Despite the fact that publishers and policy-makers have had increasing influence over classrooms, it is the teacher who must make decisions on a minute-by-minute basis about what will help specific students learn. Similarly, local administrators must make key decisions at the school and district level that will best serve particular communities of teachers, students, and parents. Action research offers educators and other stakeholders a systematic way to research and reflect on specific students, classrooms, schools, and communities in order to solve local problems and improve local conditions. This book offers an overview of various definitions and perspectives on action research without prescribing any single approach. Instead, key questions are explored: Who conducts action research? Why? How? Possible answers sketch the many types of possible projects, ranging from an individual teacher trying to improve the experience of a particular student to a group of educators and community members striving to improve local socioeconomic conditions.
The Action Research Primer presents an accessible but comprehensive introduction to the field, providing a basic compass and map for the interested practitioner. Chapters include a brief historical overview, an introduction to competing research paradigms, discussion of key issues that inform project design, a serviceable guide to process, and an extensive list of resources pointing to more detail on the many categories, communities, and publication outlets of action research.