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Updated Edition of Bestseller

The Action Research Guidebook
A Process for Pursuing Equity and Excellence in Education

Third Edition


© 2017 | 288 pages | Corwin

Think of yourself as an educational architect

Action research is your essential tool for designing and building a better classroom or school. You know your students best, and by digging deeper into a challenge or research question and then taking informed action, you can achieve far more than any cookie-cutter curriculum or canned program. This empowering introduction to action research is ideal for new and veteran teachers, as well as principals, counselors, and other educators who are committed to school improvement. In the third edition of this bestselling guidebook, you’ll find:

  • New insights on how to use reflective practice, qualitative and quantitative methods, and culturally responsive teaching to improve the success of all students
  • A field-tested, four-stage action research process to lead you from brainstorming to breakthrough, with step-by-step instructions in plain English
  • More illustrative examples, charts, handouts, worksheets, and sample action research reports to demystify and simplify the action research process

By tapping into the power of action research, you can improve overall student performance, eliminate achievement gaps, and enhance your own efficacy and morale.

"The most successful educators are those that purposefully reflect on their practices, with a focus on how and to what degree these practices impact student learning. This book provides a four-stage structured approach for teachers and administrators to engage in action research, with the ultimate goal being to move our schools and classrooms closer to universal student success.”
Eric Carbaugh, Associate Professor of Education
James Madison University


"I love the four-step model and how it is emphasized throughout the text. This approach clearly makes the text unique and a 'must read' for all teachers wanting to enhance their teaching through 
action research."
Christopher J. Maglio, Professor of Education, Research Methods, and Design
Truman State University

 
Preface to the Third Edition
 
Publisher’s Acknowledgments
 
About the Authors
 
1. Introduction to Action Research
Why Conduct Action Research?  
The Complexity of Routine Instructional Decisions  
Key Terms and Concepts  
Universal Student Success  
 
2. Finding a Focus
Zeroing in on Your Priorities  
Using Reflective Writing to Find a Focus  
Performance, Process, and Program Targets and Action Research by School Leaders  
Using a Journal to Identify Action Research Foci  
Reflective Interviews  
Reflective Interviewing and the Problem of Isolation  
Analytic Discourse  
Team Reflection  
 
3. Refining the Focus
Visualizing Success  
Conducting an Instructional Postmortem  
Taking Stock of One’s Recent Leadership Experience  
Comparing Your Experience With the Experience of Others  
Developing Criteria to Measure Changes With Priority Achievement Targets  
Creating Performance Rating Scales  
Rating Scales and Program Action Research  
The Special Problem of Long-Range Goals  
Assessing Rate of Growth  
Determining Adequate Yearly Progress in Real Time  
Producing Your Own Rate-of-Growth Charts  
Ascertaining Rate of Growth in Leadership Projects  
 
4. Articulating a Theory of Action
If Not Us, Who?  
An Adequate Knowledge Base Already Exists  
Going Beyond Proven Practices: Building a Theory of Action  
Two Kinds of Variables  
Creating Mileposts on the Route to Mastery  
Inferring Independent Variables  
Using the Priority Pie to Identify, Clarify, and Weigh Independent Variables  
Using the Priority Pie With Descriptive Research  
 
5. Drawing a Theory of Action
Why a Map?  
European Explorers as Action Researchers  
Building a Graphic Reconstruction  
Graphic Reconstructions for Quasi-Experimental Research  
Graphic Reconstructions With Descriptive Research  
Proofing a Theory of Action for Leadership Projects  
 
6. Determining the Research Questions
Three Generic Action Research Questions  
Developing Your Own Research Questions  
Two-Step Walk-Through  
Drafting the Questions  
Surfacing Research Questions for Leadership Projects  
 
7. Building a Data Collection Plan
Data Collection and the Competing Demands for Your Time  
What Qualifies as Teaching?  
What Things Qualify as Data?  
Data in Descriptive Research  
Data in Quasi-Experimental Research  
Data Collection and Concerns About Precision  
Fishing in a Sea of Data  
Securing Research Assistants  
Building a Triangulated Data Collection Plan  
Data Collection Planning for Leadership Projects  
Integrating Efficiencies Into Your Data Collection Work  
Using Technology to Compile and Assemble Action Research Data  
Keeping a Researcher’s Journal  
 
8. Analyzing the Data
Trend Analysis  
Organizing Data to Help Answer the Three Generic Questions  
ACR Question 1: What Did We Do?  
ACR Question 2: What Changes Occurred Regarding the Achievement Targets?  
ACR Question 3: What Was the Relationship Between Actions Taken and Any Changes in Performance on the Targets?  
Drawing Tentative Assertions  
Using Member Checking to Add Credibility to the Tentative Assertions  
Additional Tools for Qualitative Data Analysis  
Qualitative Data Analysis Using Bins and a Matrix  
Low-Tech Strategies for Bins and Matrixes  
Using a Computer for Bins and Matrixes  
 
9. Turning Findings Into Action Plans
Modifying Your Theory of Action  
Data-Based Decision Making  
Turning Your Findings Into Ed Specs  
Solicit and Brainstorm Action Alternatives  
Using Ed Specs to Evaluate Action Alternatives  
Using Ed Specs to Evaluate Action Alternatives for Schoolwide Projects  
Completing the Cycle: Revised Theory of Action 2  
 
10. Reporting and Sharing Action Research
Common Issues  
Formats for Reporting  
Creating a Bank of Abstracts  
Creating a District Archive  
 
11. Conclusion: The School as a Learning Organization
The Two Keys: Coherence and Congruence  
Putting the Pieces Together  
 
Resources
 
Resource A: How to Use the Feedback Forms and Summary Reports
 
Resource B: Five Characteristics of a Quality Action Research Project
 
Resource C: Applications for Leadership Projects
 
Resource D: Sample Abbreviated Action Research Reports
 
Glossary
 
References
 
Index

"I love the four-step model and how it is emphasized throughout the text. This approach clearly makes the text unique and a 'must read' for all teachers wanting to enhance their teaching through Action Research."

Christopher J. Maglio, Professor of Education, Research Methods, and Design
Truman State University

"The most successful educators are those that purposefully reflect on their practices, with a focus on how and to what degree these practices impact student learning. This book provides a four-stage structured approach for teachers and administrators to engage in action research, with the ultimate goal being to move our schools and classrooms closer to universal student success.”

Eric Carbaugh, Associate Professor of Education & Author of The Flipped Differentiated Classroom
James Madison University

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ISBN: 9781506350158

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