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Textbook

Action Research Essentials

ISBN: 978-0-470-18929-0
272 pages
March 2009, ©2009, Jossey-Bass
Action Research Essentials (0470189290) cover image
Action Research Essentials is a practical guide born of the author's own experience working with students in the social sciences and education, providing a step-by-step outline of how to "do" action research--backed by the most extensive theory and research coverage on the market today. The author guides future researcher/practitioners through the action research process via numerous concrete illustrations and a wealth of on-line resources; positioning it as a fundamental component of practice,

A key and unique strength of the book is its outreach to a much larger breadth of students than usually found in action research books. This book will illustrate all the steps in action research using examples from education, social work, psychology, sociology, nursing, medicine, and counseling.



The structure of the book is intended as the sole textbook for a course devoted to naturalistic inquiry, practitioner research, or beginning qualitative methods, or can complement a general research course.
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List of Figures, Tables, and Exhibits.

Preface.

The Author.

Chapter One: Introduction to Action Research.

Introduction.

What Is Action Research?

Action Research: Some Definitions.

Why Engage in Action Research?

Steps in the Process.

Phases of an Action Research Study.

What Are Data?.

When Is Action Research the Appropriate Choice?

How Can the Process Effect Change?

The Ethical Researcher.

Summary / Key Terms / Discussion Questions / Suggested Topics / Online Activities.

Chapter Two: The Process Begins.

The Action Research Environment.

Identifying Problems Suitable for Action Research.

Sources for Problems or Research Topics.

Considering the Value of a Problem or Topic.

Narrowing the Focus.

The Reflective Journal Revisited.

Concept Mapping and Focus.

Reflecting on Relevancy.

Inquiring, Questioning, Interviewing, and Gathering Information.

The IRB: Friend or Foe?

Informed Consent Forms and Assent Forms.

A Few More Words on the IRB.

Summary / Key Terms / Discussion Questions / Suggested Topics / Online Activities.

Chapter Three: The Literature Review.

The Literature Review and Action Research.

What Is a Literature Review?

Rationale for Reviewing Literature.

Literature Review for Action Research.

Conducting a General Literature Review: Processes and Steps.

Identifying and Selecting Appropriate Sources.

Relevancy, Accuracy, and Value of Online Sources.

Online Literature Review.

What Experts Have to Say.

Organizing Sources and Themes in the Literature Review.

Writing the Review.

Summary / Key Terms / Discussion Questions / Suggested Topics / Online Activities.

Chapter Four: Designing Research Questions.

What Drives a Study?

Starting Point for Generating Questions.

Research Considerations.

Research Design and Research Questions.

Research Questions as a Blueprint or Framework.

The Research Statement.

Characteristics of Good Research Questions.

Questions, Questions, Questions: Examples and Practice.

Research Umbrella as a Source for Research Questions.

Broad Themes, Subthemes, and Research Questions.

Returning to the Literature Review.

Blending Ideas to Achieve Refined Overarching Questions.

Research Questions, Chronology, and Writing.

Summary / Key Terms / Discussion Questions / Suggested Topics / Online Activities.

Chapter Five: Identifying Data Sets to Inform Inquiry.

Revisiting Questions.

Quantitative, Qualitative, and Mixed Methods.

Data Versus Data Sets.

Data Sets That Inform.

Aligning Multiple Forms of Data with Overarching Questions.

Triangulation and the Triangulation Matrix.

Qualitative Data Instruments and Schedules.

Research and Data Collection Schedules.

Summary / Key Terms / Discussion Questions / Suggested Topics / Online Activities.

Chapter Six: The Action Researcher’s Tools.

Tools for Conducting Research.

Reflective Practice.

Identifying and Collecting Artifacts.

Making Use of Electronic Sources and Technology.

Summary / Key Terms / Discussion Questions / Suggested Topics / Online Activities.

Chapter Seven: Organizing, Coding, and Analyzing Qualitative Data.

Getting Started.

Collecting and Analyzing Data.

Organizing Data.

Revisiting the Triangulation Matrix.

Examining the Pieces.

Examining Individual Data Sets and Subsets.

Coding and Analyzing.

Identifying Categories and Defining Attributes.

The Big Picture.

Summary / Key Terms / Discussion Questions / Suggested Topics / Online Activities.

Chapter Eight: The Action Research Report.

Writing the Action Research Report.

Rationale for Writing the Report.

Components.

Tips for Writing.

Reporting and Presenting Findings.

The Action Research Report Assignment.

Summary / Key Terms / Discussion Questions / Suggested Topics / Online Activities.

Chapter Nine: Designing and Implementing the Action Plan.

The Action Plan.

Rationale.

Purpose.

When Is an Action Plan Appropriate?.

Informed Decision Making.

Designing the Plan.

Components.

Using Findings to Inform Design.

Continuous Improvement.

Summary / Key Terms / Discussion Questions / Suggested Topics / Online Activities.

Online Resources.

Glossary.

References.

Index.

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Dorothy Valcarcel Craig is a professor of education, certified online instructor, and program coordinator in the Department of Educational Leadership at the College of Education and Behavioral Science, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, Tennessee. She previously held the position of associate dean for Teacher Education.

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