Action research is a tool that can help principals and teachers begin to focus on what is really important, improving teaching and learning. This is not a one step solution to a problem. It is a systematic approach principals and teachers can take to look at their own practices and make a plan for change based on what was learned. There are five steps of action research. The first is to pose a question after reflecting on your own practice. Then you must collect data to learn more about the problem, and then you must analyze the data and reference the literature, make changes based on new understandings, and finally, share your results with colleagues.
Action research differs from traditional educational research in that action research deals with the concerns of the professionals and involves them in the process instead of an outsider making all of the decisions. Action research allows practitioners to be part of the research process and part of the solution, which makes them accountable for the change.
Action research is a tool to improve teaching and student learning. It gives practitioners the chance to take a deeper look into their practices and reflect on them. It can increase data analysis skills through a systematic approach to problem solving and decision-making. Action research allows teachers and administrators to choose a specific area of interest, research that topic, make a plan, and then analyze the results of the change. Action research is a way for professional development that focuses on school improvement. When you pick a specific area to study and make a change, you can directly see the benefits of what you did. What you learn from your data analysis is concrete evidence of the benefits of the change. Most importantly, action research is a way for everyone on the campus to grow academically. The faculty learns an important tool for inquiry and as a result student achievement grows.
I plan to use action research as model to solve problems on my campus. Some of my areas of interest are the effectiveness of the mentoring program on standardized test scores and the importance of homework on student mastery of objectives. Action research seems to be a good, systematic way for me to look deeper into these areas.