Action research involves methodical observation, data collection for purposes of reflection, decision-making, and development of efficient strategies in the classrooms. Action research consists of phases including selecting an area of focus, data collection, data organization, analysis and interpretation of data, study of professional literature, and the last step is taking action. This study aims at analyzing the pros and cons of action research. This will aid in understanding the benefits accrued by practitioners as well as shortfalls of action research.
What is Action Research
Action research is a process of practitioners checking their work to confirm if it is as good as they want. As action research is done by, the practitioner is often referred to practitioner-based research or even self reflecting practice as it entails checking the effectiveness of work done personally (Dick 440). Action 5 research is not a replacement of quasi-experimental research but acts as a means of finding out results where other research paradigms may not be effective. This is due to the difference in the conditions inherent with different research conditions for the choice of a research paradigm to be utilized. Action analysis is primarily used to examine an ongoing situation in a work environment, for example. A choice of a research paradigm depends on it being able to meet the methodology and goals of the research.
Advantages of Action Research
Action research, as a paradigm, was mainly used for the improvement of the teaching profession, which is the main reason for pros and cons of action research examples being centered on education. Action research pros use action analysis as a basic method for improving the efficiency of service delivery in a sector in meeting needs and demands. Action research can be carried out in a teaching organization to allow teachers to recognize their weaknesses and improve on them in order to increase student experience. It will also aid in improving the effectiveness of teaching as a measure of making teachers efficiency in imparting knowledge and development on the students. Action research also aids in the building of a professional culture in the profession of the practitioners. This is possible owing to the better understanding of the practices in the profession that will be effective in meeting the needs and inculcated by practitioners for the development of the culture.
Action study also has the benefit of the the problem-solving skills of the professional within and without their service centers. For teachers, this is possible through an interactive process of the augmented process of the teachers to be analytical in the course of taking part in research. Action research aids teachers to be more reflective of the situation they are faced in and the ability of meeting the requirements of the students. Another prerequisite for action research is critical analysis of own teaching styles and methods. The consequence of incorporation of critical evaluation of teaching styles, analysis, and reflection results in the ability of the teachers to solve problems.
Action research has the ability of sharpening reasoning abilities of the practitioner and aids them in the development of measures of self monitoring to augment performance effectiveness. Through action research, teachers become more aware of their teaching practices, the difference between practice and beliefs, thoughts, feelings, and learning of their pupils. This allows them to tailor their teaching in a well reasoned and with high skill to meet the learning requirements of their pupils. Action research also aids in the ability of teachers to focus on student explanation and conceptions. This is brought about by the fact that action research involves collecting data on student’s understanding and thinking, making teachers understand the students better (Calhoun 33)
The research base of practitioners augments with participation in action research. This is due to collection of literature in literature review part of the action research on the main objective of the research. In teaching profession, the teacher will have a better understanding of the teaching process and will enable them to improve their teaching methods even if they do not eventually conduct the research. The other advantage of is that it aids in the general development of the work environment as it leads to the development of better work practices and strategies for service delivery and duty performance. There is involvement in action research groups in the course of participation in action research that leads to the generation of a new social setting. This is whereby ne relations are created, establishment of dialogue and profession practices, challenging and translating to change and modification. This change results in better practices and beliefs in the profession, which results on better development of the profession and creation of an effective workforce (Balnaves & Caputi 45).
Action research aids in improvement of confidence among practitioners in the course of the performance of their duties. As an example, action research augments a teacher’s confidence through learning various ways they are able to change lives and the importance of their jobs and it improves their confidence in their teaching ability. This improved confidence by the teachers gives them professional self-assurance, which is a main factor in the ability of continuous development of the teaching profession. The main way this is developed by action research is having better knowledge of education issues, formulating significant matters on the issues, and reviews them for the development of education practices (Balnaves & Caputi 24s).
In regards to the teaching profession, the other advantage of action research is that it is regarded as the only viable and coherent way of addressing curriculum development, evaluation and professional development. This is duty to the critical nature of action research on the state of the teaching profession as there is the application of critical theory for the completion of action (Dick 430).
Disadvantages of Action Research
The main disadvantage of action research is that the practitioner evaluates himself or herself. There is a risk in the benefits of action research in this case on the student selection criteria, objectivity in selecting the participants by the practitioner. There may raise a problem in action research if there exists coercion or voluntary selection of the participants is also a problem, honesty in the answers given by the participants is also in doubt, this is due to the presence of fear of repercussions that may arise after the research. This reduces the ability of action research to meet the required needs as there may not be presented the true picture of the situation because of personal evaluation by the teacher (Coghlan, & Brannik 23).
The other disadvantage of action research is the validity in writing and presentation of the final report by the practitioner. A practitioner may not give a correct report owing to matters that may not be good for the profession including a conclusion that may be critical of their methods of practice. The practitioner may not be willing to write this in the final report; hence, the validity of the report will be in doubt. The other matter is the objectivity in writing of report, as the practitioner may not be able to separate personal issues, and write the report in an objective manner as these touches on his /her profession. This will also affect the ability to deliver a report that is objective, efficient, and of high quality. The last matter for this assertion is if the practitioner will be willing to take corrective action on findings of the report. A recommendation for a change in teaching style may not augur well with the educator because many people love the status quo and there is a very strong resistance to change in all workplaces (Parsons & Kimberlee 29).
The other disadvantage of action research is that the results in action research cannot be generalized. The results can only be applicable to the portion of the population studied and the exact system. The other disadvantage of action research is that it is more difficult to conduct than conventional research as it takes longer and requirements refinement of the methodology as the research continues.
In conclusion, action research has a number of advantages including improved effectiveness, culture development, increases learning and improved confidence for the development of the practitioner in effective service delivery. However, action research has a number of disadvantages including lack of isolation between action research and personal issues, harder than conventional research, lack of generalization and objectivity problems. Despite the stated setbacks, action research has far more advantages than disadvantages making in an effective tool in augmenting service delivery, development of professionalism and the creation of better policies and rules at the workplace. Understanding of the workplace environment and the practitioners as well as quality of service are the other benefits accrued from action research making it an important component in organizational development.
- Balnaves, M., & Caputi, P., 2001, Introduction to quantitative research methods, California: Sage Thousand Oaks.
- Calhoun, E., 1994, “How to Use Action Research in the Self-Renewing School.” Alexandria, Va: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
- Coghlan, D., & Brannik, T., 2005, Doing Action Research in your Organisation, London: Sage Publicaions.
- Dick, B,. 2006, Action Research Literature, Action Research, 4(4), 439-458.
- Dick, B., 2004, Action Research Literature: Themes and Trends, Action Research, 2(4), 425- 444.
- Parsons, D., & Kimberlee, S., 2002, Teacher as Reflective Practitioner and Action Researcher. Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning.