Guidelines for Action Research

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“Action research is simply a form of self-reflective enquiry undertaken by participants in social situations in order to improve the rationality and justice of their own practices, their understanding of these practices, and the situations in which the practices are carried out”. (Carr and Kemmis 1986: 162).

The type of research needed for educational practice can best be characterised as research for social management and/or engineering. But if this is the context, the practise can be changed into the concept of educational management with social and or educational engineering.

Educational researchers are drawn to Carr and Kemiss’ understanding of action research because the primary focus of the theory is that of the teacher/practitioner. The idea and ‘modis operandi’ of any teacher/practitioners practise’ is to use self-reflection in day to day planning, and as a way of working, it is very close to the notion of reflective practice coined by Donald Schön (1983).

I will be using Action Research as a method, because I want to change an existing practice that is already present in my current educational establishment.

The systems and structures that I have taken over are not as effective as they could be. I need to implement a range of new initiatives, but I am unsure of how effective the new practice will be or how it may develop.

I would like to achieve a system of research that will ratify any concerns that I either have or may come up against, and will lead to a range of practical solutions that I can utilise. I understand that any practice that I undertake, either educational, or research will be influenced by the context that it is in. Any act of finding a solution will make me understand my own practice better – not ...

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...pothesis. Evaluating, defining and describing the problem(s) to be investigated and the context in which it is to be set. It also describes what all the stakeholders (educators, group members, managers etc.) will/have been/be doing/done.

2. Doing –Interpreting and explaining. Evaluating, analysing and interpreting the action research situation. Reflecting on what participants have been doing. Looking at any areas of success, and any, issues or problems that have arisen..

3. Review – Resolving issues and problems. In the evaluation, judging the effectiveness or appropriateness and outcomes of any activities that have been undertaken. Then to formulate a range of solutions to any problems. (8)

(Stringer 1999)

At the simplest level, therefore, action research involves a spiral or cycle of planning that can be seen as: planning,action, monitoring and reflection:

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