Visualizing Your Action Research Study

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Visualizing Your Action Research Study
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Action research is ongoing and begins when a practitioner has a concern about his or her practice. The goal of action research is to examine professional practice in a way that brings about change.

In this course’s assignments, you will complete an individual, descriptive action research study on a topic, issue, or problem impacting your professional practice. From the presentations, recall that the purpose of descriptive research is to describe the situation; it does not provide guidance on what to do or establish causality. As you consider study ideas, keep it simple – an idea manageable in a four-week timeframe.

During the study, which will span Modules 1 through 4, your goal is to obtain a good grasp of a topic, issue, or problem of concern to you by working through the research steps. On the Learning Objects pages, you will find action research information and other useful links to provide guidance as you undertake your project. Articles on action research are also included in your course readings.

In the course, the action research study will progress as follows:

Module 1: Visualize your action research study by thinking through the process. Decide on a problem, issue, or concern as the focus of your study. Develop an annotated bibliography, or survey of available literature.

Module 2: Begin your action research report: Purpose, problem statement, question(s), and literature review.

Module 3: Continue work on your action research report. Design your data collection plan. Complete two data collection activities.

Module 4: Continue work on your action research report. Analyze the data from the two activities. Draft and share the complete action research report with colleagues. Use feedback as appropriate to revise the report.

Module 5: Reflect on the action research study and future applications.

The goal of this Module 1 assignment is to help you prepare for your action research study. In preparation, you will complete a “Thinking It Through” activity, in which you will visualize the problem, issue, or concern and how the action research study might unfold. Then you will search for sources that provide information on your research idea and create an annotated bibliography of the sources. In Module 2, you will write a formal literature review. You may decide to use some of the sources from your annotated bibliography in your literature review, or you may decide to do a new search.

Course Objectives

 Explain basic research concepts and the role of theories and frameworks in the research process.

 Describe action research, its process, and relationship to practice.

 Describe research dimensions, purposes, methods, designs, and paradigms.

Directions:

1) Review the Module 1 Analysis PDF.

2) Create a Word or text document for your response. Use 12-point Arial or Times New Roman font. Follow APA (6th edition) format.

3) Create a title page and references page in APA (6th edition) format for your research paper.

4) Follow the directions to complete Part 1 and Part 2 of the assignment.

5) Before you submit your document, save a copy. You will refer to this document in Module 2’s assignment.

6) Follow the directions to submit your final Word or text document.

Part 1: Thinking It Through Paper

1. Before you begin work on your action research study, read this “Thinking It Through” scenario. The goal of the scenario is to help you better understand the process of action research; determine an issue, problem, or concern of interest to you, and draft a potential question or questions (no more than three) for your action research project.

Thinking It Through Scenario

I am a teacher in a classroom for 3-year-olds, and I have been concerned that fewer girls than boys select the computer center during free choice time. This question keeps gnawing at me: Why do fewer girls than boys choose to participate in the computer center?

To answer the question, I decide to engage in individual action research that has a descriptive purpose. At this point, I am not concerned with promoting girls’ participation in the center or finding interventions to increase girls’ activity. I just want to describe the situation…to answer my “why” question. From participation, I confirm that three times as many boys as girls select this center by examining how many times this center is selected on the childrens’ free choice charts, so I know my idea has data support.

After collecting background information from the literature, I map out a data collection plan to answer the research question about my observations. I decide to collect qualitative data from three sources: A survey of girls who are in my classroom, a structure observation of the type of activities available on the computers, and an interview with other teachers of 3-year-olds in my area. From the survey tool, I gain children’s opinions about why some girls choose to play in this center and others don’t. From the observations, I study the types of games and activities offered as well as the themes and learning focus found in the activities. From the interview with the other teachers, I gather their observations about their female students and their interest in the computer center.

After collecting the data, I use the technique recommended for organizing qualitative data: I focus on the words or phrases expressed during the research collection process to look for patterns and themes. (NOTE: If I had used a quantitative, or numeric, source, I would have displayed my data in a table or graph.) From the organized data, several patterns or themes emerge. Girls say they don’t select the computer center because they see it as “a boys’ activity,” that the games available do not have themes which would attract their attention.

After summarizing the patterns and themes, I compose a one-page summary of my research. At this point, I am not ready to share my findings with a large group. I just want to meet with a few colleagues to get their ideas, input, and suggestions for future direction. My colleagues like what I have done so far and suggest that I next pursue the question: How can I modify the activities in the computer center to appeal to girls?” A couple of colleagues volunteer to help me with the next phase of my research…Looks like my individual efforts will become collaborative.

2. Thinking It Through Paper: Compose a “Thinking It Through” scenario of 1 to 2 pages for your specific situation. Visualize the problem and how the action research will unfold.

Part 2: Literature Search: Annotated Bibliography

1. In preparation for your action research study, search the Ebsco database for peer-reviewed articles related to the issue, problem, or concern you will address. Locate at least 3 peer-reviewed articles that help you better define your study. When you search, be sure to place a check on the box for “peer reviewed,” so you are sure to use only peer-

reviewed studies. Articles reporting on one or more empirical studies will likely be the most useful, but there are theoretical articles describing

programs, interventions, and methodologies to help you decide on the

appropriate action to take or propose.

2. Develop an annotated bibliography to provide examples of the sources available. You may or may not use these sources in your Module 2 literature review. An annotated bibliography, a preliminary step to a research study, includes a summary and evaluation of each of the sources. For each annotation entry, use the following criteria:

 Organization: List each source in APA (6th edition) format alphabetized by the author’s last name

 Length: One paragraph of 100-150 words

 Person: Third

 Language and vocabulary: Ideas and language of the author; quotation marks for direct quotations

 Format: One paragraph of complete sentences

 Elements:

o Qualifications of author if available (Based on a 10-year study…, Smith suggests…)

o Purpose/Scope

o Audience (Smith addresses organizational leaders interested in employee motivation.)

o Findings/Results/Conclusions

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