Action Research VS Traditional Research
Action Reserch
Traditional Research
  • To draw conclusions based/build on previous research

  • The results should be replicable and genralizable

  • Insights may be generalized to other settings

  • To make decisions

  • Focus on improve practical problems in various settings

  • Limited generalizability

  • Practice based 

  • Research questions derive from practice

  • Theory plays secondary role

  • Theory based 

  • Research questions mainly focus on comparing the outcomes 

  • Theory and discovery play primary role

Data Analysis
  • Focus on practical, not statistical significance 

  • Three methods: quantitative data analyzing, qualitative data analyzing and mix-method

  • Quantitative data analyzing focus on compare statistical significance;

  • Three methods: quantitative data analyzing, qualitative data analyzing and mix-method

  • Participants with whom they work

  • Random or representative sample

Adapted from: Mc Millan, J. H. & Wergin. J. F. (1998). "Understanding and Evaluating Educational Research."

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Video introduction

How to properly choose the research method is vital for the research's viability and reliability. Is the mix-method the best choice to fit your research or just an over-ambitious decision to overwhelmed your consumers? The objective of the video is to compare the identifying the characteristics of Qualitative and Quantitative research methods. 

  • Textual data analysis

  • Methods include focus groups, in-depth interviews (quesitons list), and reviews of documents for types of themes, observations (check list);

  • Primarily it is the inductive process to avoid bias and hypothesis;

  • The processes include grouping data (category/theme) and coding data

  • The instruments: NVivo, ATLAS.ti,

  • Numerical data analysis

  • A primarily deductive process used to test pre-specified concepts, constructs, and hypotheses that make up a theory

  • Statistical tests are used for analysis

  • Descriptive statistics: measure of central tendency (Mean, Mode, Standard Deviation); measue of spread (standard deviation, range, quartiles, absolute deviation, variance

  • Inferential statistics: The methods of inferential statistics are (1) the estimation of parameter(s) and (2) testing of statistical hypotheses (ANOVA, T-test, ANCOVA, Regression) 

  • The instruments: SPSS, Excel

Dr. Eun-Ok Baek ETEC_643 Presentation (2019 Winter)

The main goal of action research is to solve practical problems in a specific scenario i.e. Mr. Frei's classroom, an instructor's medical training class etc. (Mertler, 2014). We conducted a teamwork action research in ETEC 543. We used Google Sites to build an online collaborative community to enhance the utilization of technologies for the secondary teachers in San Bernardino City Unified School District. 

Action Research: ETEC 543

Reflection: Our cyclical and iterative action research process comprised four stages planning, acting, developing, reflecting (Mertler, 2014). In the project, my primary role was to synthesize a literature review. The literature review was not only helped to narrow down the topic but also guided us to continuously revise the whole research process. According to the feedback from the instructor, the project successfully improved the participants' performance in google classroom's utilization. 

Traditional Research: ETEC 643

In ETEC 643, my traditional research initiated from a real-world problem of gaming emotions expresses. The participants were 9 boys, from 9 Chinese American families, and the age were ranging from 5 to 8. The interventions were included private Minecraft server, SmartSparrow course (adaptive learning platform), and face to face class. I will illustrate my inspirations from the following processes:

Problems & Questions: I noticed that my son is so emotional while he plays video games. Later I found it is a common problem that bothers other parents. Then I am curious whether technological interventions can help our digital natives to better express their negative feelings or not, and whether technological interventions can upgrade the parents' attitudes regarding video games or not. Based on those problems, I proposed two research questions: 
Q1: To what extent the technologies can help elementary lower level students (pre-K to the 2nd grade) improve their emotion statement?

Q2: What are the triggers for young children to lose tempers while playing a video game?

Literature Review: During the research, I have read through more than 30 peer-reviewed articles which included theories of gamification, gaming based serious learning, social-emotional learning principles, statistic analyzing and adaptive learning etc. Yes, reading, especially for second language reading, is time-consuming, but it obviously riches my experiences and stretches my life spans. 

Research Method (Data collecting and analyzing): Properly interpreting the data may not only contribute to decision making in a specific setting but also lead us a more satisfying and fruitful life (McMillan, 2016). In ETEC 643, I adopted a mix-method design for my research. Because on one hand, I want to know whether my research P value can successfully reject the Null Hypothesis or not, on the other hand, I want to properly code the interviews and observations to reduce the small samplings' limitation.
01: There will not be a statistically significant difference in the mean results between the pretest and posttest score in students’ acquisitions of Safe Failure.
02: There will not be an obvious parents’ attitudes change regarding the video games in elementary lower level social emotional learning between the before class and after class Likert Scale survey.

Discussion and Summary:  In order to improve my future research, I paid more attention to the discussion part compared with the summary section. The interpretation related to many sections, such as problem/hypothesis, theories, methodologies, samplings, interventions, variables measurement, and previous research (McMillan, 2016). 

Reflections:  I deeply appreciated Dr. Baek's efforts to her class of  ETEC 643. The unlimited attempt quiz of each module enhanced my comprehension for complexed concepts; the various reading materials riched my mind to traditional research; the well-designed data analyzing practices obviously fulfilled my needs to interpret both qualitative and quantitative data analyzing. She practically leveled up my life quality. Through her instructions, I build up my confidence to read data and feel eager to critique more data analyzing applications.

643_final paper (uncompleted)

  1. McMillan, J. H. (2016). Fundamentals of educational research (7th  ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson

  2. Craig A. Mertler (2017) Action Research Improving Schools and Empowering Educators. London, SAGE Publication

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