Chapter 4-Data Analysis and Interpretation


Interpretation in our research is important. We do interpretation in our everyday lives and our lives as an educator.  For me, the two are the same.  Interpretation may mean making assumptions, judgements, and inferences based on our students dress, language barriers, lack of verbal skills, the cars they drive or don’t drive.  Material things we shouldn’t get caught up on, but help us draw background knowledge on our students that will help us gain relationships and trustworthiness.  My interpretation may be filled with biases, but I would need to try to be unbiased at best.  I concluded from this chapter that interpretation is to provoke not instruct.  It will help deepen the understanding for me as an action researcher as well as help me deepen the understanding into my students or the community I am trying to find information on.

Being quick on interpretations as educators is one of the tools we need to be quick on making assessments.  This could be how our students come into the room in the morning, or come in from another transition.

I knew what analysis meant, but I didn’t know what synthesis meant in this context until I read this chapter.  This means putting back together.  Breaking apart your data and analyzing it, then putting it back together.  Deconstructing is to check assumptions, interpretations, and consider the context in which our data is collected.  We check all around our data and make sure everything is covered.  It is like dotting all of the i’s and crossing all of the t’s.  Along with triangulation, contextualization is another bar to  bridge the gap to learning, or helping us become master action researchers.  Digging into ethical, social, political, and social context of our AR helps create the avenue in which we interpret our data.  Again, all of these pieces help concrete our puzzle together.

Knowing all of the pieces and how they work together is important to becoming successful AR’s.  This in turn will help our students be successful and point them in the right direction of how to conduct their own action research.

There are informal and formal ongoing analysis.  Informal is “real time” and formal is an ongoing process with an intentional break in between data collection.

Once data collection has been organized into charts or a mind map it is time to create a data analysis.  This will lead into a analytic memo.  This is the space where teachers can create their researched document.  I see it as a glorified journal, to plan out how to create how we want to collect our thoughts that we gathered as data in several ways.

Personally, I find these steps less daunting than sitting down to write a paper with pages filled with observations and tapes of interviews to comb through.  Breaking down the process into stages and having the expectations of each stage set are helpful for creating the documents needed to fulfill the action research.

One of the words that I learned early on in my academic career to becoming an educator was scaffolding.  I discovered it continues in action research.  This chapter helped explain scaffolding for data interpretation.  Expanding your mind and applying interpretation in layers is yet another way applying action research is scaffolding and helping bridge the gap and become successful researchers, educators, and learners.

Scientists have hypothesis and ways of proving their theory.  Another way, another piece of the action research puzzle is drafting a synthesis statement.  This can be done with a chart and categories.  This will include what you have learned and how you have learned it.  This will help conclude your research.  You may or may not reach an answer to your original critical question.  This is complete and deep research.  This is why collecting data is so important as well as being trustworthy.

Again, I find that all of these qualities are leading up to a quality educator.  We should be using these qualities to build relationships with the community in  which we are creating a bed of learning and growing.

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One Response to Chapter 4-Data Analysis and Interpretation

  1. Steven Rhine says:

    So important to have a sense of our biases as research and as we teach. In looking at our data we want to be systematic with our analysis and not just cherry pick different points. As you note, the synthesis process is significant as you bring together all the themes that you find in your data to come up with some insights.

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