My take-away on this chapter is: The different styles of research that are available and able to help us as teachers to further help our students be successful. On page 76 it mentions that data is lifeless without purpose and interpretation. If we aren’t diligent about our intent on being successful and researching with a purpose, then we shouldn’t be doing it. We need to know the bottom line of what we want to find out. Sometimes won’t know what you are looking for until after you have collected it.” So, over collecting is better than not getting enough data.
I also discovered that action research is different than scientific research (to me). We aren’t trying to PROVE something, we are making discoveries and learning. I always thought we would have to prove our theory, but we don’t and that helps with my thinking and moving forward with action research.
The 3 main parts of collecting data in action research are: observation, interview, and artifact collection.
Observation: This means to watch the subject in which you want to learn from. This could be the teacher, student, parent, administration. Whomever you are wanting to take data on. This could be while in the classroom, on the playground, wherever your subject is that you want to observe. Taking notes is always helpful. Video (audio too) might be another useful tool.
Interviews: This can be formal or informal. It means to ask questions of the people whom you are seeking the data. It may be helpful to ask questions of those around the situation as well to get some background knowledge and help bridge the gap to learning. Listening is the key piece to this. If we want to be successful action researchers, we will want to actively listen to the people in which we are interviewing. This means we need to leave our bias and opinions at the door.
Artifacts: When I used to think of an artifact, I thought I was looking at history from long ago. This is not the case in action research. This means any form of concrete work. For example, I might collect my 2nd grade class’s writing assignment, or their skeleton book reports they did. This is an example of an artifact.
Triangulation: This means to add all 3 together. Like 3 sides of a triangle, this research is all linked and will help us become successful action researchers.
I was excited to see that even if I wasn’t going to be writing up an official report or submitting my “research”, as a teacher I will always be doing at least one of these methods, if not all of them while I am teaching. I will be the ultimate action researcher. I will have data to use at anytime during my career.
Being organized and keeping a journal is something that is stressed during our learning to become a teacher. We have so many intricate parts of our day with and without the students to remember, that journaling will help empty our brain and let more room in. This will help with our research by keeping a physical notebook. The term notebook is also used in this chapter (p 85) as a way to organize the data that we collect.
Again the word trustworthy appears. We care about our students and we want them to be successful. We also want to be successful. We need our data to be trustworthy. We also need to trust those that we are asking for help from. Collaboration is a big part of teaching. I say in parenting it takes a village to help raise children, and I believe that in teaching as well. Of the 5 elements of being trustworthy in our action design, I believe in honoring multiple perspectives and developing a strong sense of connection. Finding these in your action research will make you a stronger teacher and researcher. This will benefit everyone.
Just because we are teachers and think we know what is best for our students or seek to find that out. We need to make sure we honor our students or the people we are researching by gaining permission. This is an ethical step and one that will add to our being trust worthy.
These were the highlights for me for Chapter 3. I know that if I follow these and stay true to myself, I will become a successful action researcher as well as a successful teacher. Observing others will help take a look at the inner me and make me a stronger educator and person.