Useful Research Links

Action Research

School settings are dynamic and educators’ days are filled with many opportunities to interact with groups and individuals; and these interactions cause you to wonder about many things:
  • Should I introduce this new concept at the beginning of the class period through an activating strategy or should I connect the concept to the content we engaged with yesterday as we review at the end of the period? I wonder how my colleague(s) are introducing this new concept; school process and teacher perception data;
  • As I reflect over my conversation with one of my students this morning about our assigned reading last night, I wonder if she might share some of her insights with the class or her assigned group. I will remember to talk with her to ask and see if she might tell me how she felt about sharing if she agrees; student perception and school process data;
  • After reviewing this week’s student work, I note that one of my male students is showing progress. I wonder if his progress is linked to the behavioral strategy I implemented with him. I will have to talk with him to celebrate his growth and see what he thinks has made the difference; student performance, demographic, school process, and student perception data.
It is no wonder you are so mentally and physically stimulated at the end of the school day – you thrive in a dynamic learning environment and collect data all day long. You are conducting action research:
Research is a professional’s systematic, intentional study of their own classroom and workplace practices. Teachers who collaborate and reflect have a direct impact on student achievement; defined by Mary Mitchell for Learning Forward publication.
In Learning Forward’s publication on Part 7 – Action Research, Mary goes on to note that action research “begins with the articulation of a wondering”;

Your wonderings and formalized action research professionalizes your daily work and provides you with documentation through data that your daily performance leads to student success. Action research allows you to share successes and trials with your colleagues, engage in meaningful growth conversations with students and parents, and supports your evaluative conversations as you reflect on your personal effectiveness and growth. Action research is no more difficult than what you do each and every day and what you do as an educator should be shared collaboratively. Follow this link to an excellent tool! Learning Forward provides you with the perfect resource for professionalizing your work as an educator. Joan Richardson begins your journey through the lens of a middle school teacher and her wonderings…. Make personal connections to action research as you relate to the stories Joan shares; encouraging you to act! Professionalize what you do to serve students each day through a simplistic, tried and true process that includes five steps for the action research process:
  1. Prepare to begin;
  2. Write the question;
  3. Collect the data;
  4. Analyze the data;
  5. Plan your next steps.
As an educator, you are constantly studying your students, reflecting on your knowledge and skills, and offering them learning support. Use the helpful tools provided in this resource to formalize your natural actions as an effective educator through action research!
This is an excellent all-inclusive tool kit that you can offer your professional learning communities to promote and enhance action research. Provide your teachers structured time to share their findings using this process with their colleagues; strengthen your community. Hold a Learning Fair!
Read the stories of colleagues presented by Joan and reflect on what you do each and every day to promote student success. Use the process and tools presented to formalize your actions and share your outcomes with your colleagues! Follow this link to hear Richard Sagor talk about the importance of Teachers and Action Research. Follow this link to preview Richard Sagor’s guidebook for teachers as they embrace the process of Action Research. Sagor provides the teacher with a simplistic four step process to help document and formalize their daily work and wonderings:
  • Stage One: Clarifying Vision and Targets;
  • Stage Two: Articulating Theory;
  • Stage Three: Implementing Action and Collecting Data;
  • Stage Four: Reflecting on the Data and Planning Informed Action
Sagor premised this work “on a belief that all readers (in fact all educators) share the same ultimate vision: fostering universal student success. It is unlikely that any of us will ever consider our work complete until every student is accomplishing everything he or she is capable of accomplishing”.
Consider using the video clip to introduce Action Research to your staff. Encouraging your teachers to collaborate as teams and conduct action research as outlined in Sagor’s guidebook will strengthen your learning community culture and provide specific content for discussion during teacher evaluations.
Sagor wrote this guidebook for you; acknowledging the vision you carry for student success. Consider the dynamic culture of your school, ponder your wonderings, and implement his four step process to professionalize your work. Your Action Research will provide focus for team meetings, allow lesson study, and provide you with the ability to strengthen your relationship with students through data collection, analysis, and growth celebrations.
Click on this link to engage with Richard Sagor as he shares a preview of his book, Guiding School Improvement With Action Research. Sagor simplifies the Action Research process into seven steps that support school improvement initiative selection, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation. The work is a perfect complement to his work written specifically for teachers, The Action Research Guidebook. Consider your current improvement planning process or the one you are designing for next school year as you review the process steps Sagor offers:
  1. Selecting a Focus;
  2. Clarifying Theories;
  3. Identifying Research Questions;
  4. Collecting Data;
  5. Analyzing Data;
  6. Reporting Results;
  7. Taking Informed Action.
Sagor’s implemented process will ensure you focus your school resources and efforts toward high levels of student performance. This continuous process will be something you and your staff embrace from year to year!
This is an excellent process to put in place to support continuous school improvement. If you find yourself wondering how to make your improvement planning process more meaningful, relevant, and informative – implement this process. Combined with individual and teacher action research implementation, you will foster a strong learning community.