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To ensure reasonable validity and reliability, action researchers should avoid relying on any single source of data.
Considering the incredible demands on today's classroom teachers, no activity is worth doing unless it promises to make the central part of a teacher's work more successful and satisfying.
Thus, selecting a focus, the first step in the process, is vitally important.
All teachers have had the experience of implementing a “research-proven” strategy only to have it fail with their students.
The desire of teachers to use approaches that “fit” their particular students is not dissimilar to a doctor's concern that the specific medicine being prescribed be the correct one for the individual patient.
Selecting a focus begins with the teacher researcher or the team of action researchers asking: The second step involves identifying the values, beliefs, and theoretical perspectives the researchers hold relating to their focus.
For example, if teachers are concerned about increasing responsible classroom behavior, it will be helpful for them to begin by clarifying which approach—using punishments and rewards, allowing students to experience the natural consequences of their behaviors, or some other strategy—they feel will work best in helping students acquire responsible classroom behavior habits.When teachers have convincing evidence that their work has made a real difference in their students' lives, the countless hours and endless efforts of teaching seem worthwhile.Educational action research can be engaged in by a single teacher, by a group of colleagues who share an interest in a common problem, or by the entire faculty of a school.Each day a child is in class, he or she is producing or not producing work, is interacting productively with classmates or experiencing difficulties in social situations, and is completing assignments proficiently or poorly.Teachers not only see these events transpiring before their eyes, they generally record these events in their grade books.Perhaps even more important is the fact that action research helps educators be more effective at what they care most about—their teaching and the development of their students.Seeing students grow is probably the greatest joy educators can experience.”, gives voice to a realistic fear regarding time management.Fortunately, classrooms and schools are, by their nature, data-rich environments.For the harried and overworked teacher, “data collection” can appear to be the most intimidating aspect of the entire seven-step action research process.The question I am repeatedly asked, “Where will I find the time and expertise to develop valid and reliable instruments for data collection?