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Once a focus area has been selected and the researcher's perspectives and beliefs about that focus have been clarified, the next step is to generate a set of personally meaningful research questions to guide the inquiry.Professional educators always want their instructional decisions to be based on the best possible data.The key to managing triangulated data collection is, first, to be effective and efficient in collecting the material that is already swirling around the classroom, and, second, to identify other sources of data that might be effectively surfaced with tests, classroom discussions, or questionnaires.
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.
To ensure reasonable validity and reliability, action researchers should avoid relying on any single source of data.
Most teacher researchers use a process called triangulation to enhance the validity and reliability of their findings.
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.
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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.Practitioners who engage in action research inevitably find it to be an empowering experience.Action research has this positive effect for many reasons.A number of relatively user-friendly procedures can help a practitioner identify the trends and patterns in action research data.During this portion of the seven-step process, teacher researchers will methodically sort, sift, rank, and examine their data to answer two generic questions: By answering these two questions, the teacher researcher can acquire a better understanding of the phenomenon under investigation and as a result can end up producing grounded theory regarding what might be done to improve the situation.Whatever the scenario, action research always involves the same seven-step process.These seven steps, which become an endless cycle for the inquiring teacher, are the following: The action research process begins with serious reflection directed toward identifying a topic or topics worthy of a busy teacher's time.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?Basically, triangulation means using multiple independent sources of data to answer one's questions.Triangulation is like studying an object located inside a box by viewing it through various windows cut into the sides of the box.