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Experiences, examples of an Action Research Project

I am working in a graduate program and later on in my program I am asked to conduct participatory action research. I am looking for advice, candor, suggestions as to the process of action research and what tips you may have for me. This is not an assignment, I am merely looking for academic assistance in understanding this concept. Also, the field that I am studying is social work, but your response does not need to be social work-related, just in the human services or helping professions...perhaps even education-related. Do you have experiences or examples you can share? I am looking to learn what action research is so I can start developing a picture in my mind towards a design for a project.

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I completed an action research project as a part of my Master's Degree for St. Xavier University. I was working in a cohort of about 12 students, and this was completed in the field of education. As educators that were already teaching and had our own classrooms, we were allowed (with the permission of our respective school districts) to carry out our research within our own classrooms. As students in our masters program, we were allowed to choose the topic for our research based on any problems we wanted to solve within our own classrooms. We worked in groups of three or four.

I chose to work with two other teachers. Our group of three all taught in the middle-school age range. I taught sixth grade, another taught fifth, and the third taught music to middle school students. We all lamented about discipline issues interfering with our instruction, and we all noted that they were especially difficult at times of transition. I always played soothing music in my classroom in order to fill that stark emptiness that is the dead-quiet of a classroom when everyone is working. After many brainstorming sessions, we decided to structure our research project in a way that would incorporate the music so that it would help to calm students and help them to remain engaged in the learning process, especially at times around transition points in the school day. This is when students seem to struggle with discipline issues the most. So, our first step was to reflect in order to use what we already knew about legitimate ...

Solution Summary

In action research:
You will have to use both quantitative and qualitative data.
You will have to develop your own tools for gathering the data.
You will have to determine how those tools will measure what you are trying to show.

I completed an action research project as a part of my Master's Degree for St. Xavier University. I was working in a cohort of about 12 students, and this was completed in the field of education. As educators that were already teaching and had our own classrooms, we were allowed (with the permission of our respective school districts) to carry out our research within our own classrooms. As students in our masters program, we were allowed to choose the topic for our research based on any problems we wanted to solve within our own classrooms. We worked in groups of three or four.

I chose to work with two other teachers. Our group of three all taught in the middle-school age range. I taught sixth grade, another taught fifth, and the third taught music to middle school students. We all lamented about discipline issues interfering with our instruction, and we all noted that they were especially difficult at times of transition. I always played soothing music in my classroom in order to fill that stark emptiness that is the dead-quiet of a classroom when everyone is working. After many brainstorming sessions, we decided to structure our research project in a way that would incorporate the music so that it would help to calm students and help them to remain engaged in the learning process, especially at times around transition points in the school day. This is when students seem to struggle with discipline issues the most. So, our first step was to reflect in order to use what we already knew about legitimate problems we hadn't been able to completely solve in order to set up an authentic idea for a research project. We settled on using calming music to enable students to remain engaged in the learning process, especially during times of transition. Coming up with this title set our focus for the project. Example is attached and more...

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