Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Sample of Action Research Proposal (2)

Sandra K. Bernard – Fifth Grade Teacher
Bayview Elementary School
May 2, 2005
Action Research Final Plan

1. My area of focus
Teaching science and social studies exclusively was new to me. Additionally this concept was new to our school. From the beginning of last school year I began my science classes with inquiry-based instruction. However, very early in the 2003 – 2004 school year I became frustrated with the result. The students were having a difficult time staying on task and completing their assigned projects productively. This group of students was unable to handle the freedom required to complete an inquiry-based lesson. I did not know if it was just the general make up of the population of students, or the way I was facilitating the Inquiry-based science lessons, or if I had started too early. I made a decision last school year that that this school year
I would wait until late in the first semester or the beginning of the second semester before attempting an inquiry-based science curriculum.
Our school received a new principal this 2004 – 2005 school year. She has a very strong science background and was anxious for me to facilitate learning in the science classroom through inquiry-based instruction. She was very supportive and patient with me while I established my rituals and routines with my students in hopes of insuring my students were ready and able to handle the freedom of inquiry- based instruction. During the first semester of class I modeled numerous science investigations to give my students the advantage of seeing first hand how using the scientific process skills would look when they were actually involved in the inquirybased science process. This also gave them an opportunity to see how science experiments are
conducted to better understand scientific concepts and standards.
Joining the Action Research Project afforded me the opportunity to better analyze my practices with my students. I had two questions that I wanted answered. One, “Was there significant increase in learning using the inquiry-based strategies?” Two, “Are my students motivated more by learning science concepts using inquiry-based instruction versus traditional teaching practices?”

2. Literature review
• Elements in a Strategy for Teaching Science in the Elementary School by Paul E.Brandwein
• Team Science Organizing Classroom Experiments That Develop Skills by Marilyn Coffin
• Doing What Scientist Do by Doris Heinemann
• The Art of Classroom Inquiry by R. S. Hubbard and B. M. Power
• The Kid’s Science Book - Creative Experiences for Hands-on Fun by Robert Hirschfeld and Nancy White

3. Variables
All fifth grade regular education and main streamed students were involved in my study at Bayview Elementary School. I met with my students for seventy minutes each day. My strategies for teaching science were the traditional and inquiry-based. I separated each technique by semesters. First semester I taught mainly the traditional method. The second semester I facilitated learning through the inquiry-based method.

4. My research questions that guided my research
a. Will growth in the area of science knowledge be evident at the end of second semester?
b. Will there be growth in the area of application of the scientific process?
c. Will there be a difference in the students’ attitudes and motivation for gaining science knowledge?

5. Approach that I studied
My first idea was to prove that inquiry-based instruction would improve science knowledge and growth in the area of application of scientific process. The definition for inquiry-based instruction is to facilitate learning in a way that would allow students the opportunity to experience science with a hands-on approach. My students would observe, using their senses to learn about objects and events. From their observations students would gather data and learn to make charts, tables, and graphs so that predictions and inferences can be made. The fifth graders that I teach would compare identify characteristics of things and events to find out how they are alike and different. Students would learn and implement the appropriate tools to measure mass, length, and volume.
Eventually students would feel comfortable with the scientific process to make hypothesis based on their observations, knowledge and experiences in the science environment. Ultimately students will plan and conduct simple investigations by identifying and performing steps necessary to find answers to scientifically based questions using the appropriate tools. Students will have numerous hands-on experiences in exploring science so that they are comfortable using logical reasoning to explain events and draw conclusions based on observations. Teacher observation using rubrics will be used to determine students’ successful completion of each concept covered. Some paper and pencil evaluations will be used to determine the success of the students’ progress. This way of teaching was in contrast to the traditional style using a textbook the majority of the time to teach scientific knowledge. Using the traditional approach students read the material individually, in pairs, in small groups, or large groups. A discussion is led by the teacher about the content of what was read. Students copy an outline about the information read from the text and define vocabulary. A few demonstrations are done in the classroom to show examples of a concept covered in class. A paper and pencil test is administered after each chapter is read. Looking at the data displaying missed and correct items showed a significant increase of forty-six and six tenths percent science content knowledge improvement comparing the first test administered to the last test administered. (Please see chart attached for a thorough break down of numbers.)
Secondly, I wanted to see if the students’ motivation for learning science content would change using the inquiry-based method. The results were staggering in each category that I surveyed the students. (Please see attached survey form.) Eighty-two percent of my students said that they were motivated to learn the science material when able to complete hands-on investigations. Eighty percent of my students stated that they could
see the relationship of the standard and the lesson when they completed hands-on investigations. Another eighty percent of my students said that they were excited to come to science class when they knew that they wee going to do hands-on investigations in class.

6. Negotiations made
My principal was very supportive and open to the idea of this study.

7. Timeline
a. Beginning in August, 2004, and up until the end of first semester I used the noninquiry approach to teaching science. Most of the investigations were conducted using demonstrations by the teacher or students. Very little hands-on experiences were evident in my classroom during the first semester of this 2004 – 2005 school
b. Beginning in January, 2005, I used an inquiry approach to teaching in science class.
c. In September, December, February, and mid-April I administered the FCAT Practice Test to compare progress made by students.

8. Data
a. I used two forms of the FCAT Practice Test. One form for the first two tests, and second form for the last two tests administered.
b. I gave the students an attitude survey in mid April to evaluate their interests and styles of teaching preferred.
c. All the data were summarized on charts and graphs.

9. Data analysis and interpretations
Clearly the numbers show that growth in the area of science knowledge is evident at the end of second semester with forty-six percent of my students showing an increase in items marked correct on the FCAT Practice Tests. Another enlightening bit of information that I found useful was the improvement that the students made on two questions asked on the FCAT Practice Tests that required written responses. On the first test EVERY student missed each of the two questions (numbers eight and fourteen). On the last test administered on item eight, ninety-two percent of my students correctly answered the question, and for number fourteen, sixty-eight percent of my students answered the question correctly. This demonstrates to me that the more the students are actively involved in asking questions and solving problems in science they are better equipped to think like scientists; therefore, at ease with expressing themselves in a scientific manner.
I was particularly impressed with the numbers that I calculated after completing the motivation survey. Eighty-two percent of my students replied that they were motivated to learn science information when completing hands-on investigations. Also eighty-two percent were motivated to learn more about the science standards through their experiences with hands-on investigations. Eighty percent of my students said that they
were excited to come to science class when they knew that they would be completing hands-on investigations. (Hands-on investigation is the term I use with my students to communicate the inquiry-based science approach to learning science.)

10. My next plan of action
Since I will be moving to Tampa my next plan of action will be to investigate the possibilities of working with the Pinellas County School District and the University of South Florida to further my endeavors with Action Research.

11. Reaction to doing the Action Research
I have learned how much clearer the picture becomes displaying what a teacher is doing day to day through using the Action Research methods of analyzing data. After administering the attitude survey, I learned how truly motivated my students were to inquiry-based teachings. This project afforded me the opportunity to think and act “out of the box” as far as my typical teaching practices have been.

12. MURMS Project
The MURMS project has helped me to improve my teaching practices because I have been given the tools to better understand how and why my students perform in the area of science. I have gained knowledge from the other members of this project gaining new insights into better teaching practices.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Guide to Write Action research Proposal

When dealing with action research papers, students should be ready to prepare good action research proposals. If you need to write an action research proposal and have no time for studying long tutorials on how to do it, this article should interest you.
Do you have any idea of how to compose a worthwhile action research proposal? Well, you will get all necessary answers within this article.

Let us get down to business right now!


An action research proposal is a paper that pursues two major purposes:
  • To give a plan of your action research project;
  • To present the main idea of research that will be done.

Any action research proposal should be written in accordance with a certain structure. In order to help you and save your time, we offer one of the possible action research proposal outlines. Even more, we offer you the questions to answer in each chapter of your action research proposal:
    • Why is this research important?
    • What is the major issue to be studied?
    • What are the estimated results? Why?
    • What do other scientists say about the problem you are going to analyze?
    • What relevant literature may be reviewed in the course of research?
    • What is so important about the chosen sources?
    • What innovative approach are you going to apply for your investigation?
    • What kind of methods will be used in the work?
    • What do you expect to get from the work done?
    • How can this investigation be continued/developed?
    • Is it really necessary to conduct this research?
    • Are you satisfied with this plan of work?
    • What are your requests?
For more explaination about this article you can visit : http://blog.a-pluss.com/2008/10/31/how-to-write-an-action-research-proposal/

Friday, February 25, 2011

How to prepare a research proposal?

All research proposals should contain the following information:
1. Title
This should be short and explanatory.
2. Background
This section should contain a rationale for your research. Why are you undertaking the project? Why is the research needed? This rationale should be placed within the context of existing research or within your own experience and/or observation. You need to demonstrate that you know what you’re talking about and that you have knowledge of the literature surrounding this topic. If you’re unable to find any other research which deals specifically with your proposed project, you need to say so, illustrating how your proposed research will fill this gap. If there is other work which has covered this area, you need to show how your work will build on and add to the existing knowledge. Basically, you have to convince people that you know what you’re talking about and that the research is important.
3. Aims and objectives
Many research proposal formats will ask for only one or two aims and may not require objectives. However, for some research these will need to be broken down in more depth to also include the objectives. The aim is the overall driving force of the research and the objectives are the means by which you intend to achieve the aims. These must be clear and succinct.
3. Methodology/methods
For research at postgraduate level you may need to split the methodology and methods section into two. However, for most projects they can be combined. In this section you need to describe your proposed research methodology and methods and justify their use. Why have you decided upon your methodology? Why have you decided to use those particular methods? Why are other methods not appropriate?
This section needs to include details about samples, numbers of people to be contacted, method of data collection, methods of data analysis and ethical considerations. If you have chosen a less well known methodology, you may need to spend more time justifying your choice than you would need to if you had chosen a more traditional methodology. This section should be quite detailed – many funding organisations find that the most common reason for proposal failure is the lack of methodological detail.
4. Timetable
A detailed timetable scheduling all aspects of the research should be produced. This will include time taken to conduct background research, questionnaire or interview schedule development, data collection, data analysis and report writing. Research almost always takes longer than you anticipate. Allow for this and add a few extra weeks on to each section of your timetable. If you finish earlier than you anticipated, that’s fine as you have more time to spend on your report. However, finishing late can create problems especially if you have to meet deadlines.
5. Budget and resources
If you’re applying to a funding body you need to think about what you will need for your research and how much this is likely to cost. You need to do this so that you apply for the right amount of money and are not left out of pocket if you have under-budgeted. Funding bodies also need to know that you have not over-budgeted and expect more money than you’re going to use. If you are a student you may not have to include this section in your proposal, although some tutors will want to know that you have thought carefully about what resources are needed and from where you expect to obtain these. Some types of research are more expensive than others and if you’re on a limited budget you will have to think about this when deciding upon your research method.
6. Dissemination
What do you expect to do with the results of your research? How are you going to let people know about what you have found out? For students it will suffice to say that the results will be produced in an undergraduate dissertation which will be made available in the institution library. For other researchers you may want to produce a written report, make oral presentations to relevant bodies, produce a web site or write a journal article.

Participatory Action Research (Book Reference)

Participatory Action Research (PAR) introduces a method that is ideal for researchers who are committed to co-developing research programs with people rather than for people. The book provides a history of this technique, its various strands, and the underlying tenets that guide most projects. It then draws on two PAR projects that highlight three integral dimensions: the meaning of participation; the way action manifests itself; and the strategies for gathering, analyzing, and disseminating information.

Author Alice McIntyre describes the various ways in which PAR is carried out depending on, for example, the issue under investigation, the site of the project, the project participants, people's access to resources, and other related issues.

Intended Audience: This resource is an ideal supplement for graduate courses PAR, qualitative research, and various types of action-based research.

Action Research Book for Reference.

Action Research for Professional Development

Action Research for Professional DevelopmentConcise advice for new (and experienced) action researchers
by Jean McNiff
Publication date: 14 November 2010
192 pages
Price £14.99, including post and packing
This is a beginners’ guide to action research, though experienced action researchers may find it useful too. It is written in reader-friendly, accessible language, with lots of examples and exercises.
1 What is action research?
2 Why do action research?
3 Who can do action research?
4 What is involved in doing action research?
5 How is action research different from traditional research?
6 A summary of the main features of action research
7 Action research and work-based learning
8 How can action research help me as a practitioner?
9 Action research and higher and continuing education: Accrediting work-based learning
10 Where is action research located in research methodologies?
11 What if I am unemployed? Can action research help me then?
12 How do I do action research?
13 How do I begin an action enquiry? What is my concern?
14 Developing a research question
15 Why am I concerned?
16 How do I show the situation as it is and as it develops?
17 What can I do about it? What will I do?
18 How do I generate evidence from the data?
19 How do I check that any conclusions I come to are reasonably fair and accurate?
20 How do I explain the significance of my research?
21 How do I modify my ideas and practices in light of my evaluation?
22 Implications for your own personal and professional development
23 Implications for whole organisational development
24 Your contribution to good social orders
25 Some implications of your action research for new ways of thinking (logics) and new ways of knowing (epistemologies)
26 Developing new writing skills and capacities
27 Writing an action research report
28 Writing a progress report
29 Writing a proposal
30 Writing an academic report, dissertation or thesis
31 Compiling a professional portfolio
End word

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

You Know What Action Research Is?

Based on Wikipedia, Action research is an interactive inquiry process that balances problem solving actions implemented in a collaborative context with data-driven collaborative analysis or research to understand underlying causes enabling future predictions about personal and organizational change (Reason & Bradbury, 2002). After six decades of action research development, many methodologies have evolved that adjust the balance to focus more on the actions taken or more on the research that results from the reflective understanding of the actions. This tension exists between
  1. those who are more driven by the researcher’s agenda and those more driven by participants;
  2. those who are motivated primarily by instrumental goal attainment and those motivated primarily by the aim of personal, organizational, or societal transformation; and
  3. 1st-, to 2nd-, to 3rd-person research, that is, my research on my own action, aimed primarily at personal change; our research on our group (family/team), aimed primarily at improving the group; and ‘scholarly’ research aimed primarily at theoretical generalization and/or large scale change.
Action research challenges traditional social science, by moving beyond reflective knowledge created by outside experts sampling variables to an active moment-to-moment theorizing, data collecting, and inquiring occurring in the midst of emergent structure. “Knowledge is always gained through action and for action. From this starting point, to question the validity of social knowledge is to question, not how to develop a reflective science about action, but how to develop genuinely well-informed action — how to conduct an action science” (Torbert 2002). In short, performing action research is the same as performing an experiment, thus it is an empirical process.