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Teacher Action Research
Building Knowledge Democracies



December 2008 | 416 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Action Research: Building Knowledge Democracies is designed to serve as a primary textbook for graduate level courses in action research. What sets it apart from other texts is its emphasis on action research as a vehicle through which schools can build knowledge democracies. This text goes beyond the "how to" of action research to examine the "why"—the historical origins, the rationale behind practice-based research, the related theoretical and philosophical perspectives, and the major paradigms of action research. A discussion of collaborative action research and action research as professional development along with a presentation of research methods and case studies demonstrates how action research can contribute to the creation of schools as centers of democratic inquiry.
 
Preface
 
Acknowledgments
 
Part I. Understanding Action Research
 
1. The Disconnection Between Educational Research and Practice: The Case for Teacher Action Research
Historical Context

 
Why the Disconnection Between Research and Practice?

 
Responding to the Gap: Renewing an Old Debate

 
Limitations of Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Design

 
School Context and Educational Research

 
The Search for School Context

 
Transcending the R&D Model of Knowledge Transfer

 
Embracing an Epistemology of Practice

 
Moving Toward a Knowledge Democracy

 
Teacher Action Research and Knowledge Democracies

 
Summary

 
 
2. Teacher Action Research: Collaborative, Participatory, and Democratic Inquiry
What Is Teacher Action Research?

 
Action Research: Changing Practice

 
Action Research: Teachers’ Voices

 
Action Research: Outcomes for Teachers

 
The Origins of Action Research

 
Approaches to Action Research

 
Summary

 
 
3. A Paradigm of Teacher Action Research
What Is a Paradigm?

 
Four Research Paradigms

 
Distinguishing Characteristics of an Action Research Paradigm

 
Challenges for Action Research

 
Summary

 
 
4. The Validity of Action Research
What Is Validity?

 
Triangulation

 
Validity as Inquiry

 
Generalizability in Action Research

 
Summary

 
 
5. Teacher Action Research as Professional Development
Action Research/Professional Development

 
Action Research as Professional Development: Teacher Outcomes

 
Action Research as Professional Development: Teacher Voices

 
Summary

 
 
Part II. Collaborative Action Research: Foundation for Knowledge Democracies
 
6. Collaborative Action Research
The Collaborative Nature of Action Research

 
The Interaction of Individual and Collaborative Action Research

 
Summary

 
 
7. Conditions for Building a Knowledge Democracy
Developing a "Work With" Posture

 
Establishing Trust

 
Finding Enough Time

 
Confronting University Versus Classroom Issues

 
Including Student and Parent Research Partners

 
Learning How to Collaborate

 
Summary

 
 
8. Creating Knowledge Democracies: Professional Development Schools
The Nature and Character of a Professional Development School (PDS)

 
The Challenges of Building a PDS as a Knowledge Democracy

 
Summary

 
 
Part III. Practicing Action Research
 
9. Fundamental Practices for Teacher Action Research
Reflection

 
Dialogue

 
Documentation

 
Focal Points for Observation, Journal Writing, and Reflection

 
Summary

 
 
10. Case Study and Teacher Action Research
What Is a Case Study?

 
Case Studies of Programs

 
Retrospective Case Studies of Curriculum

 
Case Study of the Individual

 
Summary

 
 
11. Conducting Teacher Action Research
Modest Beginnings

 
Finding Critical Friends

 
A Few Principles for Conducting Action Research

 
Summary

 
 
Glossary
 
Appendix A. Examples of Teacher Action Research Projects
From Reading Recovery to Guided Reading, by Marie A. Lennon

 
Why Do I Have to Know This Stuff? by Maryann Byrne

 
What Happens to Students' Writing When I Add a Self-Assessment Component to Each Writing Activity? by Jody McQuillan

 
 
Appendix B. Annotated Teacher Action Research Web Sites
 
Appendix C. Curriculum and Instruction Web Sites
 
References
 
Index
 
About the Author


“I have never seen a book on this topic with such intellectual depth. It is a great book to provoke thought, reflection, and discussion in an action research class. I see this having a huge impact on the discipline, with ‘knowledge democracy’ becoming a catchphrase around which dissertations, conferences, grants, and public policies are built.”

Lynne Masel Walters
Texas A&M University


“Its greatest strength is that it is very different from other texts on action research. I believe that it could impact the ways ‘the academy’ views the place of action research in RESEARCH. Dissertations and publications counted in things such as tenure and promotion could move toward action research and be legitimized. I believe the author’s arguments and rationales are that compelling—kudos!”

Cathy Mogharreban
Southern Illinois University

"This is a wonderful book with deep insight into the relationship between teachers' action and result of student learning. It discusses from different angles impact of action research on student learning in the classroom. Writing samples provided at the back are wonderful examples."

Kejing Liu
Shawnee State University

A really useful reference book for students. I have recommended to students who are carrying out action research as it will be a valuable tool as they go through the process.

Ms Tanya Young
Teaching, Learning and Standards, Riverside College Halton
November 22, 2013

Excellent text ideal for M level students on the CPPD module of year two of PGCE course.

Mrs Mary Kitchener
Education, Swindon College
April 18, 2013

For instructors

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