Teacher Action Research Workshop 1: An Overview. EARCOS Teachers’ Conference 28 -31 March 2012 Donna Kalmbach Phillips, Ph.D. Pacific University, OR USA.
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EARCOS Teachers’ Conference
28 -31 March 2012
Donna Kalmbach Phillips, Ph.D.
Pacific University, OR USA
This interactive workshop is designed to answer the question,What is teacher action research?Attendees will define action research, understand the usefulness of action research to classroom teachers and gain a broad perspective of how action research is implemented.
Reading Engagement, Achievement, and Moral Development in Adolescence
Gay Ivey & Peter Johnston (2010)
Reading as Relational
How does full engagement in books that bear relevance to young adults’ lives have consequential implications beyond reading words faster & increased comprehension?
Young adults read “edgy”
“Formative Experiment” (Reinking & Bradley, 2008):
“This is an approach that is focused on changing and improving pedagogical practices in order to reach specified pedagogical goals or outcomes, and is thus helpful for researchers who are committed to improving educational outcomes for children as opposed to simply engaging in ‘pure’ or ‘basic’ research.”
Design: Increase engaged reading & social imagination
Intervention: Self-selected reading, “edgy texts”
Instructional Intervention: build engagement; reduce whole-class teaching; daily read-alouds of student preferred texts (strategy conversations)
(Reading Logs & Writing)
Teacher Action Research
How Paradigm (Epistemology) Matters
Validity and reliability in quantitative research are generally established by:
The “objectivity” of a researcher is highly contested:
The very act of choosing a research methodology is an act of subjectivity; “reason” is suspect.
These are limited and very brief representations of quantitative research. Do you want to know more? See any of these authors:
Coladarci, Cobb, Minium, & Clarke, (2004); Gall, Borg, & Gall (2003);
Qualitative research embodies multiple methodologies – narrative, participatory, historical, feminists (to name only a few) and therefore defies easy definition.
(See Whitt, 1991 for more on this)
“Trustworthiness” (the generally used term to describe the equivalent of “validity” and “reliability” in quantitative research) is usually established through:
Multiple viewpoints as presented in data sets from multiple sources (triangulation)
“Thick description” or research narrative rich with contextual and situational details based upon well-documented raw data
Deliberate and systematic data collection and interpretation
Clear connection to literature (research & theory)
Transparency of researcher’s beliefs, biases & positions
Practicing critical reflexivity
Quantitative and Qualitative
are not always isolated.
Mixed methodologies combine quantitative and qualitative methods.
Martha, a school district math curriculum specialist, became concerned about the ways in which the district math curriculum was being implemented by the over 250 individual elementary math teachers in her district. She heard rumors and reports that teachers varied greatly in their implementation of the curriculum, and wished to gather information and be equipped to make recommendations to the superintendent. She began by developing and administering a quantitative survey in which teachers were asked to self-report, anonymously, their opinions and usage of the district math curriculum. Results from the survey were tabulated and statistics generated, showing means, trends, and correlations between the survey items. Then, focus groups were held and recorded in which teachers discussed the district math curriculum, including their opinions about what they would change, what they like and dislike, and what they would need in order to be better prepared to fully use the curriculum. These conversations were transcribed to help Martha better read and understand the content, and a software application was used to highlight words and phrases of interest. Finally, Martha used both the quantitative survey results and qualitative analysis of the discussion data to draw conclusions about the math curriculum and make her report.
What was useful about the survey Martha gave? How are the survey data limited?
“Action research is a form of teaching; a form of reflective practice and professional learning founded on an ethical commitment to improving practice and realizing educational values. AR involves individual and groups identifying areas for improvement, generating ideas, and testing these ideas in practice.”Arhar, Holly & Kasten, 2001
“Action Research…is about taking everyday things in the life of education and unpacking them for their historical and ideological baggage…It highlights process with content, rather than content alone. It allows for a focus on teaching, in addition to student outcomes, and on the interplay between the two.” Noffke, 1995
8) relies upon democratic and ethical principles that value and respect all participants
9) focuses on a single place of inquiry (context matters)
10)features the teacher-researcher as participant…and is, therefore, most likely a combination of self-study, ethnography, and integrated action.
AR Data Interpretation
Collect Data Set
What I will
do in my AR
reread ongoing data
analysis & memos
will I collect?
Create mind maps,
charts, and/or timelines;
Organize and read
Think about the data
Chart, free write,cluster
process the data in the
Use AR question as
area of focus
How will I
collect the data?
Expand your interpretation
How will I
Apply layers of
Write AR memo
Draft synthesis statements
Return to the questions
We research our own issues, meaningful in our current life and practice. We pursue critical questions that resonate with our professional community and have the potential to improve teaching, learning and life.
Trustworthy Action Research Design
Framing the Study
Data Analysis, Interpretation
Discover an Area of
Criteria for Trustworthiness
Develop a critical Question
Cycle & Strategies
Final Data Interpretation
Charts from Slides 20-11; 26-28; 33-39; 42-46:
Phillips, D. K. & Carr, K. (2010). Becoming a teacher through action research: Process, context, and self-study. NY: Roultedge. (and just to make sure there is no conflict here, yes, the Phillips, is me.)
Quantitative Research References:
Coladarci, T., Cobb, C.D., Minium, E. W. & Clarke, R.C (2004) Fundamentals of statistical reasoning in education. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Gall, M.E. Borg, W.R., & Gall, J.P. (2003). Educational research: An introduction (7th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Goarard, S. (2001). Quantitative methods in educational research: The role of numbers made easy. London: Continuum.
Qualitative Research References:
Denzin, N.K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (Eds.). (2003). The landscape of qualitative research: Theories and issues (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Johnson, R.B. (1997). Examining the validity structure of qualitative research. Education, 118(2). 282-291
Lincoln Y.S., & Guba, E.G. (1985) Naturalistic inquiry. CA: Sage.
Whitt, E.J. (1991). Artful science: A primer on qualitative research methods. Journal of College Student Development, 32, 406-415.