Research Methods (291 items)To section archive

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Teacher action research has been shown to both promote professional growth in teachers as well as produce gains for students. However, to date, little research has examined how action research might contribute to systemic changes in schools and school districts. This qualitative study of six teachers from various districts, subject areas, and grade levels, illustrates how action research can have simultaneous impacts on teachers, their students, and their schools and districts. The teacher action research projects all focused on culturally relevant education and the pursuit of equity. Impacts included teachers’ deepened understandings of equity and inclusivity; students’ diversity awareness, positive self-identities, and access to wider opportunities; and schools’ adoption of equity-focused strategies. The findings suggest that action research on culturally relevant education serves not only as a powerful form of professional development but also as a means to potentially transform schools.
Published: 2021
Updated: May. 14, 2022
This paper reports on the background, context, design, and findings of a collaborative research project designed to develop a future roadmap for strengthening an Australian research-rich and self-improving education system. Building on the BERA-RSA Inquiry into the role of research in the teaching profession in the UK (Furlong, 2013), the Australian Teacher Education Association (ATEA), Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) and Australian Council of Deans of Education (ACDE) initiated a national study across education systems and jurisdictions to identify ideas, issues, challenges and opportunities to strengthen teacher education and education policy development through research. The mixed-method study, inclusive of focus groups and an on-line survey collected data from pre-service teachers, teachers, academics and leaders across schools, universities and education departments. A set of recommendations highlight the need for research literacies to be embedded at all stages of a teachers’ career and that the profession would benefit from professional learning strategies where teachers are positioned as both critical and discerning consumers and active producers of research. The importance of teachers being able to respond to data within their own set of contextual factors was a key message.
Published: 2021
Updated: Jan. 09, 2022
This article reports on the professional benefits of using Critical Friends Group discussion protocols within a Collaborative Action Research project facilitated by two teacher-educators with four junior secondary school teachers in New Zealand. The teachers were encouraged to conduct Action Research projects on topics of their own choice. Critical Friends Group discussions were one of the several strategies implemented to provide for collaboration in the Action Research process. The findings highlight how Critical Friends Group protocols assisted collegial discussions by supporting the professional integrity of participants as they disclosed problems and gave peer feedback aimed at elevating the effectiveness of each other’s practice. The protocols set up a safe space for the teachers to challenge assumptions and make suggestions leading to deeper thinking, pedagogically rich conversations and reflective listening. The Critical Friends Group discussions were complemented by other Action Research activities. Reviewing literature increased the pedagogical content knowledge available to the group. In-class observations supported teachers to identify professional problems for critique and pushed teachers to action ideas from Critical Friends Group discussions. The article concludes by advocating for teachers, teacher-leaders, and teacher-educators to explore using Critical Friends Group protocols because of the capacity to promote deep, collegial examination of pedagogical practices.
Published: 2021
Updated: Jul. 15, 2021
This article describes how research-based knowledge was used in practice in an action research project which examined student dropout. The research was conducted as ‘research circles’ and involved systematic and organised cooperation between researchers and practitioners, in this case college teachers. Based on interviews with the teachers, the authors found that research-based knowledge was used in a variety of ways: as concepts for discussing real-world experiences, as confirmation of the teachers’ practical experiences, as a frame for understanding praxis, to inform action, to conduct research activities, and as a way of legitimising the importance of the practitioners’ performance in their daily work. The teachers used knowledge from previous research as well as that developed during the course of the project. However, findings indicated that research-based knowledge appeared to be more useful for talking about and understanding practice rather than guiding practical action. In order to deepen its impact on practitioners’ actions, researchers and practitioners should work together to translate research-based knowledge and theoretical concepts into practice and specify how practitioners can apply it when developing their actions. Therefore, action researchers should allocate time to the process of transforming research-based knowledge into practical actions – in co-operation with practitioners – as an integral part of their research project.
Published: 2021
Updated: Jul. 14, 2021