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Action Research in Education: What You Need to Know

Action Research in Education

Action research involves taking actions to improve teaching and learning practices and collecting data to measure the impact of those actions. 

Researchers who use this approach believe that it is the best way to ensure that the needs of students are being met.

What Is the Purpose of Action Research in Education

The purpose of action research in education is to improve teaching and learning by taking a collaborative, reflective, problem-solving approach to investigating classroom practice. Action research involves cycles of planning, implementing, observing, and reflecting on changes made to improve practice.

Why Action Research Is a Preferred Method of Inquiry in Education

There are several reasons why action research is becoming more popular in education:

  1. It is an inclusive process that allows all stakeholders to be involved in the research. This includes teachers, students, administrators, and even parents.
  2. It is a very effective way to get feedback from teachers and students about what is working and what needs improvement.
  3. It helps build educators’ shared understanding of teaching and learning.
  4. It allows teachers to reflect on their practice and learn new strategies for improving student outcomes
  5. It is focused on practical solutions to real problems faced by educators.
  6. It has been found to be particularly effective in professional development contexts. Many teacher education programs now require their students to complete an action research project as part of their degree.
  7. It is more effective than traditional research methods, which often fail to address the unique needs of specific groups.
  8. It is a cyclical and recursive process, which means that it allows for constant reflection and improvement.

How Does Action Research Differ From Other Research Methods

One of the main differences between action research and other research methods is that action research focuses on solving specific problems. It is also designed to be interactive so that researchers can get feedback from those impacted by their work. This makes it an effective tool for changing schools and other educational settings.

How Does Action Research Work

Action research is a cyclical process that involves four steps: planning, action, observation, and reflection. 

During the planning stage, researchers identify a problem or question they would like to explore. They then develop a plan for how they will go about investigating this question. 

The action stage is when the research takes place. It involves conducting experiments, changing teaching practices, or collecting student data. 

The observation stage is when researchers collect data about what is happening during the action stage. This data can be used to measure the impact of the actions taken and determine if they successfully achieved their goals. 

The reflection stage is when researchers analyze the data collected during observation and discuss what they have learned. It allows them to change their plan and continue with the cycle.

What Are the Benefits of Action Research for Teachers and Students

There are several benefits of using action research in education, including the following:

  1. It helps teachers to become more reflective practitioners. Through reflection, teachers can learn new strategies for improving student outcomes.
  2. It helps teachers to develop a shared understanding of teaching and learning. This can lead to collaboration among educators and improved communication between teachers and students.
  3. It is a collaborative process that encourages teamwork and builds relationships among educators.
  4. It allows teachers to try new ideas and see how they work in practice.
  5. It encourages teacher-student dialogue about learning and helps students become more engaged in their education.
  6. It promotes professional development among educators.
  7. It is a cyclical process, so researchers can continue to refine their practices based on the feedback they receive.
  8. It can lead to positive changes in the classroom and the school.

What Examples of How Action Research Has Been Used to Improve Teaching and Learning Practices

One example of how action research has been used to improve teaching and learning practices is using portfolios. A portfolio is a collection of student work used to assess their learning progress. Portfolios can track students’ development over time and identify areas where they need assistance. They are also used to evaluate the effectiveness of teaching practices.

Another example is the use of formative assessmentsFormative assessments are tests throughout the school year to measure students’ understanding of a topic. They help teachers to determine which concepts students understand and which ones they need more help with. They are also used to adjust teaching strategies based on students’ needs.

Action research can also be used to improve instruction for English Language Learners (ELLs). ELLs are students who are new to English or who are not yet proficient in the language. Instruction for ELLs should be differentiated based on their level of proficiency. Additionally, it should be tailored to meet their individual needs. Action research can help educators to identify the best ways to teach ELLs and help them to achieve success in school.

What Are the Challenges Associated With Action Research

There are also some challenges associated with Action Research, including the following:

  1. It can be time-consuming, especially if researchers are working alone.
  2. Finding the resources needed to implement action research projects can be difficult.
  3. Getting buy-in from stakeholders, including administrators, teachers, and students, can be challenging.
  4. Not all research projects will yield positive results, discouraging those involved.

There are also some challenges associated with action research that can be difficult to overcome:

  1. It can be challenging to get everyone on board with the changes being made. This is especially true if the changes are controversial or involve significant changes to the status quo.
  2. It can be difficult to measure the impact of actions taken, especially in the short term. This can make it hard to determine whether or not the changes positively impact students.

These obstacles, however, can be overcome by following a few simple steps:

  1. Ensure that everyone involved in the research process understands why the changes are being made and what they hope to achieve.
  2. Collect data regularly and track progress over time. This will help to determine whether or not the changes are having a positive impact on students.
  3. Be willing to adapt and change course if necessary to achieve desired results.

Action research is a powerful tool that can help to improve teaching and learning practices. However, it is important to be aware of the challenges associated with this type of research to overcome them. 

By taking the steps outlined above, researchers can ensure that they can make the most of action research and its potential benefits.

What Are the Limitations of Action Research

This method is effective for meeting the needs of students, but there are some limitations to consider.

One limitation of action research is that it can be time-consuming. Researchers often have to collect and analyze data on their own, which can take a significant amount of time. Furthermore, taking action and then measuring the impact of those actions can also be lengthy.

Another limitation of action research is that it can be expensive. To measure the impact of changes made in the classroom, researchers often need to purchase or rent equipment and pay for software licenses or subscriptions (e.g. IBM SPSS Statistics, Microsoft Excel).

Finally, action research can be challenging to implement. It requires a certain level of expertise and can be difficult to carry out without proper training.

How Do You Get Started In Action Research

If you are interested in using action research, there are a few things you need to know. 

First, it is essential to understand that action research is a process, not a product. It takes time and effort to complete a successful action research project.

Second, you must clearly understand the problem or question you want to investigate. This should be something you are passionate about and think can make a difference in the lives of your students.

Third, you need to be willing to take action. One of the key characteristics of action research is that it involves taking real-world actions to improve teaching and learning practices. This can be challenging, but it is also exciting and rewarding.

Finally, you must be prepared to collect data and measure the impact of your actions. This is essential for documenting the success of your project and sharing your findings with others.

If you are ready to start using action research in your classroom or school, many resources are available to help you get started. The best place to start is with your school’s division office. They can provide information on how to get started and connect you with other educators who are also interested in using action research.


DepEd Research Management Guidelines

DepEd Action Research Topics and Sample Titles

Teacher Quality as a Key Factor Influencing Student Learning Outcomes

DepEd Supplemental Research Guides and Tools

DepEd School Research Manager Duties and Responsibilities

In addition, several books and articles can help you learn more about action research. These resources will provide an overview of the process and give you some practical tips for getting started.


Action Research an Essential Writing Guide for Teacher and Would Be Teachers by Darwin D. Bargo, Ed.D., Ph.D.

With these things in mind, you can start your journey toward becoming an action researcher today.


As educators, we must constantly look for ways to improve our teaching and learning practices. Action research is a great way to do that, as it allows us to take steps to improve student outcomes and then collect data to measure the impact of those actions. 

It would be best if you considered using this approach in your work, as it is the best way to ensure that students get the most out of their education.

How to Cite this Article

Llego, M. A. (2022, August 28). Action Research in Education: What You Need to Know. TeacherPH. Retrieved August 28, 2022 from, https://www.teacherph.com/action-research-education/

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Mark Anthony Llego

Mark Anthony Llego, from the Philippines, has significantly influenced the teaching profession by enabling thousands of teachers nationwide to access essential information and exchange ideas. His contributions have enhanced their instructional and supervisory abilities. Moreover, his articles on teaching have reached international audiences and have been featured on highly regarded educational websites in the United States.

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