Getting Started

Quick Tips for Planning and Implementation

Step 1: Consider your reasons for being interested in action research.

Do you...

  • often think about making changes to the way you teach?
  • wonder why students behave as they do at certain times?
  • worry about your students' performance?
  • discuss your teaching with your colleagues?
  • want to find out more about teaching and learning?
  • want to change the way you manage your classes?
  • want your students to recognize you as a good teacher?

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Step 2: Frame your research question. (download)

Articulate your concerns or observations

  • I've noticed that...
  • I've always wondered why...
  • I'm concerned about...
  • I wonder what would happen if ...
  • It's funny how my students always...

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Step 3: Review the literature on your problem. (download)

  • Other action research projects?
  • Other classroom research

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Step 4: Develop and refine your research question.

  • What do you already know about this topic?
  • What do you believe about this topic?
  • What particular questions do you want to address?
  • Critique your own questions
    • Is this question important to you?
    • Does it focus on you and your students and your teaching learning relationship?
    • Will there be practical benefits from this research?
    • Will you be able to accept outcomes that go against your expectations?
    • Is the question framed in an objective

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Step 5 : Decide on techniques for observation.


  • Diary/journal
  • Documents
  • Tape/video recording
  • Class attendance

Feedback from students

  • Questionnaire
  • Interview
  • Focus groups
  • Email correspondence


  • Student assessment
  • Student evaluation of teaching
  • Learning inventories
  • Interaction schedules
  • Diagnosis of conceptions of teaching and learning

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Step 6: Review the feasibility of your project. (download)

  • Have you simplified the question to the extent that it can be acted on in about two action research cycles?
  • Have you narrowed the scope of the project to fit the time and resources available?
  • Will the planned data collection place unreasonable demands on you, your students or your colleagues?
  • Will you be able to analyze the data you collect in the time available

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Step 7: Draft your action research plan. (download)

  • Research question
  • Benefits
  • The research team
  • Outside consultants/critical friend
  • Action plan/intervention
  • Techniques for observation
  • Equipment
  • Costs

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Step 8: Schedule your project. (download)

  • Start by...
  • Schedule for actions/interventions
  • Evaluation/monitoring schedul
  • Write up first cycle
  • Start second cycle

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