Prior to enrolling into Lamar University’s Online Master’s Program, I had no knowledge of the meaning of action research. I still have a lot to learn, but I want to share with you a couple of unique characteristics of action research and just touch on the vast description of what it is.
Action research is simply taking a problem, idea, or an inquiry and researching this problem to accumulate as much data as you can. It’s involving other educators and/or students to share your data with. This data will be used to tweak or resolve the problem. Upon stepping back and taking a second look at the problem, if it is not resolved then keep researching and evolving yourself and your strategies until the problem is better or resolved.
One unique quality of action research is that the people wanting the change are the same people that are conducting the inquiries to help themselves improve in their own practices. Through their own observations and communications with other people, they will generate solutions to their own problems. Action research empowers those who use it.
Another unique quality about action research is that people will come together to work collaboratively on the problem, thus helping each other become more effective because they can step back and look at their own work and consider how they could change for the better.
Upon learning about action research it became obvious that as a teacher, I had used action research most of my teaching career! What teacher doesn’t observe their students and then collect data on these students as well as change their practices towards these students to help the students improve or to help their school environment improve? While our schools continue to change with the rapid development of technologies and other factors, our schools challenge us to adapt. It is apparent that educators must meet these challenges and strive to seek ways to be great leaders if our schools are to be lead into the future with success. Using action research as their launching pad is a great way to begin to go forward successfully.