Where Teaching and Learning Matter
A group of academic staff involved in action research with the goal of identifying issues, designing interventions, evaluating the outcomes and in so doing improving their practice.
Latest Activity: Feb 18, 2014
Over the last two years the academic literacies team in Te Puna Ako has been involved in a number of action research projects with various departments. These have included animal care, electrotech, the library, community development, automotive, foundation nursing and TPA. Most of the lecturers involved are putting the finishing touches to their findings and we are planning for the next step of publishing these.
On the 30th of November from 2:30-4:30 at Oakridge we are having an introduction to action research in anticipation of a number of projects starting up in 2011. We plan to make the project a significant institutional initiative and final presentation of the research will be at a special awards event. As in previous years, Eileen Piggot-Irvine from the Department of Education, will take us through the process of action research and supervise the various projects. The session on the 30th will introduce the basics of action research, start you thinking about how it could benefit your teaching and what question you might like to deal with.
This is an initial meeting; for some it's a chance for you to see if action research is a good fit for your professional development, for others it will serve to scope out a specific research question. There may be others in your department who you think would be interested. Please feel free to pass this invite on to them.
Beginning with Action Research
Action Research Project Overview
From Associate Prof. Eileen Piggot-Irvine
Director, NZ Action Research and Review Centre, Dept. of Ed., Unitec
This Action Research Project offers lecturers/tutors the opportunity to become involved in a small development project that aims to guide staff to improve one aspect of their teaching. The tight focus is deliberate – the latest research on development strongly suggests that ‘DOING FEWER THINGS WELL’ is key. A development approach which has shown great outcomes for such development is action research (AR) and your projects will follow this model (see diagram over).
Your AR project will involve working in a small group – all members will have a similar topic chosen for improvement. In summary, the phases for action research, and an example application, include:
• Reconnaissance, to determine the existing situation with the topic.
For example, if your objective is to improve the way you help students to write reports, you would complete a brief review of literature/background material on the topic of ‘writing reports’ in your group in order to distil the key indicators for effectiveness for the topic. You might also examine how your own students perceive the way that you help them to write reports based on the indicators for effectiveness. You would then analyse the responses, reflect on these with your AR group, and record what you need to improve on.
• Implementation, to plan for and carry out changes indicated by your reconnaissance analysis.
This would be done within your teaching classes, but the AR group would act as a sounding board for you to bounce ideas off and reflect on your progress whilst you are completing this phase. In your AR group you would also collectively record your progress in a way that looks for similar responses, issues etc. This record will become part of your final project report.
• Evaluation, to analyse the impact of the implementation phase changes.
Data would be collected to determine how effective the changes/improvements you have made have been. Again, you might then analyse the responses, reflect on these in your AR group, and record a comparative analysis of the way in which your different classes have improved.
• Reporting and Presentation, to draw together the project findings. A formal report will be written (and presented) from the group AR project.
At all stages of the AR projects you will be given substantial guidelines and assistance.
Two dates to mark
We will be meeting from 9:00-12:00 on the 2nd of March to collaborate on writing our ethics applications. These are due with the committee on the 9th of March.
We also have our second full day of PD on the 27th of April. This is intentionally during the study break so that teaching doesn't keep you from attending.
Both venues yet to be arranged but I'll let you know in due course
Action research - Queensland University of Technology experience
In the 1990s QUT successfully ran an action research programme as part of their professional development
Cohen, L., Manion, L. & Morrison, K. (2007). Research methods in education (6th ed.). Abingdon: Routledge.
Booth, W., Colomb, G., & Williams, J. (Eds.) (1995). The craft of research. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Creswell, J. W. (2002). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods approaches. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.
Wilkinson, D. (2000). The researcher's toolkit: The complete guide to practitioner research. London: RoutledgeFalmer.
Krueger, R. A. (1994). Focus groups: A practical guide for applied research. London: Sage Publications.
Questions from ethics applications
One of the questions that cropped up from the two applications that were put in for the February ethics committee was
"If you are the teacher and you are doing the interviews, how do you address the power differential interfering with the responses of students."
So if you face this question once you've submitted your application or want to preempt it, here's an answer from Eileen
Brydon-Miller, M., Greenwood, D., & Maguire, P. (2003). Editorial. Action research, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 9-28.
Cardno, C. & Piggot-Irvine, E. (1996). Incorporating action research in school senior management training, International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 10, No. 5, pp. 19-24.
Dick, B. (2001). Action research: Action and research. In S. Sankaran, B. Dick, R. Passfield & P. Swepson (Eds.), Effective change management using action learning and action research: Concepts, frameworks, processes, applications., Lismore N.S.W.: Southern Cross University Press, Australia, pp. 19-28.
Guba, E.G. & Lincoln, Y.S. (1994). Competing paradigms in qualitative research. In N.K. Denzin & Y.S. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of Qualitative Research, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, pp. 105-117.
Piggot-Irvine, E. & Bartlett, B. (2008). Evaluating action research. Wellington: NZCER.
TPA's research bag lunch - feel free to come along
Nicoletta and I are conducting an action research project evaluating the eLCC* Community of Practice in terms of autonomy and sustainability. We will be collecting and collating reflections and…Continue
Started by Tabitha Roder Mar 6, 2011.
...but my main question is something like this:What strategies are most effective in supporting Saudi students’ academic development in mainstream, degree-level programmes?Two concerns I have at this…Continue
Started by Marcus Thompson. Last reply by Marcus Thompson Feb 24, 2011.
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