User:Undurthy/My Sandbox for Patricia/template:Teacher Preparation/Action Research

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Concept of Action Research

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After reading this module you would be able to understand

1. The steps in action research

2. The characteristics of action research

3. The objectives of action research

4. The advantages of action research

5. The limitations of action research and

6. The difference between action and fundamental researches

Research can be classified under three broad categories; basic or fundamental research, applied research and action research. It must not, however, be forgotten that the lines of demarcation between these categories are not very clear-cut and sharp. In many ways they appear to overlap one another.

Action research is similar to applied research in many ways. The only difference can be that applied research may be carried out on a larger sample resulting into more universally applicable findings. As against this, action research will primarily be conducted on the immediately available small in order to solve the immediate problem for the same group. Applied research may quite often be carried out by experts whereas action research is primarily the concern of the field workers.

Action research is undertaken by educational practitioners because they believe that by so doing they can make better decisions and engage in better actions. The teachers, supervisors and administrators would make better decisions and engage in more effective practices. The process by which practitioners attempt to study their problems scientifically in order to guide, correct and evaluate their decisions and actions is what is called action research. A teacher conducts action research to improve his own teaching. A school administrator conducts action research to improve his administrative behavior.

This research represents an approach to be more disciplined, more objective and more scientific. It has procedure that tries to keep problem solving in close touch with reality at every stage. It is focused on the immediate application not on the development of theory. It is concerned with the immediate problem here and now in a local setting.

The scope of action research is very vast. This approach of dealing with practical problems seems to be appropriate and promising for all kinds of professional workers in education so long as their desire is to improve their own professional practices. An administrator who is dissatisfied with his efforts to develop a high morale in his staff could approach this problem with action research.

Steps in Action Research:

Identification of the problem area:

It is the main core of action research. He has to identify the areas where much action research is required to enhance the learning abilities of students.

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a) Identify the errors normally committed by students in their written English

b) Finding out learning difficulties in mathematics and physics

c) Identifying and clearing off hurdles in meaningful concept formation

d) Enabling the students to form clear concepts

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List out some problem areas




Selection of a specific problem:

In the vast area where problem prevails, the teacher confines and arrives at specific area of the problem after listing out the interfering causes of that specific problem. Among many errors committed by students, ‘spelling mistakes’ was selected as a specific problem.

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List out specific problems with which you are encountered during classroom transaction




List out the possible causes of the problem:

a) In English some words sound alike, but there is a difference in meaning. Hence spelling mistakes may arise e.g., Meat and Meet; Sun and Son; Weak and Week

b) No proper correction work and supervision of homework may by the teacher

c) Hearing impairment or defect may be one of the causes of committing spelling mistakes

d) Defective pronunciation of teacher may be one of the causes of spelling mistakes e.g., Pupil &People; Check & Cheque; Conduct (V) & Conduct (N)

e) Inattentive behavior of students may be another cause of committing mistakes

f) Failure to understand the contextual meaning of the word

g) Lack of proper emphasis and the importance on written work (Transcription/Dictation)

Formulation of hypotheses:

Arriving at tentative informal guess is hypothesis.

a) Significant improvement may be brought through spelling games to reduce spelling mistakes

b) Significant improvement may be brought through transcription b the child

c) Significant improvement may be brought through frequent checking and correction by the teacher

d) Through appropriate and correct pronunciation of teacher by making the teacher improve his pronunciation which reduce spelling mistakes

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Select one specific problem and formulate hypotheses




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Write the actions you are proposing to bring out desired changes




Careful recording of action taken:

Success of action research will evidently depend upon the proper way in which the researcher conducts and records the action plan.

Dictation Identifying the areas where errors are more Conduct of spelling games Transcription Dictation: After a period, dictation of parallel, observing the reduction of errors, successful attainment of the main objective

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Write procedures of recording the change




Accumulation of evidence to determine the degree to which the goal has been achieved:

After statistical findings like percentages of reduced errors, records how much improvement has taken place. How many common errors of spelling mistakes have been reduced? Keeping nature of defect and cause of defect found that 80% (same percentage) of success is attained. In the beginning, the teacher dictated a small passage where 10 to 12. After taking suitable remedial measures like spelling games, transcription etc., at the end of action research noticed only 2 or 3 errors.

S.No. Name Number of errors committed at first Dictation Number of errors committed after Intervension Progress Attained in %
1. Narayana 10 5 50
2 Krishna 12 4 66
3 Prasad 10 7 30
4 Kamal 12 10 17

Inference from their evidence of generalization regarding the relation between the action and the desired goal:

The researcher has a need of given reference. Based on the statistical findings, the researcher found that there is remarkable progress in the spelling ability of the students.

It is noticed that number of spelling mistakes has reduced through action research by different remedial activities taken up by the teacher.

Hence the researcher generalizes that improvement of spelling ability can be achieved by activities like spelling games, transcription and dictation.

Attainment of desired goal, i.e., enabling the students to reduce spelling mistakes through action research was observed.

The continuous retesting of the generalization in other action situations:

After finding out, the failure of attainment of progress in some individuals retesting the generalization and the same type of action research on another group also may be attempted.

Characteristics of Action Research:

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Key points

1. It is scientific and tries to find out solution for current problems.

2. It modifies the personal research or clinical.

3. Practical problems of education can be solved through this.

4. The focus is to improve and modify the current practices because the researcher can only study his problem.

5. Both individual and group problems are taken up by action research.

Objectives of Action Research:

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1. Improvement of the working conditions of educational institutions.

2. Development of democratic atmosphere in the classroom for understanding and solving problems.

3. Bringing excellence in school workers.

4. Developing understanding among administrators to improve and modify the school conditions and making it more conducive to learning.

5. Making the school effective and developing a congenial environment for student learning.

6. Raising the level of aspiration of the students.

Advantages of Action Research:

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Key points

1. The approach is experimental and tentative rather than dogmatic.

2. An integral part of action research is the experiment which actually is change valuated.

3. It emphasizes a durable decentralization of decision making and action.

4. It is used for the improvement and solving the current classroom problems of a teacher.

5. The problems can be solved quickly.

6. The solutions of the problems are put in practice and evaluated.

Limitations of Action Research:

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Key points

1. It is in low key (less rigorous).

2. It is an unduly localized research effort and has limited contribution. The generalizations cannot acquire a universal validity. The applicability of findings to another class and another school is quite doubtful.

3. It may become an additional burden on an already over-burdened teacher.

4. Because of numerous limitations, it may produce wrong and unverifiable conclusions.

Difference between Action Research and Fundamental Research

Aspects Action Research Fundamental Research
Purpose Improving school or classroom practice Applying theory to solve a practical problem
Person or researcher Practitioner (Teacher) – person associated with the field problem. No special training in research. Specialist – knowledge and skills of research required
Problem Very narrow and local Broad, general and practical
Hypotheses One narrow hypothesis One or more based on some rationale
Research Design Flexible design usually of low quality Rigid
Sample As per requirement (Target Group; Available sample; non-probability sample Systematically Drawn from a Population; Usually probability samples are used; Knowledge and skills of sampling required.
Tools Usually teacher made tools or available tools are used. Tools are constructed and standardized by the researcher or available standardized tools are used. Validity and reliability of the tools are important. Tools are precise.
Statistical Techniques Simple statistical techniques are used Parametric statistical techniques are used.
Conclusions Remedial to the local problem. A solution to the problem.
Scope Remedial measure applicable only in that local situation can’t be generalized to other situations. Solution can be generalized to other similar situations.


Action Research Projects

ESL/EFL Students Lack the Skills to Cope with Reading Comprehension Tests

Survey Used ]
-- Nellie Deutsch