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The Textmapping Project
A resource for teachers improving reading comprehension skills instruction

You Can Conduct Action Research in Your Classroom!

Bullet point When you try something new in the classroom, you are engaging in an informal version of action research.

Bullet point. Red arrow pointing to the right. "Action research can be described as a family of research methodologies which pursue action (or change) and research (or understanding) at the same time. In most of its forms it does this by

  • using a cyclic or spiral process which alternates between action and critical reflection and
  • in the later cycles, continuously refining methods, data and interpretation in the light of the understanding developed in the earlier cycles.

Bullet point. Red arrow pointing to the right. It is thus an emergent process which takes shape as understanding increases; it is an iterative process which converges towards a better understanding of what happens.

Bullet point. Red arrow pointing to the right. In most of its forms it is also participative (among other reasons, change is usually easier to achieve when those affected by the change are involved) and qualitative."

Source: Dick, Bob (1999) What is action research? Available on line at

Bullet point Action research can lead to concrete gains in student performance. Unfortunately, there are very few opportunities to share with others - outside the classroom, and especially beyond the school or district - insights and knowledge gained through action and experience. All educators and researchers ultimately suffer the consequences of this isolation.

Bullet point Fortunately, Altec at the University of Kansas has stepped in and is attempting to fill the need for better sharing of information. Altec has created the Action Research Network, which provides a free database of action research reports filed by teachers. The Network also provides teachers with a user-friendly framework for creating new action research projects and filing reports so that valuable insights and knowledge may be shared through the Network.

Bullet point Academic researchers commonly look to the classroom to identify new topics for research. By reporting on classroom-based action research, teachers can help inform and drive new research. Research is important; more research is needed. And you can play a critical role in the process: As the Action Research Network database grows, teachers and researchers will benefit from an accumulation of insights and knowledge.

Bullet point So, we hope you will support the Action Research Network: Use it as a resource. Share your own action research through it. And tell your colleagues about it. As far as we can tell, no one else is doing this. More to the point, it doesn't appear as if anyone else out there is going to pick up the ball if these folks don't succeed. They deserve our support - and it is in our interest to support them.

Bullet point We also encourage you to become involved in other professional networking [] activities, including discussions [], listservs [], sigs [], and other such opportunities to collaborate [].

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