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The Action Research Guidebook
A Four-Stage Process for Educators and School Teams

Second Edition


November 2010 | 248 pages | Corwin

"Richard Sagor powerfully bridges the gap between research and practice. His conception of action research is clear, robust, and flexible. This book is both intelligent and accessible, and is fun to read and use."
—Deborah Court, Head of Curriculum Studies
School of Education, Bar-Ilan University, Israel

"This new edition is simply outstanding! The descriptions, metaphors, and modeling of an everyday approach to the inquiry cycle reflect Sagor's deep understanding of the current challenges educators face in integrating action research into their practices."
—Lauren Childs, School Quality Consultant for Teacher Leadership
Oakland Schools, Waterford, MI

Easy-to-use action research tools that work for today's schools

In this second edition of his best-selling volume The Action Research Guidebook,Richard Sagor provides updated tools and insights to guide the implementation of school-based research for student success. Ideal for teacher leaders and teacher teams, this practical guidebook features new examples, activities and leadership applications that reflect the recent growth of professional learning communities, wider acceptance of standards, and the need for more qualitative research. Sequentially organized to be used as you go, the book follows Sagor's four-stage process developed from his many years of experience training educators:

  1. Clarifying visions/targets
  2. Articulating theory
  3. Implementing action and collecting data
  4. Reflecting on data and planning informed action

Inside are numerous tables, charts, handouts, forms, and worksheets to demystify the action research process. This handbook will also be valuable to principals, counselors, and other educators wishing to apply the action research process to school improvement.


 
Preface to the 2nd Edition
 
Publisher's Acknowledgments
 
About the Author
 
1. Introduction to Action Research
Why Conduct Action Research?

 
The Complexity of Routine Instructional Decisions

 
Key Terms and Concepts

 
Universal Student Success

 
 
2. Finding a Focus
Zeroing in on Your Priorities

 
Using Reflective Writing to Find a Focus

 
Performance, Process, and Program Targets and Action Research by School Leaders

 
Using a Journal to Identify Action Research Foci

 
Reflective Interviews

 
Reflective Interviewing and the Problem of Isolation

 
Analytic Discourse

 
Team Reflection

 
 
3. Refining the Focus
Visualizing Success

 
Doing an Instructional Postmortem

 
Taking Stock of One's Recent Leadership Experience

 
Comparing Your Experience With the Experience of Others

 
Developing Criteria to Measure Changes With Priority Achievement Targets

 
Creating Performance Rating Scales

 
Rating Scales and Program Action Research

 
The Special Problem of Long-Range Goals

 
Assessing Rate of Growth

 
Determining Adequate Yearly Progress in Real Time

 
Producing Your Own Rate-of-Growth Charts

 
Ascertaining Rate of Growth in Leadership Programs

 
 
4. Articulating a Theory of Action
If Not Us, Who?

 
An Adequate Knowledge Base Already Exists

 
Going Beyond Proven Practices: Building a Theory of Action

 
Two Kinds of Variables

 
Creating Mileposts on the Route to Mastery

 
Inferring Independent Variables

 
Using the Priority Pie to Identify, Clarify, and Weigh Independent Variables

 
Using the Priority Pie With Descriptive Research

 
 
5. Drawing a Theory of Action
Why a Map?

 
Building a Graphic Reconstruction

 
Graphic Reconstructions for Quasi-Experimental Research

 
Graphic Reconstructions With Descriptive Research

 
Proofing a Theory of Action-Leadership Projects

 
 
6. Determining the Research Questions
Three Generic Action Research Questions

 
Developing Your Own Research Questions

 
Two-Step Walk-Through

 
Drafting the Questions

 
Surfacing Research Questions for Leadership Projects

 
 
7. Building a Data-Collection Plan
Data Collection and the Competing Demands for Your Time

 
What Qualifies as Teaching?

 
What Qualifies as Data?

 
Data in Descriptive Research

 
Data in Quasi-Experimental Research

 
Data Collection and Concerns About Precision

 
Fishing in a Sea of Data

 
Securing Research Assistants

 
Building a Triangulated Data-Collection Plan

 
Data-Collection Planning for Leadership Projects

 
Integrating Efficiencies Into Your Data-Collection Work

 
Using Technology to Compile and Assemble Action Research Data

 
Keeping a Researcher's Journal

 
 
8. Analyzing the Data
Trend Analysis

 
Organizing Data to Help Answer the Three Generic Questions

 
ACR Question 1: What Did We Do?

 
ACR Question 2: What Changes Occurred Regarding the Achievement Targets?

 
ACR Question 3: What Was the Relationship Between Actions Taken and Any Changes in Performance on the Targets?

 
Drawing Tentative Assertions

 
Using Member Checking to Add Credibility to the Tentative Assertions

 
Additional Tools for Qualitative Data Analysis

 
Qualitative Data Analysis Using Bins and a Matrix

 
Low-Tech Strategies for Bins and Matrixes

 
Using a Computer for Bins and Matrixes

 
 
9. Turning Findings Into Action Plans
Modifying Your Theory of Action

 
Data-Based Decision Making

 
Turning Your Findings Into Ed Specs

 
Solicit and Brainstorm Action Alternatives

 
Using Ed Specs to Evaluate Action Alternatives

 
Using Ed Specs to Evaluate Action Alternatives for Schoolwide Projects

 
Completing the Cycle: Revised Theory of Action 2

 
 
10. Reporting and Sharing Action Research
Common Issues

 
Formats for Reporting

 
Creating a Bank of Abstracts

 
Creating a District Archive

 
 
11. Conclusion: The School as a Learning Organization
The Two Keys: Coherence and Congruence

 
Putting the Pieces Together

 
 
Resource A: How to Use the Feedback Forms and Summary Reports
 
Resource B: Five Characteristics of a Quality Action Research Project
 
Resource C: Applications for Leadership Projects
 
Glossary
 
References
 
Index

"This new edition is simply outstanding! The descriptions, metaphors, and modeling of an everyday approach to the inquiry cycle reflect Sagor’s deep understanding of the current challenges educators face in integrating action research into their practices."

Lauren Childs, School Quality Consultant for Teacher Leadership
Oakland Schools, Waterford, MI

"Richard Sagor is one of a very small group of academic educators writing today who authentically and profoundly bridges the gap between research and practice. His conception of action research, developed over decades of experience with thousands of educators, is clear, robust and flexible. This book is both intelligent and accessible, and is fun to read and use."

Deborah Court, Head of Curriculum Studies
School of Education, Bar-Ilan University, Israel

Excellent, step-by step method, with great illustrations.

Can be immediately implemented in classes.

Highly recommended.

Became the core guide for an Equity and Social Justice in Education course that I decided to carry out via an action research framework

Mr Richard Hogeboom
Education Div, Chaminade University
May 17, 2012

a useful supplementary textbook for those undertaking action research: some prior knowledge needed though to access it fully.

Dr Liane Purnell
School of teacher Education, Newman University College
October 18, 2011
Key features

Each chapter provides concrete strategies for immediate use. Realizing the needs of the busy educator, Sagor has written this as a guide using a very clear 4 step process so that readers can get started on  action research projects after reading just a few chapters. Each chapter prepares the reader to take the next step:

  • Finding and refining your focus
  • Articulating and drawing a theory in action
  • Determining the research questions
  • Building and analyzing a data-collection plan
  • Turning findings into action plans
  • Reporting and sharing action research

Preview this book

Sample Materials & Chapters

Action_Research_2e_Preface

Action_Research_2e_Ch1


For instructors

Select a Purchasing Option

ISBN: 9781412981286
$41.95

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