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When teachers have convincing evidence that their work has made a real difference in their students' lives, the countless hours and endless efforts of teaching seem worthwhile.Educational action research can be engaged in by a single teacher, by a group of colleagues who share an interest in a common problem, or by the entire faculty of a school.
Selecting a focus begins with the teacher researcher or the team of action researchers asking: The second step involves identifying the values, beliefs, and theoretical perspectives the researchers hold relating to their focus.
For example, if teachers are concerned about increasing responsible classroom behavior, it will be helpful for them to begin by clarifying which approach—using punishments and rewards, allowing students to experience the natural consequences of their behaviors, or some other strategy—they feel will work best in helping students acquire responsible classroom behavior habits.
Basically, triangulation means using multiple independent sources of data to answer one's questions.
Triangulation is like studying an object located inside a box by viewing it through various windows cut into the sides of the box.
For the harried and overworked teacher, “data collection” can appear to be the most intimidating aspect of the entire seven-step action research process.
The question I am repeatedly asked, “Where will I find the time and expertise to develop valid and reliable instruments for data collection?
Whatever the scenario, action research always involves the same seven-step process.
These seven steps, which become an endless cycle for the inquiring teacher, are the following: The action research process begins with serious reflection directed toward identifying a topic or topics worthy of a busy teacher's time.
All teachers have had the experience of implementing a “research-proven” strategy only to have it fail with their students.
The desire of teachers to use approaches that “fit” their particular students is not dissimilar to a doctor's concern that the specific medicine being prescribed be the correct one for the individual patient.