Implementing Action Research in the Classroom

Action research takes the normal reflective practice of educational practitioners and adds a dimension of systematic inquiry that helps clarify how their particular classrooms/schools operate, how well they teach and how well their students learn. In this hands-on course, participants will design and implement a simple action research project.

The goals of this course are to facilitate a deeper understanding of action research, and provide resources and information that will inform such an inquiry and guide participants through each step of a simple action research project in their own educational setting. Educators will complete an action research project and receive instructor feedback throughout the project in this 14-week facilitated course. At the end of the project, participants will complete a short written report.

14 weeks, 4.0 CEUs

Currently scheduled sections

Instructional goals and learning objectives

  1. To help participants gain a basic understanding of action research and its relationship to professional development.

    Participants will:

    • understand what action research is and the basic principles behind it.
    • know how action research can help analyze how their particular classrooms/schools operate, how well they teach and how well their students learn
  2. To facilitate a deeper understanding of action research and to provide resources and information that will inform such an inquiry. Participants will learn about each step of the action research process so that they are then ready to conduct an inquiry in their own educational setting.

    Participants will know how to:

    • design an action research project
    • formulate a focus question
    • investigate different research strategies
    • choose appropriate data collection methods
    • conduct data analysis
    • interpret results
    • make recommendations and conclusions based on the action research

Alignment to North Carolina standards

Course schedule

  1. Week 1:Introduction to Action Research
    1. What Does Action Research Look Like in Practice?
      Activity: Discussion forum, journal reflection.
      Discussion Forum: Action Research in Asheville
  2. Week 2: What Is Action Research?
    1. Defining Action Research
      Discussion Forum: About Action Research
      Discussion Forum: Social Nature of Action Research
      Discussion Forum: Action Research as PD
    2. Ethics and Action Research
  3. Week 3: Determining an Area of Focus
    1. Identifying and Refining your Question
      Discussion Forum: Area of Focus Statement Submission
  4. Week 4: Writing a Professional Article Summary
    1. Completing your Professional Article Summary
      Discussion Forum: Professional Article Summary Submission
  5. Week 5: Writing up your Action Research Plan
    1. Writing up your Action Research Plan
      Discussion Forum: Submitting your Action Research Plan
  6. Week 6. Data Collection Overview, Qualitative Data

    For the next three weeks, we will focus on the theoretical background and knowledge that will be needed when you implement your strategy, collect, analyze and interpret data. After the theory part, you will have 3 weeks to actually implement your strategy, collect, analyze and interpret data.

    In this section we will start by taking a look at qualitative data and data collection techniques you can use in your action research.

    1. Introduction to Qualitative and Quantitative Research
    2. Qualitative Data Collection
      Discussion Forum: Discussion Forum on Qualitative Data Collection Techniques
  7. Week 7. Quantitative Data, Other Data Considerations

    In this section we will take a look at quantitative data and data collection techniques you can use in your action research.

    1. Quantitative Data Collection
      Discussion Forum: Discussion Forum on Quantitative Data Collection Techniques

    2. Other Data Collection Considerations
  8. Week 8. Analyzing your Data

    In this section of the course we will be looking at techniques for analyzing qualitative and quantitative data.

    1. Data Analysis
      Discussion Forum: Submitting your Revised Action Research Plan
      Discussion Forum: Hidden from students: Analysis and Interpretation
  9. Week 9. Implementing Your Plan and Starting Data Collection

    Now is the time to move from theory to practice and start implementing your plan, i.e. implementing your strategy in your classroom, collecting data and analysing it. Start this week by implementing your strategy and collecting data.

    1. Implementing your plan
      Discussion Forum: Specific Questions Regarding Your Research
      Discussion Forum: First week implementation update
  10. Week 10: Implementing Plan and Collecting Data (2nd week)

    Complete implementation of your strategy and collecting data.

    1. Implementing your Plan: Week 2
      Discussion Forum: Second week implementation update
  11. Week 11: Analyzing your Data and Summarizing Your Findings

    By now you should have completed data collection. This week analyze your data and interpret your results.

    1. Analyzing Your Data
      Discussion Forum: Your Project Data Analysis and Interpretation
  12. Week 12: Planning Action and Writing your Results

    In this section of the course, we will look at how you can plan for what to do once you have your project completed. We will look at standards and models for writing and publishing your action research as well as strategies for managing the writing process. You will start writing up a brief paper on your project.

    1. Drawing Conclusions and Planning for Action
    2. Why Write Up Your Research? And How?
      Discussion Forum: Writing Style and Teacher Learning
    3. The Writing Process
      Discussion Forum: Writing Strategies
    4. Revising, Polishing, Publishing
    5. Writing Your Report
      Discussion Forum: Issues Forum: Writing Up Your Research
  13. Week 13: Report Submission
    1. Finish writing your plan and submit it for peer review.
      Workshop: Action Research Report Submission and Peer Review. This is where you will submit your final written report. Please make sure you use the format provided. A rubric is provided to guide expectations for this report. The report will be peer reviewed as well as assessed by the instructor.
  14. Week 14: Peer Review and Conclusion
    1. Conclusion
      Discussion Forum: Next Steps