What Action Research Is and Is Not

What it is… What it is not…
•A process that improves education through change •Problem-solving
•Collaborative •Doing research on or about people
•Cyclical •Linear
•Practical and relevant •Conclusive
•Within the context of teacher’s environment •Generalizing to larger populations
•How we can do things better •Why we do certain things
•Explores, discovers and seeks to find creative solutions •The implementation of predetermined answers
•A way to improve instructional practice by observing, revising, and reflecting •A fad

The Action Research Process





  • A professional stance
  • A way of learning about your classroom
  • A way of learning about yourself as a teacher
  • Using the 5whQ
  • Possible questions:

Why do the boys in my class….?

What happens when I …..?

I wonder what happens when  I …..?

Starting points to identify an issue you would like to research (Caro-Bruce, 2000):

Sometimes it helps to use a variety of questions such as:

I would like to improve ____________________________________

I am perplexed by________________________________________

I am really curious about __________________________________

Something I think would really make a difference is ___________

Something I would like to change is _______________________

What happens to student learning in my classroom when I _____?

How can I implement ____________________________________?

How can I improve ______________________________________?

Step 2:
 Read, Research, Reflect

  • Framing a good question

Avoid yes or no questions

Avoid questions to which you already know the answer

  • A good question is

free of educational jargons,

use simple everyday words,

do not prejudge the result

Characteristics of Good Research Questions

A good classroom action research question should:

  • Be meaningful, compelling, and important to you as a teacher-researcher.
  • Be manageable and within your sphere of influence.
  • Be important for learners.
  • Benefits your students by informing your teaching and the curriculum, by providing new insights about students and their learning, by broadening and deepening your perspectives, or by improving practice.
  • Lead to taking an action


  • What happens to the quality of student writing when I implement peer editing in my English classes?
  • How does the use of computers affect the student writing process in my class?
  • What happens to student understanding of specific geometrical concepts when I incorporate exploratory exercises into the teaching of geometry in my classroom?
  • What happens to students’ academic performance in the classrooms when the school observes the heterogeneous system during cooperative learning activities?

Conducting a Literature Review
(Holly, Arhar, and Kasten ,2005)

  • Read broadly and generally, at first, then read more narrowly.
  • When you are researching a novel topic that seems to have few resources, look for related topics and then synthesize them.
  • Consult primary resources as possible.
  • Ask for help.
  • Read enough to get started, but not so much that you become too exhausted to conduct your study.
  • Read with a critical eye.

Step 3:
Make changes or try a new idea   

What are you going to do?

How will you measure the result?

Identifying Data Sources

  • Why are we collecting the data?
  • How are the data related to the research question?
  • What kind of data will yield the best information? What counts as data?
  • What data will we collect? How much data will we collect? Will data be easy or difficult to collect?
  • Who will be using the data?
  • What data sources will we use to collect information?
  • How will the data be collected and analyzed? How systematic will data collection be?
  • How will the data be organized? How will the data be displayed?
  • What criteria will be used to analyze the data?
  • How will the data be recorded and shared?

Step 4: 
Evaluate and Reflect

How can you be sure that your conclusions are fair and accurate?

Step 5:
Improve or amend your practice

How will I do things differently?

What have you learned from the project?

Have your questions been answered?

How will you share the results?

Could they be useful to others in your school/ community?


Context and Rationale of the Study

  • Cite Literature review
  • What is the general situation/circumstance that makes you develop your research proposal?
  • Why is this situation/ circumstance important?
  • What do you intend to do?
  • This is the aim of your study. This should also be embedded in your main arguments.
  • The significance of your research
  • Why is your study important?
  • Who or what industry will benefit? Why?
  • What would be the potential contribution or insight of my research?


Reflect on your experiences and identify the most critical problem that affects your students’ learning


  • Explain the intervention and cite literature that supports /validate the strategy to be used
  • The teacher-researchers will develop an M.A.D (Modified Awareness Design) Tool: Contextualized and Localized Instructional Learning Material with seven (7) lessons where its objectives are based on the least mastered skills. The development of the IM anchors the simplified process of ADDIE Model which follows: Phase I – Preparation, Phase II – Development, Phase III – Validation, Phase IV – Try-Out.


* PARTICIPANTS – All Grade 8 OHSP learners will serve as the respondents of this study.


* SOURCES OF DATA/ INFORMATION – The following are the data collection tools which will be utilized this study:

  • Research constructed questionnaire
  • Pretest/ post-test
  • Summative test scores


  • In developing the instructional learning material, the concept of ADDIE will utilize where:
  • Phase I- The preparation stage involves administering the pretest using the teacher-made test validated by the Grade 8 teachers. It will use to determine the least mastered skills of the Grade 8 OHSP learners. The contents and components of the MAD Tool: Contextualized and Localized IM will base on the result of the pretest.
  • Phase II – The development stage involves the following phases; deciding on the format of the module, the process of writing the module and the initial revisions needed to improve the first draft of the module.
  • Phase III – In the validation stage, English teachers (peers and experts) will ask to assess the module in terms of its objectives

Plans for Dissemination and Utilization

  • The results of the study will be presented and disseminated during learning action cells, teacher’s quality circle, conference after the study and will be presented through infographics which will be part of the initiatives of the school administrators and the subject area teachers.


  Teachers must continue to give frequent positive feedback that supports pupil’s beliefs that they can do well; ensure opportunities for student’s success by assigning tasks that are either too easy nor too difficult; help students find personal meaning and value of the material; and help students feel that they are valued members of a learning community.


Sample of Reflection

As I reflect on my first journey as a teacher-researcher, I breathe a sigh of relief. The light at the end of this long, winding tunnel is finally in sight. I found the process of conducting an action research project very complex and often overwhelming. However, at the same time, I found it to be extremely enlightening and rewarding.

It is self-perception about the study.


Best, J.W., & Kahn, J.V. (1998). Research in education (8th ed.). Needham Heights, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

Borg, W. (1981). Applying educational research: A practical guide for teachers.New York: Longman.

Brennan, M., & Williamson, P. (1981). Investigating learning in schools. Victoria, Australia: Deakin University Press.

Calhoun, E.F. (1994). How to use action research in the self-renewing school. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Cochran-Smith, M., & Lytle, S.L. (Eds.). (1993). Inside/outside: Teacher research and knowledge. New York: Teachers College Press.

Corey, S.M. (1953). Action research to improve school practices. New York: Teachers College Press.

Johnson, B.M. (1995, Fall). Why conduct action research? Teaching and Change,1, 90-105.

source: SDO Las Pinas