writing discussion question and need an explanation and answer to help me learn.
Initial Post. The initial post must include the research proposal paper 3 you are writing for Module 3 (Step 2). The research proposal paper should be submitted as a word document for instructor feedback in the assignment space and as a link in the discussion space for peer review (Step 3). The total number of words can be up to 1,500. In addition to submitting your research proposal paper, you must include a short reflection on the experience in writing your research proposal paper and a short reflection on group work according to the following:
You know the names and work well with the members of your group.
You meet or communicate weekly and have a substantive discussion on the readings and resources provided.
The group discusses the assignment in detail (e.g., the corresponding research proposal paper) and provides clarification, examples, and support to each other.
Please consult the research proposal paper 3 rubrics for Module 3.
Response Post. In addition to your initial post, you will also post a response post. In your response post, you will be asked to provide feedback to at least two peers on their research proposal paper 3. Please review the grading rubric for the research proposal paper 3 before responding to your peers. Responses should demonstrate engagement with the Module 3 materials (readings, videos, activities, etc.). Citations of course materials and outside resources are required to support your comments.
Scholarly work that is commensurate with a Master’s level program is the expectation. This requires the inclusion of tables, figures, references, and resources in alignment with APA guidelines.
As you provide feedback to your peers:
Please be thoughtful and honor your peer’s effort by providing a substantive review—it does not have to be a long review (e.g., one page), but it should be significant, and it should be submitted before or by the deadline. Do not forget to mention the name of the peer or peers you are reviewing (e.g., Dear Nicole).
Use the guidelines provided to guide your feedback and suggest any changes or additions that may be helpful.
What 1-2 related resources would you recommend for your peer? Provide a brief description of how these resources may enhance your peer’s research proposal project.
Compliment strong points made, connect to the text, and build on the emerging discourse.
The original contribution posting is usually due 2-3 days before the reply response posting to allow enough time to read and think about other contributions to the topic. Specific days required for the initial and reply posts are listed in your Course Schedule. For additional information on roundtable discussions and requirements, please refer below to the Roundtable Discussion FAQs.
Please complete the following tasks for each Roundtable Discussion.
1: Post Your Initial Post to the Roundtable Discussion
1) The research proposal paper 3 should be submitted as a link in the discussion space and as a Word attachment in the assignment space.
2) The post should include a short reflection on the writing process.
3) The post should include a short reflection on group work.
2: Post your Response Post: Read and Respond to at Least Two Peers
You are expected to read each other’s contributions. Rather than having a face-to-face conversation, you will be having a written conversation. As with any discussion, you may agree or disagree with a person, elaborate, provide personal examples, etc.
Response Posts must:
1) Provide feedback to at least two peers on their research proposal paper 3. Students should review the grading rubric before responding to their peers.
2) Demonstrate engagement with the Module 3 materials (readings, videos, activities, etc.)
3) Include citations of course materials and 1-2 outside resources using APA guidelines.
In this module, we will make crucial decisions regarding the methods and procedures you will use for your research. We will also develop a design for the research, including considerations on sampling, instrumentation, and data collection.
Please continue to refer to the guidelines for the final paper Links to an external site.and engage with your affinity group!
Requirements: 1500 words
61 Action research is a process of self- reflection in which you have the central role during each phase of your action research project. This chapter focuses on the development of a plan of action for your inquiry. By now, you have selected the approach (qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods) that will guide your study based on your understanding of the major paradigms that underlie action research and the methods that each perspective entails. You have also expanded your knowledge of the topic you have chosen to investigate and have formulated your research question(s). It’s time now for the next step of your action research project: developing the research plan with a focus on the data collection procedure.The research plan serves as a guide for the inquiry process. It invites you to step back before you launch your investigation and to carefully consider the essen-tial issues involved. Consider questions that will guide the procedures involved in implementing your study. For example: How will you collect the data? How will you choose the participants for your study? What will be the scope of the study and how long will it last? What will be your role as an action researcher throughout the investigation? How will you ensure soundness of the data you plan to collect?When you implement your plan, you may need to revise, adapt, and modify it to respond to and accommodate unexpected school circumstances. For example, you may have to schedule an interview with a colleague but the colleague’s plans have changed, and he or she is no longer available or interested in participating in your study. You now need to find another interviewee or modify your data CHAPTER 4developing a Plan of ActionEfron, S. E., & Ravid, R. (2019). Action research in education : A practical guide. Guilford Publications.Created from asulib-ebooks on 2023-01-28 07:29:59.Copyright © 2019. Guilford Publications. All rights reserved.
62 ActIon ReseARch In educAtIon collection plans. In another example, you may decide to survey another group of students because of a low response rate from your first attempt to collect sur-vey data. However, thinking ahead and identifying the steps involved in putting together a practical, logical, and purposeful plan will prevent aimless and hap-hazard inquiry. Carefully planning the study’s procedures in advance is especially helpful for a novice action researcher.The starting point and the key for developing your research plan is your research question. The question is a trigger for planning the process that will enable you to find meaningful answers. The question guides your decisions regard-ing the scope of the inquiry, the participants you choose, and the data collection and analysis techniques you select. You should also pay attention to the practical implications of conducting your inquiry within the context of your day-to-day work and its effect on your practice. Consider issues such as What is your role in the research setting? Are you a teacher, a specialist, or an administrator? Are you a student teacher, parent, tutor, or a visitor? Additionally, be cognizant of the amount of time you may be able to dedicate to the project and whether this study is compatible with your other professional obligations and responsibilities. Also, be sure to get the proper permission to conduct the study from all involved.The research plan should be described in sufficient detail to provide you with a clear blueprint to guide your investigation. A meaningful and efficient research plan usually necessitates reflecting on the following elements:1. Considering your role as a researcher2. Establishing the research scope3. Identifying the research site and participants4. Choosing data collection procedures5. Ensuring the study’s validity and trustworthiness6. Developing ethical guidelines7. Creating a “to-do” listCONSIDERING YOUR ROLE AS A RESEARCHERAt the center of the discussion about the researcher role is the question about the subjective or objective stance you are assuming during the collection, analysis, Efron, S. E., & Ravid, R. (2019). Action research in education : A practical guide. Guilford Publications.Created from asulib-ebooks on 2023-01-28 07:29:59.Copyright © 2019. Guilford Publications. All rights reserved.
4. developing a Plan of Action 63and interpretation of the data. There is a long debate between qualitative and quantitative researchers about how subjectivity should be addressed in educational research. Qualitative researchers perceive subjectivity as an integral part of the research process. They often reinforce the personal dimension of the study by disclosing past and present involvement with the topic, as well as their personal experiences during the research process. On the other hand, quantitative research-ers view objectivity as essential for conducting educational research. They detach themselves from the study participants to avoid influencing the research process and compromising the credibility of the findings.However, the role of educational practitioners who investigate their own prac-tice is much more complex. Realistically, objectivity cannot be achieved as the practitioners are intimately involved and building relationships with their students, colleagues, administrators, and parents. By the same token, these ongoing relation-ships may limit the practitioner’s ability to be open to new and different percep-tions, viewpoints, and understandings.In short, in action research there needs to be a balance between objectivity and subjectivity. As a researcher, you should strive for a disciplined subjectivity, acknowledging explicitly the following connections: (1) your own values, beliefs, and commitments that are related to the study; (2) your past involvement and expe-rience with the topic; and (3) your relationship with the participants. Recognizing these connections personally and publicly will mitigate your subjectivity and pre-vent bias from creeping in and influencing the study. Understanding your role as a researcher will also facilitate the process of understanding your findings.Qualitative research emphasizes the concept of reflexivity as it relates to acknowledging how the researchers’ perspectives and positions shape the research. Reflexivity means self- awareness and taking into account the potential impact of one’s values, worldview, and life experience, and their influence on the deci-sions made and actions taken during the research process. Reflexivity suggests that the action researchers acknowledge and disclose their subjectivity and monitor its potential effect on their data collection and data interpretation (Guillemin & Gil-lam, 2004; Rallis & Rossman, 2017; Rossman & Rallis, 2016).The researcher role statement in Box 4.1 was written by Mindy, a sixth-grade teacher, who investigated the topic of differentiation. Mindy’s statement reveals reflexivity as she reflects on her role, subjectivity, and bias, and their impact on her investigation. She deliberates on ways that will ensure her ability to contemplate truthfully the perceptions and meaning her participants make of their experience with differentiation.Efron, S. E., & Ravid, R. (2019). Action research in education : A practical guide. Guilford Publications.Created from asulib-ebooks on 2023-01-28 07:29:59.Copyright © 2019. Guilford Publications. All rights reserved.
64ActIon ReseARch In educAtIonBOX 4.1. A Researcher Role StatementThe topic of differentiation has been a part of my professional teaching career since before I even set foot in a classroom. I was introduced to the topic in one of the first courses I took for teacher certification that focused on the issues pertaining to the education of children with disabilities. It was here that I began to understand the challenges of teaching the different types of learners who make up today’s inclusive classroom. The concept of adapting the practice to the different needs of individual students has resonated deeply with me as it complements my perception of teach-ing and learning and my belief in constructivist, democratic, and student- centered education. I also know that, as a student, I flourished and thrived when I was taught by caring teachers who took the time to see me as I am and tried to encourage me to shine, in spite of my shyness. I wanted to provide such an experience to my own future students. As I continued my graduate studies, and even more so during my substitute teaching and student teaching, the varied levels of learners in any classroom became obvious to me as well as the complexities that are involved in teaching curriculum that can be understood by all. Confronting such a reality led me to find ways to reach each student in my classroom and to search for strategies for adapting my instruction to his or her needs, strengths, and challenges.Now, as a sixth-grade general education teacher of reading, language arts, and social studies, I am challenged by this aspiration each day and continually find myself searching for new ways to meet students at their own varied level of learning. In any particular period during the day, I can have a classroom of 25 students that will include special education students with individualized education plans (IEPs), and students for whom English is a second language and students who have been identi-fied as gifted, as well as various levels of learners in between. More than ever, I am convinced that in a diversified classroom of learners, a teacher cannot simply teach the curriculum the same way to each student; different modalities of instruction can reach more students. However, I have never explored systematically students’ and parents’ perspectives on differentiation and whether they feel it affects the learning experience in the classroom. In this research my focus is on them.I know that my personal convictions and passionate feelings toward this topic, as well as my presence in the setting, may impact my research. I acknowledge my biases and am aware that my preconceptions may enter into the data collection, analysis, and interpretation process and that I need to take measures to monitor my bias and subjectivity. My goal is to hear and understand students and parents and learn from them and from the way they make meaning of our class reality and how they experience it. This requires me to listen carefully and with sensitivity to their voices. Aware of the possibility of bias I will constantly and honestly reflect on how my subjectivity shapes what data I collect, analyze, and interpret.Efron, S. E., & Ravid, R. (2019). Action research in education : A practical guide. Guilford Publications.Created from asulib-ebooks on 2023-01-28 07:29:59.Copyright © 2019. Guilford Publications. All rights reserved.
4. developing a Plan of Action 65ESTABLISHING THE RESEARCH SCOPEThe scope of your study is determined by your research question and the purpose of your study. The scope affects decisions such as the length of time you will dedi-cate to conducting the investigation, the number and nature of the data collection tools you will utilize, and the participants who will be involved. For example, how many interviews will you conduct? How many observations will you be able to carry out? How many surveys will you administer and to whom?In a qualitative inquiry, the study is an evolving process and the action researcher is usually expected to carry out the study for a prolonged period of time using a variety of data collection techniques. Optimally, the research project con-tinues until the practitioners feel they have obtained all the information needed for answering the research question and sense that the continuation of the inquiry will not yield any additional insight. By comparison, in quantitative action research, the scope of the study is more defined and predetermined, and the research is planned ahead of time in greater detail. The investigation ends when the data are collected and analyzed.As you plan the scope of your study, consider its purpose by reflecting on points such as Are you engaged in your research project to inform your practice or enhance your professional growth and skills? Are you motivated to undertake the study to solve a particular problem you encounter in your work? Are you required to conduct the study as part of formal coursework? Are you contemplating pre-senting your findings within your district or at a state or national conference? Is your intention to publish your findings or post them online? The answers to these questions will influence the scope of your study.Another consideration that impacts the extent of your inquiry is the external conditions that are not within your control. These include issues such as the school calendar, the length of the curriculum unit or program that you plan to investigate, standardized testing dates, or the due date of an assignment you are completing for a course. Other external concerns may be your ability to access information within your school (e.g., test scores and attendance records) and the district or school policy pertaining to research conducted within the school. If, on the other hand, the research project is part of your coursework, educational degree program, or student- teaching requirements, the course syllabus may dictate the parameters of your research project. Consult with your advisor, mentor, or class instructor as to the extent of data collection required, time frames, and scope of the project.The research project should always be manageable and doable. Remem-ber that your first obligation is to your students, colleagues, parents, and Efron, S. E., & Ravid, R. (2019). Action research in education : A practical guide. Guilford Publications.Created from asulib-ebooks on 2023-01-28 07:29:59.Copyright © 2019. Guilford Publications. All rights reserved.
66 ActIon ReseARch In educAtIon administrators. While your aim should be for an in-depth inquiry, be realistic as you plan and implement the study within the framework of your practice. Identify the boundaries and constraints of your proposed study and consider how they may affect your ability to investigate effectively. Moreover, be sure that the process of conducting your research does not negatively impact the quality of your practice.Having a manageable project is especially true if this is the first time you are conducting action research and are unfamiliar with the process. We suggest view-ing this project as the first step in a career- long professional development process as an action researcher. Use the experience of this study to become comfortable with the process of being a researcher, to acquire the skills needed for conduct-ing school research, and to learn to appreciate its potential for your professional growth. The main focus is on the experience of being a researcher, rather than on the specific results of the study.IDENTIFYING THE RESEARCH SITE AND PARTICIPANTSSince action research is embedded within the classroom and school setting and the results of the inquiry have immediate local application, knowledge of the partici-pants and the contextual factors is of particular importance.Research SiteDetails about the overall school community offer a fuller description of the study within its particular context. These details will include information about the students, parents, staff and faculty, and the neighborhood where the school is located. Depending on the specific focus of the study, additional information may be required. For example, if your research focuses on gifted education, it will be helpful if you also indicate the special programs and services available to gifted students. Most of the school and district demographic information is easy to obtain and is available on state- mandated websites. Additional details may be obtained from the school’s administration office, as well as from publications, such as school newsletters and brochures.Box 4.2 presents an excerpt from a research site section as written by Orin, a student teacher in a middle school who is doing an action research project for the research class he is taking. The study is focused on students’ and teachers’ perspec-tives with regard to the use of a portfolio assessment system in science class.Efron, S. E., & Ravid, R. (2019). Action research in education : A practical guide. Guilford Publications.Created from asulib-ebooks on 2023-01-28 07:29:59.Copyright © 2019. Guilford Publications. All rights reserved.
4. developing a Plan of Action 67Research ParticipantsThe identification of who and how many participants will be asked to take part in your study depends on two factors: (1) determining who will be able to provide valuable information for your study and (2) criteria for participant sample selec-tion. As is the case with all action research, practical considerations of what is doable within your time constraints is a factor in your decision.The participants of the research study are the people who affect or are affected by the issue under investigation. Their actions, behaviors, or perceptions should contrib-ute valuable information that will enable you to answer your research question. For example, in an action research study that assesses the impact of a new fourth- grade language arts textbook on student motivation, the fourth- grade students will be the primary group participants for the study. At other times, the researcher may want to add complementary groups of participants to obtain additional perspectives. For example, in this study of fourth graders’ motivation, the researcher may add teachers and parents as participants to obtain a fuller picture. Teachers’ perspectives may pro-vide information about the students’ participation in class discussions, while parents may share students’ informal views and their willingness to do their homework.Although all of the participants within the group that is the focus of your investigation may be eligible to be included in the study, you will probably need to select a smaller sample for practical considerations. A set of criteria may guide your choice of a suitable sample.The process of sample selection differs between qualitative and quantitative action research. Both are small-scale studies that involve a relatively limited num-ber of participants and are focused on local settings. However, there are distinct differences between the two approaches in terms of the number and identification of the participant sample.Qualitative action research does not have a formulated set of rules about the size of the sample or how it is selected. It is not uncommon to have a sample size BOX 4.2. An Excerpt from a Research Site SectionThe middle school in which my study is conducted is one of six middle schools in a public school district in a big metropolitan city in the Midwest. It is a lower- to middle- class socioeconomic community with a diverse population. There are approxi-mately 670 seventh- and eighth- grade students consisting of 48.2% African Amer-icans, 3.5% Asian Americans, 23.9% Caucasians, 23.2% Latinos, and 1.2% Native Americans. About 32.8% of the students receive a free or reduced- price lunch.Efron, S. E., & Ravid, R. (2019). Action research in education : A practical guide. Guilford Publications.Created from asulib-ebooks on 2023-01-28 07:29:59.Copyright © 2019. Guilford Publications. All rights reserved.
68 ActIon ReseARch In educAtIon of one to four individuals who have experience and in-depth knowledge about the topic being investigated. If, on the other hand, your inquiry is focused on an event, a program, a new approach, an organization, or a setting, you may prefer a broader spectrum and select more participants to ensure that diverse perspectives are repre-sented. Sample selection is based on the relevancy of the participants’ experiences regarding the topic of the study and their ability to enable you to obtain rich data and valuable information that will contribute to the understanding of the issue under investigation (Onwuegbuzie & Leech, 2007). Additional considerations may include their willingness to participate, their knowledge of the issue, their ability to articulate their opinions, and their ability to contribute to your understanding of the topic. Some qualitative researchers assert that because participants in qualita-tive research are not expected to represent anyone but themselves, it is more appro-priate to talk about specific individuals or a group rather than about a “sample.” However, others emphasize the specific purpose for choosing the participants for the study (Cohen, Manion, & Morrison, 2018).There are several options available for selecting the sample for your study:1. Selecting a purposive sample: The participants are chosen deliberately according to a predetermined purpose (Maxwell, 2013). Some of the com-mon samples in this category are:a. Typical case sampling: Participants selected are judged to be typical of the group under study.b. Extreme case sampling: Particular individuals are judged to be the most outstanding examples of a characteristic or behavior (at either end of the continuum) being studied.c. Representative sampling: The participants are selected for possessing or exhibiting the range of characteristics or behaviors in connection to the issue under investigation.2. Selecting a volunteer sample: When access to participants is difficult, the researcher selects the participants from among volunteers, such as friends or participants who are motivated enough to be part of the study.3. Selecting a convenience sample: Participants are chosen from among the nearest and most accessible individuals.For example, Jesse, a sixth-grade student teacher, may be experimenting with a new, more democratic classroom management style and wants to find out how it is perceived by his students. Jesse may choose students who represent the typical Efron, S. E., & Ravid, R. (2019). Action research in education : A practical guide. Guilford Publications.Created from asulib-ebooks on 2023-01-28 07:29:59.Copyright © 2019. Guilford Publications. All rights reserved.
4. developing a Plan of Action 69behavior of the majority of the students in the class. On the other hand, he may decide that it would be more beneficial to choose students who exhibit extremeclassroom behaviors, such as very disruptive or very quiet pupils. Yet another option is to choose those that represent a range of student behaviors in the class-room. At times, though, limiting circumstances may preclude the use of precon-ceived selection criteria. For example, Jesse may not have a choice and will have to study only students who volunteer to participate in the study. Moreover, time and other constraints may lead him to choose a convenience sample, such as selecting students because they are easily accessible during his free time.Whatever sampling strategy you choose to use for your study, be sure to clearly explain the basis for your selection process. If you need to change your sample selection during the course of the study, which can happen in evolving qualitative research, be sure to explicitly present the reasons for the change in the final report (Peshkin, 2001).For an example of a selection of research participants we turn again to Orin, the student teacher who investigated teachers’ and students’ perspectives on the use of portfolio assessment in the science class. Box 4.3 presents an excerpt from his description of his study participants.Quantitative action research relies on numerical data gathered in the study. Although such research may aim at studying a large group of people, such as BOX 4.3. A Description of Research ParticipantsThe participants in my study included two female science teachers and 14 seventh- and eighth- grade students. One of the teachers is in her 30s and has been teaching in the school for 2 years. The second teacher is in her 40s and has 8 years’ teach-ing experience, 4 of them in the current school. I chose these two teachers for my inquiry because I work with them as a student teacher; they are a convenience sample.The 14 seventh- and eighth- grade students (6 males and 8 females), were chosen from the two teachers’ science classrooms. The teachers who participated in the study assisted in the process of selecting a representative sample as we worked together choosing students that the three of us felt best represented the diverse range of achievements in science, motivation, and attitude toward the sub-ject, and behavior in class. Two of the students were at the top of the class, four were average, and three needed extra help. We were also cognizant of including one student for whom English is a second language, two students with learning chal-lenges, and two students with behavior problems.Efron, S. E., & Ravid, R. (2019). Action research in education : A practical guide. Guilford Publications.Created from asulib-ebooks on 2023-01-28 07:29:59.Copyright © 2019. Guilford Publications. All rights reserved.
70 ActIon ReseARch In educAtIon all parents in a district, it is often difficult and impractical to study these large groups, called populations. Instead, a sample is selected from the population of interest, and information gathered about this sample is generalized back to the population— that is, we make inferences about the population characteristics that are of interest to us based on the data obtained using the sample (Myers, Well, & Lorch, 2010). In quantitative studies, the sample size is also an important consid-eration. In most traditional educational research studies, a sample size of at least 30—and ideally more—is required in order to use more robust statistical tests and to make valid inferences (Mertler & Charles, 2011). Single- case experimental investigations may also be conducted to explore cause-and- effect relationships by studying one individual or a small group.There are several common ways that are used to select a sample for quantita-tive studies:1. Selecting a random sample. Every individual in the total population (e.g., teachers, students, or parents) has an equal chance of being selected. The final sample is most likely to represent the population from which it was selected.2. Selecting a systematic sample. The sample is selected in a systematic way from the population. For example, every fifth or tenth person is selected.3. Selecting a stratified sample. The population is first divided into subgroups based on certain demographic characteristics, such as grade level or gender. Next, using random selection, a sample is selected from these subgroups. The final sample represents, proportionally, the demographic subgroups in the population.4. Selecting a convenience sample. This is the most common way to select a sample for researchers, who study those who are most easily available and accessible.In action research, most samples are chosen from a population that is of interest to the researcher. For example, Valerie, a high school athletics director, is interested in assessing athletes’ attitudes toward school. She constructs a 10-item survey asking students for their gender, grade level, and the sport(s) they play. Because of school policies, she cannot ask the athletes to write their names on the surveys. Out of the list of 200 athletes in the school, Valerie gives the survey to a random sample of 40–50 athletes. Valerie may also decide to give the survey to every third or fourth student in her list of athletes; this would be an example of Efron, S. E., & Ravid, R. (2019). Action research in education : A practical guide. Guilford Publications.Created from asulib-ebooks on 2023-01-28 07:29:59.Copyright © 2019. Guilford Publications. All rights reserved.
4. developing a Plan of Action 71a systematic sample. It is also possible that Valerie will have to use data from a convenience sample, where she asks some of the athletes to complete the survey and then uses the results from their surveys. In all cases, because not all athletes were included in the study, Valerie will have to take this into consideration as she analyzes the survey data and be cautious in extending the findings to all athletes at the school. She may want to look at the demographic information available (gender, grade level, and sport) to determine how well they represent the total population of athletes.Statistical tests that are used to analyze the data are based on large sample sizes and results are usually reported in terms of probabilities (“p value”) or level of statistical significance. (The concept of probability and statistical significance is discussed in Chapter 7.) In action research, unlike traditional educational research, the study focuses on participants in the researcher’s own setting, and therefore their number is often limited. For example, David, a first-grade classroom teacher of 21 students, wants to examine the use of a computer software program by his students to practice letter recognition. He uses a test to assess his students’ perfor-mance before and after using the program. While David realizes that he does not have a large enough class size to meet the expected minimum sample size require-ments of traditional educational research, his goal is not to generalize his findings to other classrooms but rather to improve his students’ reading skills.Additionally, in traditional quantitative research, the goal of the researcher is to choose a representative sample that resembles the population within an accept-able margin of error (Dane, 2018). The concept of representation in traditional quantitative research refers to the extent to which the sample being studied is representative of the population at large. For example, let’s say that a university researcher wants to test a new problem- solving strategy in math in high school. The purpose is to demonstrate the value of using the strategy in schools all across the United States. The researcher selects a representative sample of high school classrooms from different areas of the country to pilot test the math problem- solving strategy. Math scores of students in classes using the new strategy are compared to scores of similar students in classrooms using the current strategy. If the scores of the students in the pilot study are significantly higher than those of the other students, there is evidence to document the effectiveness of the new strategy over current approaches, and the new strategy would be recommended for implementation in all high schools. In contrast, in action research, the goal is to study the researcher’s own classroom or school rather than to generalize the results to other locations. For example, a high school math teacher who would like to test the efficacy of a new math problem- solving strategy will use it with students in his Efron, S. E., & Ravid, R. (2019). Action research in education : A practical guide. Guilford Publications.Created from asulib-ebooks on 2023-01-28 07:29:59.Copyright © 2019. Guilford Publications. All rights reserved.
72 ActIon ReseARch In educAtIon or her own classroom, regardless of whether they represent some larger population of students elsewhere.Table 4.1 lists the most common approaches to sample selection that are used in qualitative and quantitative action research.In mixed- methods action research, the number and identification of partic-ipants depend on the particular research tools you plan to employ (Teddlie & Tashakkori, 2009). For the qualitative component of your study, you may choose individuals who fit the selection criteria discussed above. For the quantitative por-tion of your research, try to include as many of the available and eligible par-ticipants as needed. For example, assume Suzanne, a preservice student teacher, would like to investigate how to conduct effective parent– teacher conferences in the fourth grade. She plans to collect her data using both qualitative and quantita-tive tools that include observation, survey, and interview. For each strategy, she selects a different number and type of participants, as appropriate. For the obser-vations, Suzanne selects three parents who represent different levels of parental involvement. The second tool is an exit survey that Suzanne intends to give to all parents after the conferences. After receiving the survey’s numerical results, she plans to conduct phone interviews with five parents to further discuss how they perceive the experience and benefits of the conferences. These parents will be selected to represent children of different levels of academic performance. Using the three data sources will provide Suzanne with a more complete perspective on ways to conduct effective parent– teacher conferences.One of the advantages of action research is the familiarity the researcher has with people in the study setting. Your choice of participants from among students, parents, and colleagues is made on the basis of your firsthand knowledge of who among them is best suited for your study. If you are a guest in the setting, you may ask your mentor, advisor, or cooperating teacher to assist you in obtaining your sample.TABLE 4.1. Selecting Samples in Qualitative and Quantitative Action ResearchQualitative studiesQuantitative studies••Purposive (typical cases, extreme cases, representative)••Volunteer••Convenience••Random••Systematic••Stratified••ConvenienceEfron, S. E., & Ravid, R. (2019). Action research in education : A practical guide. Guilford Publications.Created from asulib-ebooks on 2023-01-28 07:29:59.Copyright © 2019. Guilford Publications. All rights reserved.
4. developing a Plan of Action 73In your research plan, describe the participants. For example, if the partici-pants in the study are five students, indicate their age and grade level, gender, services provided by the school, or any other relevant information that is approved by the school administration to share and is not confidential. Additionally, explain why you have chosen these particular students from all eligible students in your class.When planning the study, you may not have all the required information about the participants and the setting. In such cases, you may want to indicate what specific information you plan to gather later. As you develop the research plan, provide the details you currently have and note what additional information is still needed.CHOOSING DATA COLLECTION PROCEDURESThe research question guides your choice of inquiry procedures. The process of constructing data collection tools, therefore, begins by contemplating your research question, deciding what information you need to collect in order to answer this question, and determining what kinds of strategies will be most effective in provid-ing this information.Be cognizant of the fact that many of the same data collection tools can be structured to be used in a variety of research studies and to yield both narrative and numerical data. For example, surveys can be constructed with open-ended questions to provide narrative data, as well as structured rating items that provide numerical data.Each data collection strategy can be carried out in a variety of ways. You may, for example, interview individuals or groups presenting questions face-to-face, by telephone, or online. These interviews may be structured or unstructured. Each strategy provides a different type of information— therefore, in order to get a fuller picture, it is suggested that you use more than one data collection tool. Using dif-ferent sources will also increase your ability to compare and contrast the informa-tion you collect. Using multiple data sources is referred to as triangulation and is discussed in greater detail in this chapter in the section titled “Ensuring the Study’s Validity and Trustworthiness.” Table 4.2 focuses on the most common data col-lection tools and their definitions, and outlines their possible usefulness as well as some of their limitations.As you plan your study and ponder which strategy to choose, we suggest that you consider the following:Efron, S. E., & Ravid, R. (2019). Action research in education : A practical guide. Guilford Publications.Created from asulib-ebooks on 2023-01-28 07:29:59.Copyright © 2019. Guilford Publications. All rights reserved.
74 ActIon ReseARch In educAtIon 1. Which strategies will yield the information needed to gain deeper insight about the issue you are exploring?2. Which strategies will provide you with different perspectives on your topic?3. Which strategies are most suitable for your particular situation and are most likely to be enacted within your setting?4. Which strategies will yield data within the boundaries of the time available to you?For example, let’s say that a school board is considering a proposal to provide more time for middle school students to prepare for state- mandated standardized TABLE 4.2. Most Common Data Collection Tools: Their Definitions, Usefulness, and LimitationsToolDefinitionUsefulnessLimitationsInterviewPurposeful conversation between two or more people in which an interchange of views about a selected topic occurs.Presents individuals’ perspectives, expressed in their own words, on the topic explored.May be time-consuming; usually limited to a few interviewees.ObservationPurposefully observing people, events, and interactions as they occur.Provides an authentic view of what is taking place, mostly within a natural context.Represents only observable behaviors and requires other tools to determine the intentions of the people being observed.SurveysCollecting information from a large number of people, mostly numerical; narrative data may also be gathered.Easy to reach a large number of participants while maintaining anonymity; allows for diverse perspectives on a topic.Self-report surveys may be sensitive to misinformation; response rate may be a problem.Artifacts and documentsDocuments and artifacts produced in the context of the class, school, or district.Provide personal, demographic, and historical formal and informal data that are easily obtained and can be used to represent the setting, groups, and individuals.Obtaining some documents may be difficult due to school policy and legal issues.Assessment dataTeacher-made and standardized test scores representing students’ achievement.Allows monitoring of student progress and evaluation of the effectiveness of teaching strategies, curriculum, or programs.Assessment tools may not accurately capture student performance, the content taught, or the effectiveness of the teaching strategy.Efron, S. E., & Ravid, R. (2019). Action research in education : A practical guide. Guilford Publications.Created from asulib-ebooks on 2023-01-28 07:29:59.Copyright © 2019. Guilford Publications. All rights reserved.
4. developing a Plan of Action 75achievement tests. A reduction in recess time seems to be the solution favored by the majority of the board members. Jenny, a sixth-grade social studies teacher in that school, is concerned about the effect of a shorter recess on her students. She decides to conduct a study to explore the impact of recess on her students’ aca-demic progress and classroom behavior. Jenny is considering five different strate-gies to answer her research question: interviews, observations, student work, a survey, and teacher- made tests. Interviews and surveys would allow her to obtain the students’ perspectives on the value of recess. Observations would offer her an opportunity to systematically watch and record her students’ behavior, class par-ticipation, and on-task performance. Test scores would present her with numerical objective data, and students’ work samples would reflect their ability to under-stand the materials presented in class.The scope of Jenny’s research and time frame are limited by the fact that the next school board meeting is in 4 weeks. An additional consideration that impacts Jenny’s decision is how doable and practical these research strategies are within the constraints of her teaching responsibilities. For example, will she be able to conduct observations while fulfilling her duties as a classroom teacher? Will she be able to conduct in-depth interviews of students of different ability levels and with behavior issues and transcribe them? Can a numerical survey reflect the nuances of students’ feelings and thoughts? What kinds of documents will Jenny choose from among her students’ work that will reflect her students’ progress over time?After deliberating the usefulness and limitations of each strategy, Jenny decides not to use interviews, since they would take too much of her limited time. Instead, she will add five open-ended questions to her survey to allow students to express their opinions in their own words. Jenny would also like to observe her students. To avoid compromising her teaching responsibilities, she asks her colleague Mari-anne to video record the class while she is teaching. Jenny decides against including samples of students’ work as part of her presentation to the school board because of the short time she was given for her presentation. Finally, knowing the inclina-tion of the school board to trust statistical test data, Jenny chooses to use her stu-dents’ test scores for her presentation.ENSURING THE STUDY’S VALIDITY AND TRUSTWORTHINESSYou have to be confident that your research findings are valid in order for the results of the study to be useful for your practice and to enable you to shape your Efron, S. E., & Ravid, R. (2019). Action research in education : A practical guide. Guilford Publications.Created from asulib-ebooks on 2023-01-28 07:29:59.Copyright © 2019. Guilford Publications. All rights reserved.
76 ActIon ReseARch In educAtIon decisions and future actions. The term validity refers to the degree to which the study, the data collection tools, and the interpretation of data accurately represent the issue being investigated. Validity is valued in both qualitative and quantita-tive research— however, it is addressed differently by each approach. In qualita-tive studies, which are essentially subjective and focused on participants’ perspec-tives, validity refers to the extent to which data reflect participants’ views of the issue being explored. In fact, practitioners often prefer the term trustworthiness to describe the kind of data used in qualitative inquiry. In quantitative studies, valid-ity is most often an issue that relates to the appropriateness of the tools used to collect data, the soundness of the study’s design, and the extent to which findings can be generalized to other groups.Qualitative StudiesThe most common methods to enhance the trustworthiness of qualitative action research studies are triangulation, disciplined subjectivity, thick description, mem-ber checking, peer review, and data audit.Triangulation is the practice of relying on more than one source of data by using multiple methods or obtaining varied perspectives. While the image of a triangle suggests using three sources of information, using two or more meth-ods might be more feasible, depending on your particular research question or circumstances. For example, Julie, an assistant principal, seeks to obtain the per-spectives of students, teachers, and parents on the restructuring of the student council. Obtaining data using different sources, such as interviews and surveys, would allow Julie to triangulate the information gathered and thus establish the trustworthiness and credibility of her interpretations (Richards, 2015).Disciplined subjectivity invites you to acknowledge your personal precon-ceived ideas with regard to the study and to monitor your biases. In our discussion about the researcher role in this chapter, we emphasized the value of acknowledg-ing the researcher’s own subjectivity. The trustworthiness of the study requires reflexivity, an ongoing self- reflection with regard to the setting, participants, and the topic as the researcher collects, analyzes, and interprets the data (Guillemin & Gillam, 2004).Thick description refers to a detailed and rich account of the research context and a presentation of the participants’ perspectives in their own words. This thick description allows the audience to authentically perceive the participants’ views and “enter” into their world by seeing, hearing, and sensing their experiences. Since qualitative research findings emerge from the participants’ perspectives, an Efron, S. E., & Ravid, R. (2019). Action research in education : A practical guide. Guilford Publications.Created from asulib-ebooks on 2023-01-28 07:29:59.Copyright © 2019. Guilford Publications. All rights reserved.
4. developing a Plan of Action 77intense and detailed narrative allows your audience to better understand your interpretation of the data, thereby enhancing the trustworthiness of the study.Member checking allows you to ensure that you present the participants’ per-spectives honestly and accurately. This can be accomplished by sharing with the participants the interview and observation transcripts and discussing with them your analytical thoughts and interpretation.Peer review provides you with an additional “set of eyes” and helps you to determine the credibility of your interpretation and the accuracy of your findings. To achieve this, you can recruit a colleague, a friend, or a collaborative research group member to review your data and interpretation and provide you with con-structive feedback.Data audit is a process that records and lists the raw data: transcribed notes from observations and interviews, original documents, photographs, and other artifacts. This information allows your audience to assess whether the interpreta-tions, insights, and conclusions you offer reflect coherently and honestly the infor-mation gathered throughout the study.Quantitative StudiesTraditional experimental studies in educational research are designed to test the effectiveness of an intervention (the independent variable) and the impact it has on the dependent (outcome) variable. In other words, researchers are looking for cause-and- effect relationships and articulate their predictions about these relation-ships by stating their hypotheses prior to the start of the study. In most cases, experimental and control groups are used and their scores on some measure are compared before and after the intervention. This is especially true with traditional large-scale studies with important consequences, such as purchasing new text-books for the students in a district or training teachers how to use a new instruc-tional method. Researchers have to carry out tightly controlled studies in order to document that the changes they have observed are due to the independent variable (intervention) and not to other causes, called extraneous variables (Ravid, 2015). Those extraneous variables are unplanned and uncontrolled variables that may be related to and influence the study’s outcomes. For example, the time of day that the study takes place, the quality of classroom teaching, or the type of tools that are used to assess the students— all of these can impact the outcomes and mask the true effect of the planned intervention.When we are able to document that the changes we observe are due to the planned intervention and are not caused by other possible extraneous variables, Efron, S. E., & Ravid, R. (2019). Action research in education : A practical guide. Guilford Publications.Created from asulib-ebooks on 2023-01-28 07:29:59.Copyright © 2019. Guilford Publications. All rights reserved.
78 ActIon ReseARch In educAtIon our study is said to have high internal validity. There may also be threats to the study’s external validity when the sample selected is not representative of the gen-eral population to which the results are generalized. As an example, problems may be related to the fact that the group used in the pilot study is composed of volunteers who are highly motivated and do not represent the general population. In studies conducted by educational practitioners, though, the goal is not to gen-eralize to other populations of participants, so the problems listed above generally do not create serious issues that threaten the validity of the findings.As an action researcher, if you want to investigate cause-and- effect relation-ships, you should try to control as many of the relevant variables as you can. For example, assume that Darlene, a second- grade teacher, wants to try a new method to teach vocabulary. For 1 month, she tests the students every Friday on the 10 vocabulary words taught that week using the current instructional method. For the next month, she uses a new teaching method and again tests the students at the end of each week. After 2 months, Darlene compares the total number of correct words achieved by each student. Ideally, the 2 months should be similar on several relevant variables, such as the number of school days, the difficulty of the words taught, and student attendance. If, for example, there is a flu epidemic in the sec-ond month of the study, Darlene’s students may not do as well on their vocabulary tests because they missed too many school days and not because of the instruc-tional method used. Because Darlene cannot control many of these variables, she should consider them when she analyzes her data.Validity also depends on the quality and appropriateness of the measures used to collect data and whether they measure what they purport to be measuring. This is true in both traditional and action research in education. For example, a reading comprehension test that measures students’ ability to read a passage and respond to questions about the passage is not a valid test of reading fluency. Similarly, a math test that includes computation exercises is not a valid indicator of students’ ability to solve math word problems. A test that measures what it is supposed to measure is said to have high content validity.In quantitative research, the issue of reliability is also important. Reliability refers to the consistency of the tools used to gather data and the degree to which the same results would be obtained if the testing conditions were replicated, such as using the same test or an equivalent form of that test (Popham, 2017).There are several ways that reliability may be assessed. In a test– retest approach, the scores from two administrations of the same test to the same group of individuals are compared and correlated. (See Chapter 7 for a discussion of cor-relation.) Reliability can also be assessed by comparing and correlating scores from Efron, S. E., & Ravid, R. (2019). Action research in education : A practical guide. Guilford Publications.Created from asulib-ebooks on 2023-01-28 07:29:59.Copyright © 2019. Guilford Publications. All rights reserved.
4. developing a Plan of Action 79two alternate, parallel forms of a test given to the same group of people. Finally, the internal reliability of the test can be assessed using the test scores from a sin-gle administration of the test (Ravid, 2015). If your study includes data gathered through the use of commercially available tests (such as standardized achievement tests), it would be a good idea to include information about their reliability. (See Chapter 6 for further discussion of reliability.)To illustrate the process of establishing content validity and reliability of teacher- made tests, let’s look at Ambar, a teacher in a large, affluent suburban high school. Ambar was asked to implement a new history course in the school’s Spanish dual- language program. In this program, core courses are taught in Span-ish and students who want to participate must demonstrate a high level of Spanish proficiency.In the program’s first year, Ambar taught a course on patterns of world his-tory, and in the second year, a course in biology, taught by a different teacher, was added. Before expanding the program to other subjects, the school principal, in collaboration with the teachers, decided to evaluate the program to determine its efficacy and the students’ levels of performance. Over the summer, the teachers and several department chairs met to plan the program assessment. They decided to conduct a participatory action research study (see Chapter 1) with the help of an outside assessment expert. They contacted a university researcher who, in col-laboration with the teachers, designed the program evaluation.Ambar, the rest of the team, and the researcher met over the summer to articu-late their learning objectives, to review their curriculum, and to write assessment tools to be used throughout the year. To ensure the content validity of the assess-ment tools, the team decided to match the learning objectives to the assessments by writing four items to measure each learning objective. (See Chapter 6 for a discussion of content validity.) To enable the team to assess the reliability of their assessment tools throughout the year, the researcher and teachers used several approaches. To assess parallel form reliability, the team created two equivalent forms of the test (Form A and Form B). They did so by taking the four items that were developed for each objective and assigning two of them to Form A and two to Form B. Thus, the two test forms similarly corresponded to the learning objec-tives. Form A and Form B of each test were given at the end of the first and second terms and the scores from the two test forms were used to assess the parallel forms’ reliability.The team assessed the test– retest reliability of the test by administering Form A twice to the same group of students, 2 weeks apart. The same process was fol-lowed with another group of students using Form B. The scores from the two Efron, S. E., & Ravid, R. (2019). Action research in education : A practical guide. Guilford Publications.Created from asulib-ebooks on 2023-01-28 07:29:59.Copyright © 2019. Guilford Publications. All rights reserved.
80 ActIon ReseARch In educAtIon testing periods for each group were correlated to establish the test– retest reliability of both test forms. (See Chapter 7 for a discussion of correlation.). Finally, to assess the internal consistency reliability of each test form, the students’ responses on each of the two forms were analyzed to determine the agreement among the test items.At the end of the year, the team met again to evaluate the Spanish dual- language curriculum in a valid and reliable way. The data collected throughout the year with the assessment tools helped them in evaluating the efficacy of the current program and the students’ level of performance. The results allowed them to recognize the strengths of the program and aspects that needed to be revised or changed.Mixed‑Methods StudiesThe procedures for ensuring the trustworthiness and validity of qualitative and quantitative approaches are different— therefore, make sure to describe the strate-gies you will use for each. In the qualitative sections, this may include triangula-tion, thick description, peer review, and so on. In the quantitative methods portion of your research, discuss the validity and reliability of the data collection tools, as well as the threats to internal validity, when appropriate (Creswell, 2019).DEVELOPING ETHICAL GUIDELINESAlthough action research is conducted by practitioners in their own practice, it is still considered research and should be monitored and conducted by following ethical guidelines. You should ensure the safety, confidentiality, and well-being of those you study or those who may be affected by your study. Ethical consider-ation of your students and your colleagues should be key elements of your action research study (Mertler, 2017) and you should protect the interests and well-being of all the study’s participants (Stringer, 2014). As you plan your inquiry, you need to consider the following issues as they relate to your action research.Obtaining Permission to Conduct the StudyCheck with the appropriate “gatekeepers” (e.g., teachers or administrators) and obtain permission to conduct the study and collect data. Even if you carry out the Efron, S. E., & Ravid, R. (2019). Action research in education : A practical guide. Guilford Publications.Created from asulib-ebooks on 2023-01-28 07:29:59.Copyright © 2019. Guilford Publications. All rights reserved.
4. developing a Plan of Action 81inquiry in your own classroom, you may need to get the approval of your adminis-trators (Samaras, 2011). Make sure you document the exchange of messages giving you permission for the study. In some cases, depending on the school policy and the nature of your study, you will need to obtain parents’ permission as well. If the inquiry is part of your academic course requirements, your instructor will provide you with the necessary guidelines and advise you about the process. In many cases, universities, as well as school districts, have an established research review process that involves submitting a proposal to an ethics and review committee (Denzin, 2009; Pritchard, 2002).Confidentiality of Data CollectedWhenever you collect data for your study, you need to ensure the confidentiality of your findings. Regardless of the information you collect— observations, inter-views, test scores, school records, and the like—the rights of participants should be guaranteed. Avoid identifying by name or providing other identifying informa-tion about your students or other participants, such as colleagues or parents, and be sensitive to people’s desire to remain anonymous. You may use pseudonyms or general descriptions, such as “suburban school in a large metropolitan area.” Use group data when possible to protect individuals. For example, report test scores for the class as a whole instead of scores for individual students. To protect the anonymity of the study’s participants, names and other contact information need to be removed from documents used in the study, such as writing samples, surveys, and tests. Additionally, with so much data currently stored in electronic formats, be sure to protect participants in case the data are compromised in any way.Informed ConsentIn many studies, participants (or their parents or legal guardians if they are minors) have to consent to participate in the study. Don’t assume that you can design any study or collect any data that you want just because you are investigating in your own setting. Additionally, make sure you have the proper permission to record or video record the participants. Unless the data you collect are part of your pro-fessional responsibilities, you have to notify the participants about your action research and provide them with an opportunity to ask questions about it. We suggest sending a letter of introduction to the participants or to their parents or guardians if they are minors. In the letter, identify yourself and your role in the Efron, S. E., & Ravid, R. (2019). Action research in education : A practical guide. Guilford Publications.Created from asulib-ebooks on 2023-01-28 07:29:59.Copyright © 2019. Guilford Publications. All rights reserved.
82 ActIon ReseARch In educAtIon school, describe the purpose of your study, and outline what the research partici-pants’ involvement in the study will entail. You should also ensure the participants’ confidentiality and privacy and explain that they can withdraw from the inquiry if they wish to, without any negative consequences. This information may encourage the cooperation of the participants (or their parents or guardians) and will allow them to make a thoughtful decision about whether to sign the informed consent form (Bouma, Wilkinson, & Ling, 2016; Samaras, 2011). Boxes 4.4 and 4.5 are examples of a letter of introduction and an informed consent form, respectively, that were sent by Orin, the student teacher who investigated portfolio assessment, to the parents of his students.Respect for the Research SiteAs an action researcher, respect the needs, goals, and priorities of the school or classroom where you conduct your inquiry. The quality of your study depends, to a large extent, on participants’ cooperation. Treat them with respect, share with them the purpose of the investigation, keep open communication, and invite their feedback. Acknowledge your appreciation and express your gratitude for their con-tributions. When you present your findings, be sure that it’s done truthfully, but with sensitivity, and with the greatest care not to hurt the participants’ feelings and self-image.Safety of the ParticipantsStudy participants should not be put in harm’s way or suffer in any way in the name of research. If there is any possibility of a conflict between your research goals and your professional responsibilities as a practitioner, your first concern should be the welfare, well-being, and needs of your students, their parents, and your colleagues. Be sure to inform participants (or their legal guardians) that they can stop their participation in the study at any time.Accurate Interpretation and Presentation of the DataYou should maintain the highest standards and be honest and accurate when gath-ering and interpreting your study’s data. While it may be tempting at times, do not overextend your findings and do not report as conclusive findings that you cannot confirm with a high degree of certainty.Efron, S. E., & Ravid, R. (2019). Action research in education : A practical guide. Guilford Publications.Created from asulib-ebooks on 2023-01-28 07:29:59.Copyright © 2019. Guilford Publications. All rights reserved.
4. developing a Plan of Action 83BOX 4.4. Sample Letter of IntroductionDear Parents and Guardians,My name is Orin ; I am a student teacher in school and a student in the MAT (Master of Art of Teaching) program at the University of .As part of my student- teaching practice I am working with Mrs. and Mr. , your children’s science teachers. It was my privilege and pleasure to work with your sons and daughters. As part of my graduate studies I am required to conduct a research project and chose to focus my research on the portfolio assessment system in the science class. This study is done with the permission of the school principal, and the full cooperation and support of your child’s science teachers. The purpose of the study is educational and the results will contribute to the knowledge and understanding of the value of port-folios from the point of view of the students and their teachers.The study involves (1) an observation of two sessions of science classes where portfolio assessment system is practiced, (2) reading your son’s or daughter’s portfolio on the topic of Earth, and (3) a 30-minute interview. Dur-ing the interview, your child is free not to answer any of the questions asked and you or your child may terminate the interview at any time.I assure you that your child’s privacy and anonymity will be respected and protected throughout the process and no real names or identifying information will be included in my final research report. Participation in the study is volun-tary. If you are not comfortable with having your child participate in the study, you may at any time withdraw your child’s participation.I would like to formally ask for your permission to allow for your child’s participation in this research project by filling out the Informed Consent Form attached. Thanks in advance for your cooperation and support.Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the study or your consent.Sincerely yours,OrinEfron, S. E., & Ravid, R. (2019). Action research in education : A practical guide. Guilford Publications.Created from asulib-ebooks on 2023-01-28 07:29:59.Copyright © 2019. Guilford Publications. All rights reserved.
84ActIon ReseARch In educAtIonCREATING A “TO‑DO” LISTCreating a to-do list will help you to (1) carefully schedule the implementation of your data collection plan, (2) assess the time required for each activity, and (3) ensure the feasibility of completing your study within the time available. Figure 4.1 shows a section from a to-do list that includes an outline of the major activi-ties of the plan, the time and location of each activity, the people involved, and the materials required for each activity.Allow yourself some leeway to accommodate unplanned changes and unfore-seen delays that often occur in executing the plan. Remember that the plan you have developed so far is focused on the data collection phase of the study. Be sure BOX 4.5. Sample Informed Consent FormI give my consent to have my son/daughter, , participate in a research project regarding the use of portfolio assessment in the science class. I understand that if I give this consent my son/daughter will be interviewed and observed during two sessions of science class, and his/her portfolio on the topic of Earth will be read by the researcher.I understand that participation in this study is voluntary; I can withdraw my son/daughter from the study at any time during the study without any negative consequences.I further understand that my child’s anonymity will be protected, and the name of the school or the teachers will not be revealed when reporting the results of the study.Please sign and return the form.Your name (please print): Your child’s name: Your signature: Date: I understand the information above and AGREE to allow my son/daughter to participate in the research project. I understand the information above and DO NOT AGREE to my son/daughter’s participation in the research project.Efron, S. E., & Ravid, R. (2019). Action research in education : A practical guide. Guilford Publications.Created from asulib-ebooks on 2023-01-28 07:29:59.Copyright © 2019. Guilford Publications. All rights reserved.
4. developing a Plan of Action 85to budget additional time to analyze and interpret the data gathered in the study and to write the final report.FINALIZING THE RESEARCH PLANOnce you have completed writing the research plan, reread it carefully and criti-cally, preferably with a friend, a research colleague, or your advisor/instructor. The starting point for your reading is the research question. Evaluate whether all aspects of the plan will enable you to successfully answer your research question within your time frame and circumstances. Consider whether you have thought-fully addressed the various elements of your research plan and made appropriate choices that will allow you to efficiently and successfully carry out your investiga-tion.Start by stating your research question and analyzing its components. Figure 4.2 presents a series of questions for each of the seven elements that were addressed in this chapter. As you review your plan, self-check and respond to the questions below.CHAPTER SUMMARY 1. The research plan serves as a guide for the inquiry process and should be described in sufficient detail to provide the practitioner with a clear blueprint to guide the investigation. The researchers may need to revise the plan and modify it in response to unexpected circumstances. 2. A meaningful research plan usually necessitates reflecting on the researcher’s role, the scope of the study, the data collection techniques, the research participants, the study’s validity and trustworthiness, and ethical guidelines.DateActivityLocationParticipantsWhat Is RequiredMonday, April 12, 10:15–11:00InterviewA quiet place to talk in the teachers’ loungeMrs. Smith (a fifth-grade teacher)Recording device, interview guide, paper, and pen FIGURE 4.1. A section from a “to-do” list.Efron, S. E., & Ravid, R. (2019). Action research in education : A practical guide. Guilford Publications.Created from asulib-ebooks on 2023-01-28 07:29:59.Copyright © 2019. Guilford Publications. All rights reserved.
86 ActIon ReseARch In educAtIon Your Research Question: Elements of PlanQuestions and Choices to ConsiderYour role as a researcher••What values and preconceived notions do you have that may impact your study?••What is your relationship with the participants and with the topic?••How will you address your subjectivity and biases?••How will you monitor your subjectivity throughout the study?Scope••What is the purpose of your study and with whom will you share it? ••Is the study manageable within your daily practice?••What are the external constraints that will impact the execution of the study?••How will you address these limitations?Research site and participantsSite:••What are the unique characteristics of the local setting?••How do these characteristics impact the inquiry?Participants: ••Who and how many people will be involved in the data collection?••What criteria will you use for selecting the sample of participants and why?••Does the sampling allow you to obtain multiple perspectives on the issue being investigated?••What are the demographics of the participants? Data collection procedures••What and how many data collection techniques are you going to use?••What is the purpose of each strategy and how will it enable you to answer your research question?••Will you be able to triangulate the data gained through these strategies?••Are these strategies doable within your particular situation?Validity and reliability••What methods will you use to ensure the trustworthiness of the findings?••How will you secure triangulation or multiple sources?••How will you check the accuracy of your data?••What strategies will you use to ensure the validity and reliability of your data collection tools?Ethical considerations••How will you protect the confidentiality of the data collected?••What permissions and informed consents are needed and how will you obtain them?••How will you protect the rights of the participants and ensure their privacy?••How will you maintain high respect toward the site of your study?“To-do” list••When and where will the different activities take place?••Who will be involved in each activity?••What materials will be needed?••Is your timetable realistic, flexible, and feasible? FIGURE 4.2. Summary of the elements of the data collection plans.Efron, S. E., & Ravid, R. (2019). Action research in education : A practical guide. Guilford Publications.Created from asulib-ebooks on 2023-01-28 07:29:59.Copyright © 2019. Guilford Publications. All rights reserved.
4. developing a Plan of Action 87 3. The process of constructing data collection tools begins by contemplating the research question, deciding what information should be collected in order to answer this question, and determining what kinds of strategies will be most effective in providing this informa-tion. 4. The identification of the participants in qualitative action research is not based on a for-mulated set of rules, and the types of samples include typical extreme cases, represen-tative, available, and convenience. In quantitative action research the sample size is an important consideration and the types of samples selected include random, systematic, stratified, and convenience. In mixed- methods action research, the number and identifi-cation of the participants depend on the particular research tools the researcher plans to employ. 5. The term validity refers to the degree to which the study, the data collection tools, and the interpretation of data accurately represent the issue being investigated. Validity is valued in both qualitative and quantitative research— however, it is addressed differently in each approach. 6. Qualitative researchers prefer the term trustworthy over validity because they assert that the studies are subjective, and are focused on the researcher’s ability to see and present the issue through the eyes of the participants. The most common methods for enhancing the trustworthiness of the studies are triangulation, disciplined subjectivity, thick descrip-tion, member checking, peer review, and data audit. 7. In quantitative studies, validity is most often an issue that relates to the appropriateness of the tools used to collect data, the soundness of the study’s design, and the extent to which the findings can be generalized to other groups. Validity also depends on the quality and appropriateness of the measures used to collect data and whether they accurately measure what they purport to. 8. Reliability in quantitative research refers to the consistency of the tools used to gather data. Reliability can be assessed through the use of alternate parallel forms, test– retest, and internal consistent reliability. 9. It is essential that action researchers follow ethical guidelines when conducting their studies— they should ensure the safety, confidentiality, and well-being of those they study or those who may be affected by their study.10. Action researchers may find it helpful to create a “to-do” list that includes an outline of the major activities of the plan, when and where each activity will take place, the materials required for each activity, and the people involved.Efron, S. E., & Ravid, R. (2019). Action research in education : A practical guide. Guilford Publications.Created from asulib-ebooks on 2023-01-28 07:29:59.Copyright © 2019. Guilford Publications. All rights reserved.
88 ActIon ReseARch In educAtIon CHAPTER EXERCISES AND ACTIVITIES1. Write down your research question in the center of a page, circle it, and write ideas around it triggered by the question. Write down the types of information, choices, tasks, and actions you will need to take in order to answer the question. Once you complete this visual map, review it with a practical eye and consider what is doable within the context of your own professional and personal circumstances. (This brainstorm activity may be done alone, with a peer, or with your research group.)2. Reflect on your role as a researcher and jot down your subjective connection to the topic of your study. Consider the influence of your subjectivity on the decisions you make and actions you take.3. Identify the site and the participants for your study. Plan how to access this site and obtain permission to conduct the study. Indicate how you will select your sample, and describe who will participate in the study.4. Explain the types of data that you plan to collect and how they will allow you to answer your research questions. (Table 4.2 and the questions on page 74 may assist you in choosing the most useful data collection strategy.)5. Describe how you will ensure the validity and trustworthiness of your study. If you are conducting a quantitative research or a mixed- methods study, be sure to include an explanation of how you will ensure the reliability of the tools you will use to gather numerical data.6. Reflect on the ethical issues related to your own study. Consider how to ensure the safety, confidentiality, and well-being of those involved in the study and describe the procedures you will take to protect their rights. (The examples in Boxes 4.4 and 4.5 may be helpful in case you are required to use a consent form.)7. Using the example in Figure 4.1, create a tentative “to-do” list for your study.8. Using Figure 4.2, review all the elements of your proposed plan. Jot down potential problems or challenges that you may encounter while implementing the research plan. (This brainstorm activity may be done alone, with a peer, or with your research group.)Efron, S. E., & Ravid, R. (2019). Action research in education : A practical guide. Guilford Publications.Created from asulib-ebooks on 2023-01-28 07:29:59.Copyright © 2019. Guilford Publications. All rights reserved.
4. developing a Plan of Action 89 ADDITIONAL READINGSCanosa, A., Graham, A., & Wilson, E. (2018). Reflexivity and ethical mindfulness in participatory research with children: What does it really look like? Childhood, 25(3), 400–415.Denzin, N. K., & Giardina, M. D. (Eds.). (2018). Qualitative inquiry in the public sphere. New York: Routledge.Hancké, B. (2010). Intelligent research design: A guide for beginning researchers in the social sciences. Victoria, Australia: Oxford University Press.Israel, M., & Hay, I. (2006). Research ethics for social scientists: Between ethical conduct and regulatory compliance. London: SAGE.Ivankova, N. V. (2015). Mixed methods applications in action research: From methods to community action. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.Merriam, S. B., & Tisdell, E. (2016). Qualitative research: A guide to design and imple-mentation (4th ed.). San Francisco: Jossey- Bass.Mills, G. E. (2018). Action research: A guide for the teacher researcher (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.Schram, T. H. (2006). Conceptualizing and proposing qualitative research (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.Warin, J. (2011). Ethical mindfulness and reflexivity: Managing a research relationship with children and young people in a 14-year qualitative longitudinal research (QLR) study. Qualitative Inquiry, 17(9), 805–814.Efron, S. E., & Ravid, R. (2019). Action research in education : A practical guide. Guilford Publications.Created from asulib-ebooks on 2023-01-28 07:29:59.Copyright © 2019. Guilford Publications. All rights reserved.
ON THE ART OF WRITING PROPOSALSSome Candid Suggestions for Applicants to Social Science Research Council CompetitionsAdam PrzeworskiDepartment of Political ScienceUniversity of Chicagoand Frank SalomonDepartment of AnthropologyUniversity of WisconsinSocial Science Research CouncilOne Pierrepont Plaza, 15th FloorBrooklyn, NY 11201212.377.2700 | www.ssrc.org
1988, 1995 Adam Przeworski and Frank Salomon, The Art of Writing Proposals 1 On the Art of Writing Proposals By Adam Przeworski and Frank Salomon Writing proposals for research funding is a peculiar facet of North American academic culture, and as with all things cultural, its attributes rise only partly into public consciousness. A proposal’s overt function is to persuade a committee of scholars that the project shines with the three kinds of merit all disciplines value, namely, conceptual innovation, methodological rigor, and rich, substantive content. But to make these points stick, a proposal writer needs a feel for the unspoken customs, norms, and needs that govern the selection process itself. These are not really as arcane or ritualistic as one might suspect. For the most part, these customs arise from the committee’s efforts to deal in good faith with its own problems: incomprehension among disciplines, work overload, and the problem of equitably judging proposals that reflect unlike social and academic circumstances. Writing for committee competition is an art quite different from research work itself. After long deliberation, a committee usually has to choose among proposals that all possess the three virtues mentioned above. Other things being equal, the proposal that is awarded funding is the one that gets its merits across more forcefully because it addresses these unspoken needs and norms as well as the overt rules. The purpose of these pages is to give competitors for Council fellowships and funding a more even start by making explicit some of those normally unspoken customs and needs. Capture the Reviewer’s Attention? While the form and the organization of a proposal are matters of taste, you should choose your form bearing in mind that every proposal reader constantly scans for clear answers to three questions:
1988, 1995 Adam Przeworski and Frank Salomon, The Art of Writing Proposals 2 ¥ What are we going to learn as the result of the proposed project that we do not know now? ¥ Why is it worth knowing? ¥ How will we know that the conclusions are valid? Working through a tall stack of proposals on voluntarily-donated time, a committee member rarely has time to comb proposals for hidden answers. So, say what you have to say immediately, crisply, and forcefully. The opening paragraph, or the first page at most, is your chance to grab the reviewer’s attention. Use it. This is the moment to overstate, rather than understate, your point or question. You can add the conditions and caveats later. Questions that are clearly posed are an excellent way to begin a proposal: Are strong party systems conducive to democratic stability? Was the decline of population growth in Brazil the result of government policies? These should not be rhetorical questions; they have effect precisely because the answer is far from obvious. Stating your central point, hypothesis, or interpretation is also a good way to begin: Workers do not organize unions; unions organize workers. The success, and failure, of Corazon Aquino’s revolution stems from its middle-class origins. Population growth coupled with loss of arable land poses a threat to North African food security in the next decade. Obviously some projects are too complex and some conceptualizations too subtle for such telegraphic messages to capture. Sometimes only step-by-step argumentation can define the central problem. But even if you adopt this strategy, do not fail to leave the reviewer with something to remember: some message that will remain after reading many other proposals and discussing them for hours and hours. She’s the one who claims that Argentina never had a liberal democratic tradition is how you want to be referred to during the committee’s discussion, not Oh yes, she’s the one from Chicago.
1988, 1995 Adam Przeworski and Frank Salomon, The Art of Writing Proposals 3 Aim for Clarity Remember that most proposals are reviewed by multidisciplinary committees. A reviewer studying a proposal from another field expects the proposer to meet her halfway. After all, the reader probably accepted the committee appointment because of the excitement of surveying other people’s ideas. Her only reward is the chance that proposals will provide a lucidly-guided tour of various disciplines’ research frontiers. Don’t cheat the reviewer of this by inflicting a tiresome trek through the duller idiosyncrasies of your discipline. Many disciplines have parochial traditions of writing in pretentious jargon. You should avoid jargon as much as you can, and when technical language is really needed, restrict yourself to those new words and technical terms that truly lack equivalents in common language. Also, keep the spotlight on ideas. An archeologist should argue the concepts latent in the ceramic typology more than the typology itself, a historian the tendency latent in the mass of events, and so forth. When additional technical material is needed, or when the argument refers to complex ancillary material, putting it into appendices decongests the main text. Establish the Context Your proposal should tell the committee not only what will be learned as a result of your project, but what will be learned that somebody else does not already know. It is essential that the proposal summarize the current state of knowledge and provide an up-to-date, comprehensive bibliography. Both should be precise and succinct. They need not constitute a review of the literature but a sharply focused view of the specific body or bodies of knowledge to which you will add. Committees often treat bibliographies as a sign of seriousness on the part of the applicant, and some members will put considerable effort into evaluating them. A good bibliography testifies that the author did enough preparatory work to make sure the project will complement and not duplicate other people’s efforts. Many proposals fail because the references are incomplete or outdated. Missing even a single reference can be very costly if it shows failure to connect with research directly relevant to one’s own. Proposal writers with limited library resources are urged to correspond with
1988, 1995 Adam Przeworski and Frank Salomon, The Art of Writing Proposals 4 colleagues and libraries elsewhere in the early stages of research planning. Resource guides such as Dissertation Abstracts International and Social Science Periodical Index are highly recommended. For many disciplines, annual reviews (e.g., Annual Review of Anthropology) offer state-of-the-art discussions and rich bibliographies. Some disciplines have bibliographically-oriented journals, for example Review of Economic Literature and Contemporary Sociology. There are also valuable area studies-oriented guides: Handbook of Latin American Studies, International African Bibliography, etc. Familiarizing yourself with them can save days of research. Powerful bibliographic searches can be run on CD-ROM databases such as the Social Science Citations Index, Social Sciences Index, and Modern Language Association International Index. Also, on-line databases such as CARL and ERIC, available by library or network access, greatly increase your bibliographic reach. What’s the Payoff? Disciplinary norms and personal tastes in justifying research activities differ greatly. Some scholars are swayed by the statement that it has not been studied (e.g., an historian may argue that no book has been written about a particular event, and therefore one is needed), while other scholars sometimes reflect that there may be a good reason why not. Nevertheless, the fact that less is known about one’s own chosen case, period, or country than about similar ones may work in the proposer’s favor. Between two identical projects, save that one concerns Egypt and the other the Sudan, reviewers are likely to prefer the latter. Citing the importance of the events that provide the subject matter is another and perhaps less dubious appeal. Turning points, crucial breakthroughs, central personages, fundamental institutions, and similar appeals to the significance of the object of research are sometimes effective if argued rather than merely asserted. Appealing to current importance may also work: e.g., democratic consolidation in South America, the aging population in industrialized countries, the relative decline of the hegemony of the United States. It’s crucial to convince readers that such topics are not merely timely, but that their current urgency provides a window into some more abiding problem. Among many
1988, 1995 Adam Przeworski and Frank Salomon, The Art of Writing Proposals 5 social scientists, explicit theoretical interest counts heavily as a point of merit. Theoretical exposition need not go back to the axiomatic bases of the discipline, proposal readers will have a reasonable interdisciplinary breadth, but it should situate the local problem in terms of its relevance to live, sometimes controversial, theoretical currents. Help your reader understand where the problem intersects the main theoretical debates in your field and show how this inquiry puts established ideas to the test or offers new ones. Good proposals demonstrate awareness of alternative viewpoints and argue the author’s position in such a way as to address the field broadly, rather than developing a single sectarian tendency indifferent to alternatives. Use a Fresh Approach Surprises, puzzles, and apparent contradictions can powerfully persuade the reviewer whose disciplinary superego enforces a commitment to systematic model building or formal theorizing: Given its long-standing democratic traditions, Chile was expected to return to democracy before other countries in the Southern Cone, and yet . . . Is it because these traditions were already extinct by 1973 or because the assumption on which this prediction was based is false? Everyone expected that One Big Union–the slogan of the movement–would strike and win wage increases for workers. Yet statistical evidence shows just the contrary: strong unions do not strike but instead restrain workers’ wage demands. It is often worthwhile to help readers understand how the research task grows from the intellectual history or current intellectual life of the country or region that generated it. Council committees strive to build linkages among an immense diversity of national and international intellectual traditions, and members come from various countries and schools of thought. Many committee members are interested in the interplay of diverse traditions. In fact, the chance to see intellectual history in the making is another reason people accept committee membership. It is a motive to which proposals can legitimately appeal.
1988, 1995 Adam Przeworski and Frank Salomon, The Art of Writing Proposals 6 It pays to remember that topics of current salience, both theoretical and in the so-called real world, are likely to be a crowded field. The competitors will be more numerous and the competition less interesting than in truly unfamiliar terrain. Unless you have something original to say about them, you may be well advised to avoid topics typically styled of central interest to the discipline. Usually these are topics about which everyone is writing, and the reason is that somebody else has already made the decisive and exciting contribution. By the time you write your proposal, obtain funding, do the research, and write it up, you might wish you were working on something else. So if your instinct leads you to a problem far from the course that the pack is running, follow it, not the pack: nothing is more valuable than a really fresh beginning. Describe Your Methodology Methodological canons are largely discipline-specific and vary widely even within some disciplines. But two things can safely be said about methodological appeal. First, the proposal must specify the research operations you will undertake and the way you will interpret the results of these operations in terms of your central problem. Do not just tell what you mean to achieve, tell how you will spend your time while doing it. Second, a methodology is not just a list of research tasks but an argument as to why these tasks add up to the best attack on the problem. An agenda by itself will normally not suffice because the mere listing of tasks to perform does not prove that they add up to the best feasible approach. Some popularly-used phrases fall short of identifying recognizable research operations. For example, I will look at the relation between x and y is not informative. We know what is meant when an ornithologist proposes to look at a bird, but looking at a relation between variables is something one only does indirectly, by operations like digging through dusty archive boxes, interviewing, observing and taking standardized notes, collecting and testing statistical patterns, etc. How will you tease the relationship of underlying forces from the mass of
1988, 1995 Adam Przeworski and Frank Salomon, The Art of Writing Proposals 7 experience? The process of gathering data and moving from data to interpretation tends to follow disciplinary customs, more standard in some fields than in others; help readers from other fields recognize what parts of your methodology are standard, which are innovative. Be as specific as you possibly can be about the activities you plan to undertake to collect information, about the techniques you will use to analyze it, and about the tests of validity to which you commit yourself. Most proposals fail because they leave reviewers wondering what the applicant will actually do. Tell them! Specify the archives, the sources, the respondents, and the proposed techniques of analysis. A research design proposing comparison between cases often has special appeal. In a certain sense all research is comparative because it must use, implicitly or explicitly, some point of reference. Making the comparison explicit raises its value as scientific inquiry. In evaluating a comparative proposal, readers ask whether the cases are chosen in such a way that their similarities and differences illuminate the central question. And is the proposer in a position to execute both legs of the comparison? When both answers are positive, the proposal may fare particularly well. The proposal should prove that the researcher either possesses, or cooperates with people who possess, mastery of all the technical matters the project entails. For example, if a predominantly literary project includes an inquiry into the influence of the Tupian language on rural Brazilian Portuguese, the proposal will be checked for the author’s background in linguistics and/or Indian languages, or the author’s arrangements to collaborate with appropriate experts. Specify Your Objectives A well-composed proposal, like a sonata, usually ends by alluding to the original theme. How will research procedures and their products finally connect with the central question? How will you know if your idea was wrong or right? In some disciplines this imperative traditionally means holding to the strict canon of the
1988, 1995 Adam Przeworski and Frank Salomon, The Art of Writing Proposals 8 falsifiable hypothesis. While respecting this canon, committee members are also open to less formal approaches. What matters is to convince readers that something is genuinely at stake in the inquiry, that it is not tendentiously moving toward a preconceived end, and that this leaven of the unknown will yield interesting, orderly propositions. Proposals should normally describe the final product of the project: an article, book, chapter, dissertation, etc. If you have specific plans, it often helps to spell them out, because specifying the kind of journal in which you hope to publish, or the kind of people you hope to address, will help readers understand what might otherwise look like merely odd features of the proposal. While planning and drafting your proposal, you should keep in mind the program guidelines and application procedures outlined in the brochure specific to the Council program to which you are applying. If you have specific questions about the program, you may wish to consult with a staff member. Your final proposal should include all requested enclosures and appendices. Final Note To write a good proposal takes a long time. Start early. Begin thinking about your topic well in advance and make it a habit to collect references while you work on other tasks. Write a first draft at least three months in advance, revise it, show it to colleagues. Let it gather a little dust, collect colleagues’ comments, revise it again. If you have a chance, share it with a seminar or similar group; the debate should help you anticipate what reviewers will eventually think. Revise the text again for substance. Go over the language, style, and form. Resharpen your opening paragraph or first page so that it drives home exactly what you mean as effectively as possible. Good luck.