Action Research in Education: Addressing Gaps in Ethical Principles and Practices

Oct. 15, 2007

Source: Educational Researcher, Volume 36, Number 7, October 2007.

Action research in education has gained increasing attention in the past 20 years. It is viewed as a practical yet systematic research method that enables teachers to investigate their own teaching and their students’ learning. However, the ethical issues unique to this form of insider research have received less attention.

Drawing on several professional associations’ principles for research practice, the authors identify a series of potential ethical issues inherent in action research in K–12 schools and the corresponding difficulties that action researchers encounter with the policies and procedures of institutional review boards.

The authors conclude with recommendations for future practice addressed to three groups: institutional review boards, K–12 school professionals and teacher educators, and national professional and representative organizations.

Updated: Mar. 23, 2008