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Teacher Action Research

Teacher Action Research
Building Knowledge Democracies

October 2008 | 416 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

"This is a wonderful book with deep insight into the relationship between teachers' action and result of student learning. It discusses from different angles impact of action research on student learning in the classroom. Writing samples provided at the back are wonderful examples." —Kejing Liu, Shawnee State University

Teacher Action Research: Building Knowledge Democracies
focuses on helping schools build knowledge democracies through a process of action research in which teachers, students, and parents collaborate in conducting participatory and caring inquiry in the classroom, school, and community. Author Gerald J. Pine examines historical origins, the rationale for practice-based research, related theoretical and philosophical perspectives, and action research as a paradigm rather than a method.

Key Features

  • Discusses how to build a school research culture through collaborative teacher research
  • Delineates the role of the professional development school as a venue for constructing a knowledge democracy
  • Focuses on how teacher action research can empower the active and ongoing inclusion of nontraditional voices (those of students and parents) in the research process
  • Includes chapters addressing the concrete practices of observation, reflection, dialogue, writing, and the conduct of action research, as well as examples of teacher action research studies


Part I. Understanding Action Research
1. The Disconnection Between Educational Research and Practice: The Case for Teacher Action Research
Historical Context

Why the Disconnection Between Research and Practice?

Responding to the Gap: Renewing an Old Debate

Limitations of Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Design

School Context and Educational Research

The Search for School Context

Transcending the R&D Model of Knowledge Transfer

Embracing an Epistemology of Practice

Moving Toward a Knowledge Democracy

Teacher Action Research and Knowledge Democracies


2. Teacher Action Research: Collaborative, Participatory, and Democratic Inquiry
What Is Teacher Action Research?

Action Research: Changing Practice

Action Research: Teachers’ Voices

Action Research: Outcomes for Teachers

The Origins of Action Research

Approaches to Action Research


3. A Paradigm of Teacher Action Research
What Is a Paradigm?

Four Research Paradigms

Distinguishing Characteristics of an Action Research Paradigm

Challenges for Action Research


4. The Validity of Action Research
What Is Validity?


Validity as Inquiry

Generalizability in Action Research


5. Teacher Action Research as Professional Development
Action Research/Professional Development

Action Research as Professional Development: Teacher Outcomes

Action Research as Professional Development: Teacher Voices


Part II. Collaborative Action Research: Foundation for Knowledge Democracies
6. Collaborative Action Research
The Collaborative Nature of Action Research

The Interaction of Individual and Collaborative Action Research


7. Conditions for Building a Knowledge Democracy
Developing a "Work With" Posture

Establishing Trust

Finding Enough Time

Confronting University Versus Classroom Issues

Including Student and Parent Research Partners

Learning How to Collaborate


8. Creating Knowledge Democracies: Professional Development Schools
The Nature and Character of a Professional Development School (PDS)

The Challenges of Building a PDS as a Knowledge Democracy


Part III. Practicing Action Research
9. Fundamental Practices for Teacher Action Research



Focal Points for Observation, Journal Writing, and Reflection


10. Case Study and Teacher Action Research
What Is a Case Study?

Case Studies of Programs

Retrospective Case Studies of Curriculum

Case Study of the Individual


11. Conducting Teacher Action Research
Modest Beginnings

Finding Critical Friends

A Few Principles for Conducting Action Research


Appendix A. Examples of Teacher Action Research Projects
From Reading Recovery to Guided Reading, by Marie A. Lennon

Why Do I Have to Know This Stuff? by Maryann Byrne

What Happens to Students' Writing When I Add a Self-Assessment Component to Each Writing Activity? by Jody McQuillan

Appendix B. Annotated Teacher Action Research Web Sites
Appendix C. Curriculum and Instruction Web Sites
About the Author

“I have never seen a book on this topic with such intellectual depth. It is a great book to provoke thought, reflection, and discussion in an action research class. I see this having a huge impact on the discipline, with ‘knowledge democracy’ becoming a catchphrase around which dissertations, conferences, grants, and public policies are built.”

Lynne Masel Walters
Texas A&M University

“Its greatest strength is that it is very different from other texts on action research. I believe that it could impact the ways ‘the academy’ views the place of action research in RESEARCH. Dissertations and publications counted in things such as tenure and promotion could move toward action research and be legitimized. I believe the author’s arguments and rationales are that compelling—kudos!”

Cathy Mogharreban
Southern Illinois University

"This is a wonderful book with deep insight into the relationship between teachers' action and result of student learning. It discusses from different angles impact of action research on student learning in the classroom. Writing samples provided at the back are wonderful examples."

Kejing Liu
Shawnee State University

A really useful reference book for students. I have recommended to students who are carrying out action research as it will be a valuable tool as they go through the process.

Ms Tanya Young
Teaching, Learning and Standards, Riverside College Halton
November 22, 2013

Excellent text ideal for M level students on the CPPD module of year two of PGCE course.

Mrs Mary Kitchener
Education, Swindon College
April 18, 2013

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