Action research plans
How to do …. An action research plan
Once you have written your research question, the next step is to plan how you will organize your research to find the answer or answers to your question.
A good plan will save you time and help to keep you focused. A plan provides a timeframe for organizing your research and helps you to identify any resources you may need. There are different ways of collecting data – the information you collect during your research. Planning will help you to think through the direction of your research, so that you can select the most appropriate tools for collecting and analyzing your data.
Here are some focusing questions to help you develop your plan:
What is the purpose of my research?
Why do I want to do the research? How is it going to benefit me? How is it going to benefit my learners? How is it going to benefit the school? How will it help me to make changes?
How much time will it take?
How much time do I need? Will I be able to do it in one week? Is it better to do it over a term or even a whole school year?
Who will be involved?
Will I ask my colleagues to participate? Which classes will I involve? Will a whole class of students be needed, or should I make selections? Do I need to involve parents?
What resources do I need?
Is it easy to access any publications I need to consult? Do I need a computer? Do I need any space apart from my classroom?
What is the best method for finding answers?
Will you ask a colleague to observe you? Will you observe other colleagues? Will you conduct questionnaires with your learners? Will I carry out interviews? Will I keep a journal?
When will the research take place? Before lessons? During lessons? After lessons? All three?
How will I analyze my data?
How will I record, sort, organize and understand the data I collect? Will anyone be able to assist me?
What do I need to find out before collecting data?
How can you develop your knowledge about your topic area to help you make your research more focused? Can your colleagues provide any insights from their experiences? Are there any books you could read which would provide you with background information?
There are no set formats for designing classroom action research plans. Some teachers like to use calendars to provide a framework for what, how and when they will do the research. Another method is to complete a grid. You can download examples of both research plans below.
How you decide to design your plan will depend on your research aims and purpose as well as on whether you prefer to work with an open, loose plan or something more formally structured. What is important is to know how much time you have available and how you will use that time to conduct your research