will be able to organize data and create a table showing their data.

Unit 4: Reporting and using the data

Content: Validity and reliability.


5.0 Participants will be able to define validity and discuss the validity of their data in a written discussion board.

5.2 Participants will be able to define reliability and discuss the reliability of their data in a written discussion board.

6.0 Participants will describe how they have addressed the issues if validity and reliability in their plan; in a written discussion board.

Unit 5: Creating a plan of action

Content: Plan of action, conclusions.


7.0 Using their collected data and results, participants will create a written plan of action.

7.1 Participants will be able to identify the steps needed to create a plan of action.

Note: When navigating each unit, the Checkmark.jpgicon indicates work that is required for you to do. The work includes discussions, reflections, and writing assignments.


ALARA (Action Learning & Action Research Association):

Center for Collaborative Action Research:

Eileen Ferrance (2000). Action research. RI: Brown University. Action Research

Hahs-Vaughn, D., & Yanowitz, K. (2009). Who is conducting teacher research? Journal of Educational Research, 102(6), 415-426. Retrieved from Academic Search Complete database.

Johnson, A.P. (2008). A short guide to action research. Boston: Pearson.

Mills, G.E. (2011). Action research- a guide for the teacher researcher. Boston:Pearson.

Research Methods Knowledge Base: