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Action Research Essentials


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Table of Contents

Figures, Tables, & Exhibits xi Preface xv The Author xxi CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION TO ACTION RESEARCH 1 Introduction 2 What Is Action Research? 2 Action Research: Some Definitions 4 Why Engage in Action Research? 6 Steps in the Process 10 Phases of an Action Research Study 14 What Are Data? 18 When Is Action Research the Appropriate Choice? 21 How Can the Process Effect Change? 24 The Ethical Researcher 25 Summary 26 Key Terms 27 Discussion Questions 27 Suggested Topics 27 Online Activities 28 CHAPTER TWO: THE PROCESS BEGINS 29 The Action Research Environment 30 Identifying Problems Suitable for Action Research 31 Sources for Problems or Research Topics 33 Considering the Value of a Problem or Topic 35 Narrowing the Focus 37 The Reflective Journal Revisited 39 Concept Mapping and Focus 40 Reflecting on Relevancy 41 Inquiring, Questioning, Interviewing, and Gathering Information 43 The IRB-Friend or Foe? 45 Informed Consent Forms and Assent Forms 50 A Few More Words on the IRB 52 Summary 52 Key Terms 52 Discussion Questions 53 Suggested Topics 53 Online Activities 53 CHAPTER THREE: THE LITERATURE REVIEW 55 The Literature Review and Action Research 56 What Is a Literature Review? 56 Rationale for Reviewing Literature 57 Literature Review for Action Research 57 Conducting a General Literature Review: Processes and Steps 59 Identifying and Selecting Appropriate Sources 61 Relevancy, Accuracy, and Value of Online Sources 64 Online Literature Review 65 What Experts Have to Say 70 Organizing Sources and Themes in the Literature Review 71 Writing the Review 73 Summary 79 Key Terms 80 Discussion Questions 80 Suggested Topics 80 Online Activities 81 CHAPTER FOUR: DESIGNING RESEARCH QUESTIONS 83 What Drives a Study? 84 Starting Point for Generating Questions 84 Research Considerations 88 Research Design and Research Questions 89 Research Questions as a Blueprint or Framework 89 The Research Statement 93 Characteristics of Good Research Questions 93 Questions, Questions, Questions: Examples and Practice 96 Research Umbrella as a Source for Research Questions 96 Broad Themes, Subthemes, and Research Questions 99 Returning to the Literature Review 101 Blending Ideas to Achieve Refined Overarching Questions 101 Research Questions, Chronology, and Writing 103 Summary 104 Key Terms 104 Discussion Questions 104 Suggested Topics 105 Online Activities 105 CHAPTER FIVE: IDENTIFYING DATA SETS TO INFORM INQUIRY 107 Revisiting Questions 108 Quantitative, Qualitative, and Mixed Methods 108 Data Versus Data Sets 114 Data Sets That Inform 116 Aligning Multiple Forms of Data with Overarching Questions 117 Triangulation and the Triangulation Matrix 121 Qualitative Data Instruments and Schedules 123 Research and Data Collection Schedules 130 Summary 132 Key Terms 135 Discussion Questions 135 Suggested Topics 135 Online Activities 136 CHAPTER SIX: THE ACTION RESEARCHER'S TOOLS 137 Tools for Conducting Research 138 Reflective Practice 145 Identifying and Collecting Artifacts 154 Making Use of Electronic Sources and Technology 154 Summary 157 Key Terms 158 Discussion Questions 158 Suggested Topics 159 Online Activities 159 QUALITATIVE DATA 163 Getting Started 164 Collecting and Analyzing Data 165 Organizing Data 169 Revisiting the Triangulation Matrix 171 Examining the Pieces 171 Examining Individual Data Sets and Subsets 173 Coding and Analyzing 189 Identifying Categories and Defining Attributes 191 The Big Picture 196 Summary 197 Key Terms 197 Discussion Questions 197 Suggested Topics 198 Online Activities 198 CHAPTER EIGHT: THE ACTION RESEARCH REPORT 201 Writing the Action Research Report 202 Rationale for Writing the Report 203 Components 203 Tips for Writing 204 Reporting and Presenting Findings 206 The Action Research Report Assignment 213 Summary 216 Key Term 216 Discussion Questions 216 Suggested Topics 217 Online Activities 217 CHAPTER NINE: DESIGNING AND IMPLEMENTING THE ACTION PLAN 219 The Action Plan 220 Rationale 221 Purpose 221 When Is an Action Plan Appropriate? 222 Informed Decision Making 223 Designing the Plan 224 Components 225 Using Findings to Inform Design 230 Continuous Improvement 230 Summary 231 Key Terms 231 Discussion Questions 231 Suggested Topics 232 Online Activities 232 Online Resources for Human Subjects Training and Institutional Review Board Information 235 Glossary 237 References 243 Index 245

About the Author

Dorothy Valcarcel Craig is a professor of education, certified online instructor, and program coordinator in the Department of Educational Leadership at the College of Education and Behavioral Science, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, Tennessee. She previously held the position of associate dean for Teacher Education.

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