Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Observing action research processes in practice
by Davidson, Adina O., Ph.D., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2009, 183; 3354496
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of the current study was to observe how teachers integrate action research processes into their instructional practice. While action research is often presented to teachers as a methodology, the processes used in the pursuit of research questions may provide a way of conceptualizing effective teaching practice. The two participants in this study were observed in their school environments and interviewed prior to and following the observational period. Qualitative methods included participant observation, interviews, and document review. Multiple methods were employed for the purpose of triangulating the observed action research processes in practice. In this collective case study data were collected, coded, and analyzed to interpret and describe how action research processes were employed in practice.

Participants in this study employed action research processes without a fixed order and informally in practice. Each case illustrated different ways in which action research processes were integrated into practice. One participant was observed to integrate action research processes in practice routinely though somewhat sporadically in her practice and focused on short-term practice related issues. The other participant was more systematic in her integration of these processes in practice. For her, integration of these processes was ongoing and often cyclical in nature. Systems for integration of action research processes were embedded in her practice. Contextual circumstances such as planning time available to participants, class structure, student age, years of teaching experience, and curriculum requirements appeared to influence, in part, how processes were employed in practice. Overall participants demonstrated a broader application of action research processes that transcended the use of action research solely as a research methodology. Through observation of their practice, it was evident that participants, to varying degrees, adopted an action research stance with regard to their teaching.

Teachers who adopt an action research teaching stance systematically and connectedly: engage in reflection, question their instructional methodology, and routinely seek ways to improve their practice to more effectively meet the learning needs of their students by consulting other sources and using data to inform their practice. They view themselves as change agents and actively advocate for and effectuate change in their schools. Teachers who have the characteristics described above are likely to be more effective in meeting the learning needs of their students (Auger & Wildman, 2000).

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Glazier, Jocelyn
Commitee: Anderson, Amy, Glazier, Jocelyn, Lloyd, Mollie, Noblit, George, Rogers, Dwight
School: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Department: Education: Doctorate/Master's in Education
School Location: United States -- North Carolina
Source: DAI-A 70/04, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Teacher education, Curriculum development
Keywords: Action research, Action research in practice, Effective teaching, Good teaching, Reconceptualizing action research, Teacher education
Publication Number: 3354496
ISBN: 9781109115437