Action Research: A Guide for the Teacher Researcher

Geoffrey E. Mills  
Total pages
November 2013
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Action Research: A Guide for the Teacher Researcher
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A main text for courses in action research or a supplement to courses in research methods in education

A step-by-step guide to action research with a balanced coverage of qualitative and quantitative methods. Known for its practical, step-by-step guidance for teachers on how to do research in classrooms, Action Research: a Guide for the Teacher Researcher was born from the author's own experience working with teachers and principals. The author guides future educators through the action research process via numerous concrete illustrations; positioning it as a fundamental component of teaching, alongside curriculum development, assessment, and classroom management.

From reviews of the book: “Mills’ writing style is informative, direct, and personalized and his expertise as a researcher is evident throughout the textbook. He fully understands the uniqueness of teacher-centered research. . . . The language and the illustration cater to the classroom research contexts and it is easy to understand and apply.” –Adel Al-Bataineh, Illinois State University “The book emphasizes the importance of reflection and creating an action plan. . . . Examples of action research papers are included. There are study sites, videos, slides and other supplemental materials available for the students to consult for ancillary learning. The writing style is clear, interesting and engaging. Throughout the text, Mills offers the reader a research scenario that helps to position him or her around the theme of the chapter and context of the research phase. This helps to alleviate some of the anxiety students of action research may experience as they begin each aspect of the action research process.” –Beverly Melenyzer, California University of Pennsylvania “[T]he survey examples, SurveyMonkey, and direct observation examples are very good, as well as the informal interview, making records, [and] data collection techniques. . . . [T]he section on re-aligning the focus and action research plan is very good. I find my students doing this as they are doing their literature review and understanding that they need to narrow the scope of their research. I like the example of doing AR in Ch. 6. . . . I like the inclusion of the data analysis, sample interview and other models of how to analyze data. . . . The key strengths of the project are the authentic examples of AR.” –Mary Frances Agnello, Texas Tech University


Balanced coverage of data collection and analysis techniques for qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods

  • Chapter 4, Data Collection Techniques, covers collection techniques for the most frequently used qualitative and quantitative data, including observations, interviews, teacher-made tests, and standardized test data.
  • Chapter 6, Data Analysis and Interpretation, guides students through data analysis and provides techniques, coding guidelines, and examples for analyzing both quantitative and qualitative data.
  • Inclusion throughout the text of digital research tools that can be used by action researchers through each phase of the action research process.

A focus on producing critical consumers of action research

  • Chapter 9, Evaluating Action Research, helps students learn to read and critique studies completed by others. Included in Chapter 9 is an article from an action research journal that is analyzed using the new criteria for evaluating action research.
  • Appendix A, Action Research in Action, contains an extended example and evaluation of an action research case study.

Expanded coverage of the ethics of conducting research in your own classroom

  • Chapter 2, Ethics, includes discussion of ethical guidelines and provides guidance for seeking and obtaining Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval.

New to this Edition

The Fifth Edition of Action Research has been revised in response to expert reviewer feedback.

The Fifth Edition includes:

Digital Research Tools for the 21st Century

  • A new feature of the Fifth Edition is the inclusion throughout the text of digital research tools that can be used by action researchers through each phase of the action research process.

Expanded Coverage of Mixed Methods Data Collection and Analysis Techniques

  • Additional coverage of mixed methods research has been added throughout the book.

Expanded Coverage of Ethics

  • Chapter 2, “Ethics,” provides an expanded discussion of the American Educational Research Association’s ethical guidelines (adopted in 2011) and provides guidance for seeking and obtaining Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval.

Expanded Coverage of Reviewing the Literature

  • Additional coverage of using technology to search literature databases that takes advantage of university library consortium agreements as well as the power of technology tools to track references and build bibliographies.

Table of Contents

CHAPTER 1:   Understanding Action Research  

CHAPTER 2:   Ethics  

CHAPTER 3:   Deciding on an Area of Focus  

CHAPTER 4:   Data Collection Techniques   

CHAPTER 5:   Data Collection Considerations: Validity, Reliability, and Generalizability

CHAPTER 6:   Data Analysis and Interpretation   

CHAPTER 7:   Action Planning for Educational Change

CHAPTER 8:   Writing Up Action Research   

CHAPTER 9:   Evaluating Action Research


APPENDIX A:  Action Research in Action: A Case Study of Curtis Elementary School and an Article Critique

APPENDIX B: Standard Deviation and Action Research   

APPENDIX C:  Displaying Data Visually