Term of Art: Action Research

“action research: The systematic investigation by teachers of some aspect of their work to help them improve their effectiveness. Action research requires that the participants identify a question or problem and then collect and analyze relevant data. It differs from conventional research in that the participants study an aspect of their own work in the classroom and intend to use the results themselves. For example, a teacher might decide to give students different assignments according to their assessed learning styles. If the teacher maintained records comparing student work before and after the change, he or she would be doing action research. If several educators worked together on such a project, this would be considered collaborative action research. Because of the personal interest of those who carry out action research, the results do not necessarily have credibility and are seldom generalized to other classrooms and schools.”

Excerpted from: Ravitch, Diane. EdSpeak: A Glossary of Education Terms, Phrases, Buzzwords, and Jargon. Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 2007.

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