Action research is a research process that is reflective in nature and typically conducted in school settings. These types of research enables professionals in school settings to collaborate on the components of a study, and allows them to search for solutions to the common everyday challenges that educators experience in schools (Ferrance, 2000). Educators can use the process of reflection through action research to better understand their work and build professional knowledge as they strive for continuous improvement (Brown, 2002). Although action research has received some attention from school review boards regarding ethical concerns associated with policies and procedures when conducting these studies, these types of research allow teachers, school specialists and administrators to explore ways to enhance or improve academic instruction in an effort to improve student achievement (Nolen & Putten, 2007). As appose to looking at theories, action research enables the school professionals to address the areas of concerns that are important to them, and allow them to see how their influence can bring about changes (Ferrance, 2000).
In present day, school educators and administrators are now asked to make numerous decisions regarding student achievement and school function. Teachers, school specialists, and administrators are held much more accountable for how schools are run and how students perform academically. Action research helps Teachers, school specialists and administrators assess the needs of students, document stages of the research, analyze data, and make knowledgeable divisions that can direct them to an intended outcome. Action research is not about researching information on a certain topic, but rather a search for knowledge regarding how to improve an area of concern (Ferrance, 2000).
Exploring an intervention or innovation using action research is a collaborative venture that usually follows a general research framework. Professionals begin by determining a problem and focus area. For example, problems that may require improvement may involve the school setting, curriculum, student academic progress, or instruction. School professionals must then describe the elements entailed in that area of focus, develop questions, describe intervention or modification implementations, produce timelines for implementation of interventions or modifications, identify the participants of the action research group, and provide a list of resources to put the plan into action. The individuals implementing the action research must then describe the data that will be gathered, develop a plan for data collection and analyses, choose the appropriate instruments for analysis, implement the plan, and record the results (Donato, 2003).
Although an individual teacher can conduct these research studies, it is common for groups of teachers in the school setting to work with other teachers, as well as...