Purpose of Action Research

Action Research: A Definition

Action Research, a scholarly approach to improve teaching and learning, can be a central piece of professional development. This project-based research can benefit professors, counselors, and librarians by actively engaging them in the collaborative study of learning as it takes place day by day in the context of their own practices. Through this small-scale, practical research, faculty members can investigate questions regarding student learning that directly impact their practices. As part of the portfolio in the tenure process, Action Research demonstrates how some of the essential competencies are evident in your practice.

Action Research (AR) attempts to provide some insight into how students learn. AR encourages faculty members and professionals to use their classrooms, offices and libraries as laboratories for the study of learning.

Action research is a deliberate, solution-oriented investigation, characterized by spiraling cycles of:

  1. problem identification  
  2. data collection
  3. analysis
  4. reflection
  5. action
  6. redefinition

It is a process that continues throughout your career. Even as you report results and reflect on the process in your portfolio, you will continue to evaluate and improve upon the work you started with your Action Research.

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 The PDF document below illustrates how the cycles of reflect, plan, act, and observe work in sequence with your Action Research Project.