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Change Begins with You: What Action Research Is and How to Fund It. Caroline Herbert, Chairperson NCSLMA Research Committee October 30, 2008. What is Action Research?.

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Change begins with you what action research is and how to fund it

Change Begins with You: What Action Research Is and How to Fund It

Caroline Herbert, Chairperson NCSLMA Research Committee

October 30, 2008

What is action research
What is Action Research? Fund It

  • According to IMPACT: “Action research involves the in-depth study of one’s own classroom or school over an established period of time.”

  • From Action Research: A Guide for Library Media Specialists: “Action research is the vehicle the library media specialist uses to analyze a situation and determine what needs to be done to address the issue.”

Benefits of action research
Benefits of Action Research Fund It

  • Reflective practice leads to the further development and improvement of our programs.

  • It confirms that our programs promote student achievement.

  • It is a personal solution to problems in the school; problem solving at the local level.

Disadvantages of action research
Disadvantages of Action Research Fund It

  • Data collection does take time.

  • Reliability and validity could be concerns.

  • No university backing.

So how do i choose a topic
So, How Do I Choose a Topic? Fund It

  • What’s your “itch”?

  • Does the topic revolve around student achievement?

  • Is the topic within your professional scope?

  • Does it just deal with the library program or the school as a whole?

  • Reflective writing can be helpful.

From itch to research question
From “Itch” to Research Question Fund It

  • Develop a problem statement.

  • Brainstorm all of the possible questions.

  • Choose the question that most matches what you want to achieve.

Sample research questions
Sample Research Questions Fund It

  • How does a flexible schedule affect student achievement?

  • How does allowing students to place materials on hold affect library use?

  • What happens if the circulation period is changed from two weeks to four weeks?

  • How does Sustained Silent Reading impact students’ love of reading?

  • What instruction is needed to increase the use of online databases?

How will i collect the data
How Will I Collect the Data? Fund It

  • Collecting data from more than one source increases the reliability and validity of the study.

  • Possible sources of data: questionnaires, interviews, observations, and archival data.

  • Develop data collection methods to focus on your research question.

Questionnaires Fund It

  • Quick and easy way to gather large amounts of data

  • Include different types of questions (what do you know, what do you think, how do you feel)

  • Questions can be open-ended or closed-response

  • Avoid leading questions

Interviews Fund It

  • You are able to ask clarifying or elaborative questions.

  • You are able to collect information from those who would not or could not fill out a questionnaire.

  • Can be time-consuming.

  • Can unintentionally cause bias in answers due to lack of anonymity.

Observations Fund It

  • You can actively or passively observe.

  • You can use a checklist.

  • You can see what is actually happening not just what is being reported.

  • Data can be videotaped for later study.

Archival data
Archival Data Fund It

  • Examples are data in cumulative folders, student test data, circulation statistics, etc.

  • Less subjective than other types of data.

  • Be careful to uphold the confidentiality of such records.

Determining outcomes
Determining Outcomes Fund It

  • Take the analyzed data and plan your next steps.

  • How will this research be used to improve programs?

  • Can this research be generalized to other libraries or settings?

  • What recommendations can be made based on the findings?

Tooting your own horn
Tooting Your Own Horn Fund It

  • Share your results!

  • Present the results to your staff.

  • Share your findings at a district-wide meeting.

  • Share your findings at a professional conference.

  • Publish your findings in a professional journal.

Ok i think i m ready now what
OK, I Think I’m Ready! Now What? Fund It

  • The NCSLMA Action Research Grant

    • A brief history

    • Goal of the program

  • The Action Research Grant is up to a $1,000 grant to fund the Action Research project of one NCSLMA member per school year.

Action research grant timeline
Action Research Grant Timeline Fund It

  • Jan. 2009– Request for Proposals is broadcast to the NCSLMA membership

  • Apr. 2009 – Proposals due to the Research Committee chairperson

  • May 2009 – Research Committee reviews and scores the proposals

  • June 2009 – Winner is announced!

  • Aug. 2009-May 2010 – Project is implemented, research conducted

  • August 2010 – Submit article to NCSLMA newsletter

  • November 2010 – Present findings at NCSLMA conference

Useful resources
Useful Resources Fund It

  • Farmer, L.S.J. (2003). How to Conduct Action Research: A Guide for Library Media Specialists. Chicago, IL: American Library Association.

  • Howard, J.K. & Eckhardt, S.A. (2005). Action Research: A Guide for Library Media Specialists. Worthington, OH: Linworth Publishing.

  • Sykes, J.A. (2000). Action research: A Practical Guide for Transforming Your School Library. Greenwood Village, CO: Libraries Unlimited.

Useful websites
Useful Websites Fund It

  • Action Research


  • Classroom Action Research Overview


  • David V. Loertscher’s Website


  • Seven Stages in My First Action Research Project


Questions? Fund It

  • Ask now!

  • Contact me later:

    Caroline Herbert, Media Coordinator

    Oak Grove Elementary School

    3810 Wake Forest Rd.

    Durham, NC 27703

    (919) 560-3960, ext. 60235

    [email protected]