Tuesday, December 6, 2011

ആക്ഷന്‍ റിസര്‍ച്ച് ട്രെയിനിംഗ്

ACTION RESEARCH TRAINING MODULE

MODULE 1

UNDERSTANDING ACTION RESEARCH
OBJECTIVES
After going through this module you will be able to:


1. Explain the relevance/importance Action Research
2. Explain the concept of Action Research
3. state characteristics of Action Research
4. List out the steps of Action Research
INTRODUCTION

Educational Technology is an integral part of Education specially teacher education. You are using various educational technologies (both hardware and software) in your day to day teaching. While using these techniques or gadgets you face different kind of difficulties.

You are teaching in classrooms, by using various teaching aids, preparing assignments and assessment papers for periodical as well as terminal examinations. You evaluate the student performance through various means.

While performing day to day activities you might have come across various problems related to identification of software/hardware, appropriateness, operations, applications and utilizations etc.
One way to find the solution of such problems is through literature or research surveys. But many a time nature of such problem is very specific. It is specific to situation, time, location, method etc. You may not get readymade solutions of such problems through available literature. For this one may have to do ACTION RESEARCH.

IMPORTANCE OF ACTION RESEARCH


We use Action Research because we wish to change/improve our practice. You may be concerned that things might not be going as you wish, or you may need to implement a new initiative but you are not to sure how to do it effectively. What you want is sorting out these concerns to find out some practical solutions, but that derives from the specific circumstances of your practice. You know that someone else’s solution may have merit, but it is never quite right for the individual situation within which you work. You know that practice is always influenced by context.
Suppose that your problem is “My Seventh period class bounces off the walls. They are the most disobedient class that I have ever had. How can I keep that class on track?" All teachers face a "Seventh period" occasionally. Our challenge is to work through this difficult classroom situation to achieve effective teaching and learning! But that is often not easy to do. If we can't identify the root cause of the problem, changing it is unlikely. We ask ourselves, "What can be done to improve classroom management and help to give positive effect on student learning?" Action Research may be the answer.
There are questions for you
Do you want your students to perform better?
Do you wonder why your students act and behave the way they do?
Do you discuss about teaching with your fellow teachers?
Do you think about changes in your style of teaching?
Is classroom management bothering you?
Do you wish students enjoyed being in your classroom?
If your response is yes, Action research is the answer.


ACTION RESEARCH: CONCEPT
Ramesh and Rukshna are teachers at one of the school at Indore. Ramesh is always tense about the non enrolment of large number of children in the country. In other words out of school children are his worry. He wanted to conduct a big research study, a survey for knowing the reasons for non enrolment and suggest the planner to improve the policy of primary education to modify on the basis of findings.
Whereas, Rukshna observed that students are not scored good marks in mathematics during the last two terminal exams. Now she is worried to improve the achievement level of students in mathematics for her class. So she decided to conduct a small study of three months to know the possible reasons of students for not being taking interest in Mathematics.
In first situation Ramesh is worried for a big national issue which nation were facing since long. He wants to conduct a study on a large scale so that he can find out what are the reasons behind this problem. He also wants to develop some principles on the basis of finding through which we may increase enrolment throughout the country. All these characteristics are elements of fundamental research. In short the Ramesh wants to conduct fundamental research.
Whereas in second situation Rukshna is bothered about the current class room problem which she is facing since last two terms. She wants a workable solution on the basis of a small study. Through which she wants to improve her own practices. All these are characteristics of Action Research. In other words she wants to conduct Action Research.
With the help of above example you must have some idea about the action research. You may be aware about the action research in education. It has gained increasing attention during the past few decades It is popular across a wide variety of disciplines too. Action research is a method based on people’s real world experience. It is an approach to introducing problem identification, action planning, implementation, evaluation, and reflection into your teaching (Johnson, 1993). Action research is a learning process that allows learning and creation of knowledge through critical reflection on experiences, forming abstract concepts, and testing the implications of these concepts in new situations. It is a way of scientifically examining the way we teach and how we can do it better, for positive student outcomes - we learn by doing!It was designed specifically to bridge the gap between the theory, research and practice and incorporates both humanistic and naturalistic scientific methods. A variety of approaches, definitions and uses have emerged since it was created by Kurt Lewin and have given rise to much debate within social and behavioral sciences.According to Kurt Lewin, action research is “a comparative research on the conditions and effects of various forms of social action and research leading to social action”; this type of research uses “a spiral step,” each of which is “composed of a circle of planning, action and fact-finding about the result of the action”.
If you have developed a multimedia package on mathematics and want to know its effectiveness, you may have a study of effectiveness of multimedia package in mathematics for elementary children.
Carr and Kemmis (1986) describe action research as being about:
the improvement of practice;
the improvement of the understanding of practice;
the improvement of the situation in which the practice takes place
Action research is usually implemented in a specific classroom by a particular teacher

group of teachers who work together (and in collaboration with students) to pursue a change

improvement in their teaching and learning issues.
CHECK YOUR PROGRESS - 1
1. Action research is the improvement in _____
Theory
Practices
2. Action research is participant driven, reflective and _____
Collaborative
Solitary
3. _______ is a method that based on people's real world experience
Fundamental
Action Research
4. Action Research was created by Kurt Lewin
True
False
5. Action Research is not conducted in specific context
True
False
6. Fundamental research is done by outside specialists, while action research is done by people who want to evaluate their own work situation
True
False
7 . The purpose of Action Research is to:
Improve theory
Generate theory
Improve practic
Invent principle

CHARACTERISTICS
McDonough proposes four characteristics of ‘pure’ action research as follows:
It is participant-driven and reflective
It is collaborative;
It leads to change and the improvement of practice not just knowledge in itself
It is context-specific.

Mertler, Craig A. (2006) in his book “Action Research: Teachers and Researchers in the classroom” compiled many characteristics of action Research given by Johnsons (2005) Mertler & Charles, (2005), Mills (2003) and Schmuck (1997) etc. According to them characteristics of Action Research is
Action Research is a process that improves education, in general, by incorporating change.
Action Research is a process involving educators working together to improve their own practices.
Action Research is a persuasive and authoritative, since it is done by teachers for teachers
Action Research is collaborative; that is, it is composed of educators talking of educators and working with other educators in empowering relationship.
Action Research is participative, since educators are integral members-not disinterested outside of the research process
Action Research is practical and relevant to classroom teachers, since it allows them direct access to research findings.
Action Research is developing critical reflection about one’s teaching.
Action Research is planned, systematic approach to understanding the learning process
Action Research is a process that requires us to”test” out ideas about education.
Action Research is open minded.
Action Research is a critical analysis of educational places of work.
Action Research is a cyclical process of planning, acting, developing and reflecting.
Action Research is a justification of one’s teaching practices.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ACTION RESEARCH AND FUNDAMENTAL RESEARCH
According to Corey the basic difference between Action research and fundamental research:
S.No.
Fundamental Research
Action Research
1
Fundamental research is usually conducted to established broad generalizations.
Action research is conduced to improve practices.
2
Fundamental research is done by outside specialists.
Action Research is done by people who want to evaluate their own work situation.
3
Fundamental research is based on the belief that the dissemination of research results in an effective way to improve educational practices.
Action research represents the belief that teachers are more apt to learn by their own experimentation and evaluation.

CHECK YOUR PROGRESS - 2
1. Action Research is not a justification of one's teaching practices
True
False
2. Action Research is uncooperative
True
False
3. Action Research is critical analysis of educational theory
True
False
4. Action Research is Practical and relevant to class room teachers
True
False
5. Action Research is a process involving educators working together to improve their own practices
True
False
6. Action Research is never context-specific
True
False
7. Fundamental research is usually conducted to established broad generalizations whereas Action Research is conducted to improve practices
True
False
8. Fundamental research is done by people who want to evaluate their own work situation, whereas Action Research is done by out side specialists
True
False

FIVE Cs BY BORGIA AND SCHULER
Borgia and Schuler describe components of Action Research as "five Cs". These are presented in the picture


Fig. 1 Five Cs of AR
(Borgia and Schuler,Action Research in Early childhood education; University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 1996)

Commitment: Time commitment should be carefully considered by participants of action research since it takes them time to get acquaintance with other participants, think about change, try new approach, collect data, interpret results, etc.
Collaboration: In an action research all participants are equal to each others in terms of giving ideas, suggestions or anything that leads to success of the change.
Concern: In the research process, participants will built up a group of “Critical friends” who trust each other and the value of the project.
Consideration: A reflective practice is a mindful review of a professional research like action research. It demands concentration and careful
Consideration as one seeks patterns and relationships that will create meaning within the investigation.
Change: For humans, especially teachers, change is continuing and it is a significant element in remaining their effectiveness.
MERITS OF ACTION RESEARCH
Pal, H.R. (2004) in his book Educational Research gave the following merits of Action Research:
Action research has behavioral utility because it gives immediate solution to the problem.
Action Research is a process which, in every phase, has close contact with the reality of problem solving (Best 1963)
In Action Research the researcher use sample, tools and statistical techniques according to his/her researching ability and available resources.
Teachers, supervisors and administrators use action research to improve their activities and decisions. (Goods, 1959)
Significance of the findings are not necessary in action research because its utility is only up to the subjects of researcher.
TYPES OF ACTION RESEARCH
Creswell (2005) defines two types of Action Research as follows:
Practical Action Research
Participatory Action Research
Practical action research is used in situations in which teacher researchers "seek to enhance the practice of education through the systematic study of a local problem." It usually involves a small-case study research project, narrowly directs at a specific problem or issue and is undertaken by individual teachers or team with in a particular education setting. For example "Effectiveness of workshop strategies in conducting training programs".
Participatory action research is usually implemented in large scale to improve "the quality of people’s organization, communities and family lives". Namely, it has a "Social and community orientation" and it focuses on research that "contributes to emancipation or change in our society. For example a study of impact of computer supported peer collaboration on learning of students".


Practical Action Research
Participatory Action Research
Studying local practices
Involving individual or team-base inquiry
Focusing on teacher development and student learning
Implementing a plan of action
Leading to the teacher and researcher
Studying social issues that constrain individual lives
Emphasizing “equal” collaboration
Focusing on “Life-enhancing “ change
Resulting in the emancipated researchers

CHECK YOUR PROGRESS - 3
1. Action Research is criticized because
It can not be generalized
Due to lack of time
Due to lack of knowledge of research
All the above
2. What are the areas where you can apply the action research?
Teaching theory
Performing Practical
Evaluation
Research
All the above
STEPS OF ACTION RESEARCH
The Most common steps of Action Research are:
Identification of Problem: This step include Title of the study, Objectives formulated for the study and Variable of the study
Formulation of Hypothesis: The Hypothesis always not necessary and therefore it is optional
Data Collection: The data collection steps includes The sample of the studyTools developed/identified for the study Methods of the study
Data analysis: This step of the study indicates what kind of statistical techniques will be utilized for analysis of the study.
Findings: The last step of the study is finding which is very important and need to be presented in systematic manner
The details of the steps of Action Research will be dealt in module 3.
STEPS OF ACTION RESEARCH
The Most common steps of Action Research are:
Identification of Problem: This step include Title of the study, Objectives formulated for the study and Variable of the study
Formulation of Hypothesis: The Hypothesis always not necessary and therefore it is optional
Data Collection: The data collection steps includes The sample of the studyTools developed/identified for the study Methods of the study
Data analysis: This step of the study indicates what kind of statistical techniques will be utilized for analysis of the study.
Findings: The last step of the study is finding which is very important and need to be presented in systematic manner
The details of the steps of Action Research will be dealt in module 3.
REFERENCES
Best, John, W. Research in Education USA Prentice Hall Inc. Englewood Cliffs, 1963
Borgia, E.T. and Schuler, Action Research in Early childhood education; University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 1996
Carr.W. Kemmis, S., Becoming critical: Education knowledge and action research, Palmer Press, London, 1986.
Corey, Stephen Curriculum Development through Action Research ; Educational Leadership, December, 1949
Corey, Stephen M., Action Research to improve school practices; ; Bureau of Publications, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, 1953
Cresswell, J.W, Educational Research , Planning conducting and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research, Prentice Hall, New Jersey, 2005
Donough, J.Mc and Donough, S.Mc, Research Methods for English Language teaching Arnold, Delhi-1997
Good, Carter.V Essentails of Educational Research, New York: Appleton-century-croffts, 1972
Hien, Tran Thi Thu, Why is Action Research suitable for education? VNU Journal of Science, foreign Languages 25 (2009)
Hitchcock, Graham and Hughes, David Research and the teacher: a qualitative introduction to school-based research; Routledge , 11 New Fetter Lane, London 1995
Hopkins D.; a teacher guide to classroom research open university press, Philadelphia, 1985
Johnson, Beverly (1993) Teacher-As-Researcher. ERIC Clearinghouse on Teacher Education. Washington DC.
Kurt, Lewin, Action research and minority problems, Journal of Social Issues 2(1946)
Kumar, Kuldeep, Training Models on Action Research Technology; NCERT, New Delhi, 1997
Mertler, Craig A., Action Research: Teachers and Researchers in the classroomPal, H.R, Educational Research, Madhya Pradesh Hindi Granth Academy, RNT Marg, Banganga Bhopal, 2004
Shumsky, Abraham, The Action Research Way of Learning: An approach to In-Service Education; Bureau of Publications, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, 1959

MODULE 3




Educational Action Research – Process

Objectives:


After going through this Module you will able to ---

1) Describe the process of Action Research in general. 2) Explain steps in the Action Research process.3) Substantiate the nature of Action Research Process.4) Compare Process of Action research with that of Experimental Research.5) Justify the type of sample of Action Research.
INTRODUCTION
Remember friends, the objects of Educational Research are the educational practices. These practices are not construed by Action Researchers as ‘phenomena’, nor as ‘treatments’, nor as ‘expressions of practitioners’ intentions and perspectives’. Practice as understood by the Action Researchers is the commitment of the practitioner to take wise and prudent action in a practical situation. Action Research, thus, must be research into one’s own practice.
Check Your Progress 1
Which of the following is not the problem of Action Research?
Top of Form
Students absorb information given by me, like a sponge.
They never inquire about anything. What is lacking in my way of teaching?
Students don’t take interest in extra curricular reading. What are their difficulties?
In many schools percentage of students failing in mathematics is alarming.
Teachers do not opt for a research project and apply for research grant. What can I do?
In what way I can make teachers more accountable to their duties?
Bottom of Form
Action Research Process :
You will notice that Explanations of Action Research Process are available as many as the researchers in this field. We will see only some of them here.
While going through them try to find whether there is any commonness among them.
Let us first of all see the Steps in the Action Research Process

1) Hilda Taba suggested following steps.
-Identifying problems -Analysis of Problems -Formulating ideas or hypothesis -Implementation/action -Collecting data -Evaluating the results
Can you place these steps under one head?
Feedback
2) Carr and Kemmis also explained the Action Research process stepwise. You will find that it consists of following four linear Steps –
The researcher has to decide what needs to be done in order to bring about the desired change. Accordingly he/she has to plan for its implementation. Then that plan is actually brought into practice. Subsequent to this the researcher observes/studies effects of the action taken and decides efficacy of the action in the light of the objective.
Can you guess the steps involved in the Process? Name them.
Feedback

Is it possible to make their pictorial presentation? Try and click on feedback button.
Feedback
Following these steps if the objective is not achieved, then? Suggest the way out.
Feedback
3). Kurt Lewin: Now we will see one more explanation. Kurt Lewin a social psychologist in his seminal work explained the process of Action Research composed of stages and suggested four Steps in each of these stages. The number of stages required is not fixed. It depends upon whether the objective of the treatment/action is achieved or not. If in the first stage itself, expected results are obtained then there is no need of going further. If that is not the case then a different alternative is to be incorporated as additional input and again the researcher has to reflect upon the situation. If it works well then the researcher has to ‘stop’ otherwise he/she has to enter one more stage with a new alternative from the list prepared in the beginning and follow four steps.
Activity - Try to depict the stages in this stepwise process. Check your diagrammatic representation with the following one. Is it different?
Feedback

Stage 1
Stage 2

FEEDBACK
4) Now we will see the Process of Action Research described by Jack Whitehead.
*Write following jumbled statements into a sequential manner.i) I imagine a solution to the problem.ii) I experience a problem when some educational values are denied in practice.iii) I evaluate the outcome of my action.iv) I reformulate the problem in the light of my evaluation.v) I implement the imagined solution.
FEEDBACK
Jack Whitehead reformed the action reflection cycle into a pattern of statements as exactly your answer to the above question. Read them carefully.
a) I experience a problem when some educational values are denied in practice.b) I imagine a solution to the problem.c) I implement the imagined solution.d) I evaluate the outcome of my action.e) I reformulate the problem in the light of my evaluation.
These statements regarding the process of Action Research are self explanatory. How do you interpret? They also support the steps ‘plan, act, observe, reflect’ suggested earlier.
In comparison with the process stated by Hilda Taba, Whitehead makes a little difference. What is that?
Answer -: Except the last statement suggested by Jack Whitehead all other steps are common. The last statement ‘I reformulate the problem in the light of my evaluation’ gives new dimension to the Process of Action Research.

The Process of Action Research – a consolidation
In view of the various types of explanations of the Process of Action Research now we are in a position to conclude. This is possible only because they do not contradict but support each other.
In any research we have to start with the Identification of the Problem. There is certain number of steps (4) in the Process of Action Research. Some experts as we saw have suggested more than 4 statements. However, some of the statements can be very well clubbed to arrive at number 4. Also, there is a fixed sequence to be followed. It is possible to present this information regarding the Process of Action Research in diagrammatic form.
Activity
Draw a flow chart representing the process of Action Research. Take care that steps and stages get properly accommodated.

Study the flow chart given below. Compare it with yours.

picture


Is there any difference? Why? Can we have different flow charts to explain the same process?
Steps in Action Research:

picture


Can you give meaning to these steps and their direction from this flow chart?
Let us try to reply –
- After identifying and formulating the research problem the next obvious step is to list down probable alternative solutions and write them in a hierarchical manner.- The researcher has to select the one, most effective in his/her opinion, for implementation. This helps to state the hypothesis (as hypothesis is a tentative solution to the problem).- Then it is imperative for the researcher to design a plan for implementation of the strategy and to test the hypothesis. - The implementation is to be carried out in natural setting as the researcher (the teacher) aspires to improve the situation of which he/she is a part by way of improving/changing own practices. This implies appropriate and suitable action. For implementation of the plan there is no need to make deliberate efforts to select a sample as the researcher is working in the usual, routine setup. - The next step pertains to observations. The information (data) may be collected employing observation schedule, interview schedule, a test or referring to documents such as diaries, notes or reactions.- On the basis of the analysis of the data and in the light of the hypothesis the researcher keeps reflecting (thinks critically) and decides whether the objective is achieved or not. If it is achieved to some extent then the researcher has to select next alternative in the already prepared list and repeat the steps. This goes on till the objective is achieved completely. This makes the process of Action Research a cyclic one. Unless and until the problem is solved completely it is caught in a loop.

Write characteristics of the Process of Action Research.
ANSWER
Myths about Action Research Process:
By this time perhaps you must be wondering whether Action research follows Experimental Research Process.
The methodology of Action Research resembles experimental research in the sense that it also introduces a cause into the situation and studies its effects. However it is not the end of action research.
Here is one illustration to explain this.
The researcher finds her students are not performing up to the mark in ‘punctuation’ in spite of telling them all the rules. She is sensitive of the situation, worried about her method of teaching and desperate to improve that. She introspects and retrospect, makes it a point to change her usual method.
She jots down various ways which can be adopted and selects one of them, the most applicable one as per the experts’ advice. She prepares a self learning kit and administers to those are lagging behind. She is not worried about the sampling as she knows and she is sure that she has to work for those who are not performing as expected. She finds that works well, barring a small number, with almost all. However, she does not stop there. Perhaps on a group test she would have achieved her objective but she concentrates on individual performance.
She thinks and rethinks to find the way out, selects another solution from the list she prepared in the beginning. For those who still did not reach the destination she implements cooperative learning strategy.
Again she tests these many students only. She gets satisfactory results. Then only she stops.
She gets a clue as to what exactly she should do in future if such a situation arises.
Write in your own words what a Researcher is supposed to do in the Process of Action Research as understood by you.
The researcher in Action Research, embarks on a course of action strategically (deliberately experimenting with practice while aiming simultaneously for improvement in the practice, understanding of the practice and the situation in which the practice occurs), monitors the action, the circumstances under which it occurs and its consequences. After this the researcher reconstructs an interpretation of the action in context as basis for action to be taken in future.
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Select the most appropriate option from the given options –
Top of Form
In action research a -------- is the researcher.
(a) Subject expert (b) Research student (c) Teacher
Bottom of Form
Top of Form
ii) Action research is a -------- enquiry
(a) Self rewarding (b) Self reflective (c) Self rationalizing
Bottom of Form
Top of Form
iii) Action Research is --- in nature.
(a) Quantitative(b) Qualitative(c ) Quantitative or Qualitative
Bottom of Form
Top of Form
iv) The process of action Research is ----.
(a) One shot(b) Cyclic(c) Unending
Bottom of Form
Top of Form
v) The Action Research adopts methodology -----.
(a) Of its own(b) Of experimental research(c) Of educational research.
Bottom of Form
Top of Form
vi) The focus of Action Research is invariably ----.
(a) Everyone in the group(b) The few(c) The group as a whole
Bottom of Form
For Additional Reading
Books -Keeves P John , ‘Educational Research , Methodology and Measurement’, An International Handbook , Pergamon Press . U K , 1988 .McKernan James, International Encyclopedia of Higher Education, Volum 5,‘Curriculum Action Research’, Crest Publishing House, Kogan Page Pvt Ltd, India, 2003.McNiff Jean . ‘ Action Research :Principles and Practice ‘ , McMillan Education Ltd , 1988 Schmuck Richard A. ‘Practical Action Research For Change’, Corwin Press, Inc. Sage Publication Company, California, 2006
Websites - i) URL:http//www.aol.org/rel/sch/serv/action.htm ii) URL:http://www.scu.edu.au/schools/gcm/ar/whatisar.html iii) URL:http://www.usd384.k12.ls.us/friesen/trpreso/ts/doo3.htm iv) URL:http://www/ioe.ac.uk/hgm/issues/sessg/sldoo8.htm

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