Tuesday, 14 February 2017

ACTION RESEARCH

Introduction:

Research designed to uncover effective ways of dealing with problems in the real world can be referred to as action research. 25 This kind of research is not confined to a particular methodology or paradigm. For example, a study of the effectiveness of training teenage parents to care for their infants. The study is based on statistical and other evidence that infants of teenage mothers seemed to be exposed to more risks than other infants. The mother and children were recruited for participation in the study while the children were still in neonate period. Mothers were trained at home or in an infant nursery. A controlled group received no training. The mothers trained at home were visited at 2-weeks interval over a 12-month period. Those trained in nursery setting attended 3-days per week for 6 months, were paid minimum wage, and assisted as staff in centre. Results of the study suggested that the children of both group of trained mothers benefited more in terms of their health and cognitive measures than did the controlled children. Generally greater benefits were realized by the children of the mothers trained in the nursery that with the mothers trained at home. Thus the study shows that such researches have direct application to real world problems. Second, elements of both quantitative and qualitative approaches can be found in the study. For example, quantitative measure of weight, height, and cognitive skills were obtained in this study. However, at the start itself from the personal impressions and observations without the benefit of systematic quantitative data, the researches was able to say that the mother in the nursery centre showed some unexpected vocational aspirations to become nurses. Third, treatments and methods that are investigated are flexible and might change during the study in response to the results as they are obtained. Thus, action research is more systematic and empirical than some other approaches to innovation and change, but it does not lead to careful controlled scientific experiments that are generalizable to a wide variety of situations and settings. The purpose of action research is to solve classroom problems through the application of scientific methods. It is concerned with a local problem and is conducted in a local setting. It is not concerned with whether the results are generalizable to any other setting and is not characterized by the same kind of control evidence in other categories of research. The primary goal of action research is the solution of a given problem, not contribution to science. Whether 26 the research is conducted in one classroom or many classrooms, the teacher is very much a part of the process. The more research trainings the teacher involved have had, the more likely it is that the research will produce valid, if not generalizable research. The value of action research is confined primarily to those who are conducting it. Despite its shortcomings, it does represents a scientific approach to the problem solving that is considerably better than changed based on the alleged effectiveness of untried procedures, and infinitely better than no changes at all. It is a means by which concerned school personnel can attempt to improve the educational process, at least within their environment. Of course, the true value of action research to true scientific progress is limited. True progress requires the development of sound theories having implications for many classrooms, not just one or two. One sound theory that includes ten principles of learning may eliminate the need of hundreds of would – be action research studies. Given the current status of educational theory, however, action research provides immediate answers to problem that can not wait for theoretical solutions. As John Best puts it, action research is focused on immediate applications. Its purposes is to improve school practices and at the same time, to improve those who try to improve the practices, to combine the research processes, habits of thinking, ability to work harmoniously with others, and professional spirit. If most classroom teachers are to be involved in research activity, it will probably be in the area of action research. Many observers have projected action research nothing more than the application of common sense or good management. Whether or not it is worthy of the term research it does not apply scientific thinking and methods to real life problems and represents a greater improvement over teachers‘ subjective judgments and decision based upon stereotype thinking and limited personal experience. The concept of action research under the leadership of Corey has been instrumental in bringing educational research nearer to educational practitioners. Action research is research undertaken by practitioners in order that they may attempt to solve their local, practical problems by using the method of science.
Definition
  The Process by which we attempt to study their problems in order to guide corrects and evaluates decisions and actions is called action research.
  Another useful definition of action research is the research a person conducts in order to enable him to achieve his purpose more effectively.
  A teacher conducts action research to improve his own teaching
·        A school administrator conducts action research to improve his administrative behavior
Action research in education
Action research in education is an enquiry which is carried out in order to understand, evaluate and then to change, in order to improve some educational practices.
When applied to teaching, action research involves gathering and interpreting data to better understand an aspect of teaching and learning and applying the outcomes to improve practice 
How to do action research
l  Develop a plan of critically informed action to improve what is already happening
l  Act to implement the plan
l  Observe the effects of critically informed action on the context in which it occurs and
l  Reflect on the effects as the basis for future planning.
(Kemmis and McTaggart, 1988:10, cited in Burns, 1999:32)
 Process of doing action research
 1.      Exploring
2.      Identifying
3.      Planning
4.      Collecting data
5.      Analysing/reflecting
6.      Hypothesising/speculating
7.      Intervening
8.      Observing
9.      Reporting
10.  Writing
11.  Presenting
 Key characteristics
·         Self-reflective Research
·         Collaborative Research
·         Based on Plan of Action
·         Sharing of Reports
Significant of action research
  The person solved the problem in the beginning of the process.
  Action research helps the teachers acquire new facts and new interests.
  Action research has a great effect upon the teacher for finding better ways of doing things.
·         Action research introduces experimental outlook among teachers
Demerits of action research
  Action research has not good standard.
  It is not applicable another school or class.
  It increases the responsibilities of teachers.
  Time is not available to the teachers.
  Teacher avoids creating new problems.
Merits of action research
·         Focus on school issues, problems, or areas of collective concern
·         A form of teacher professional development
·         Collegial interaction
·         Potential to impact school change
·         Reflection on own profession
·         Improved communication



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