Consider the impact we may have on our environment “if” all citizen began to recycle most of the materials that are discarded in their trash bins? Added value (i.e. enriched soils, healthy plants) may be expected if composting became a secondary habit! Our lack of prowess in this matter results in the perpetuation of wasteful habits and squandered opportunities.
Think about this analogy as you consider the potential impact practitioners in the field of education might have “if” more faculty and staff were inclined to initiate Action Oriented Research. The paradigm is most appropriate when examining what is happening in our classrooms and schools and in determining what may be done to improve learning in these contexts. The results of such studies are not generalizable. As such, researchers often have no formal hypothesis. Thus, exploratory studies (i.e. descriptive research paradigms) are frequently employed in the field of education because “the number of variables entailed in describing educational systems is so enormous that any hope of controlled experimentation, or of scientific modeling, must be suspended” (Gardner, 1993, p.332). Accordingly, we may examine constructs relating to “student outcomes, the curriculum, instruction, school climate, or parental involvement” (Glanz, 1999, p.302).
Ok, remember our analogy regarding the potential benefits of recycling–think about that concept for a moment! Do you have strong feelings about squandered resources (and opportunities)? If so, consider the resources that are likely being wasted (in your school district) and the potential to enrich learning environments for successive “crops” of students. Enriching the fertility of our educational programs via Action (oriented) Research is an opportunity we ought not to squander!
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Gardner, H. (1993). Frames of mind (2nd ed.). New York: Basic Books.
Glanz, J. (1999). A primer on action research for the school administrator. The Clearing House, 72(5), 301-304.