Action Research Journal

As an extension of my current focus for my doctoral research, I offer this page and it’s comments as a journey through concept development. Being done as partial completion for Argosy University, R7038 Action Research, Dr. Robin Throne.

The figure below displays three major forms of data collection that was adapted from Wolcott (1992).  This chart included here for dialog below.



Examining Documents And Other Sources

Experiencing Through Our Senses

Inquiring into the Experiences and Thoughts of Others

Examining Documents and Artifacts

Note taking Informal interview Personal-experience methods
Field notes Formal interview Student work
Shadow study Questionnaire Photographs
Anecdotal record Attitude scale Video
Log Checklist Audio
Diary/video diary Rating scale Recording
Journal Critical incident interview Technology
Checklist Sociogram Physical traces
Rating scale Projective technique
Creative visualization
Focus group interview
(p. 141

Holly, Arhar, & Kasten (2005)


Coghlan, D., & Brannick, T. (2005). Doing Action Research in Your Own Organization (2nd). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

Holly, M.L., Arhar, J., & Kasten, W. (2005). Action Research for Teachers: Traveling the Yellow Brick Road (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.

Wolcott, H.F. (1992). Posturing in Qualitative Inquiry. In M.D. Le Compte, W.L. Millroy, & J. Preissle (eds.), Handbook of Qualitative Research in Education (pp.3-52). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

  1. #1 by chinazurfluh on July 23, 2008 - 7:41 am

    In chapter 9 (Coghlan & Brannick, 2005), I re-confirmed my belief in AR at the individual level. Clearly, I see this as a primary tool to develop my own leadership model in a significant way. My focus on transformational leadership is validated by this approach.

    The question that emerges is how to assure applicability to others. Of course, I can’t help but reflect on Covey and others who have effectively turned action research into learning tools for others. Can I accomplish similar?

  2. #2 by chinazurfluh on July 22, 2008 - 7:16 am

    Conference call this morning led to some solid gains and future planning. We still have two members that refuse to be involved in the conference call, but the rest are trying to figure out how to lead normal lives and still get this done just like I am. Hard sometimes to figure out how to fit all of this in. The actual guts of the AR process could be even more difficult. What have I gotten myself into?????

  3. #3 by chinazurfluh on July 21, 2008 - 7:36 am

    I couldn’t help but chuckle when reading about the role technology can play in the action research process. I have observed a wide range of competencies in our class group with regards to being able to use even simple technology based tools including our classroom website.

    While I value the fact that some of us are more proficient and, thus, more competent digital immigrants, it seems odd that we are still struggling in doctoral program with the very basics of internet navigation.

    So, it behooves a researcher to carefully consider the layers of roadblocks associated with the use of technology. Recognize the wide range of abilities and be prepared to address them as they emerge if you select technology to be your partner in this process.

  4. #4 by chinazurfluh on July 20, 2008 - 4:04 am

    The chart of data collection helps to quantify the many varied forms of both data collection and also provides unique insight into the concept of data gathering as an intervention as noted in Coghlan & Brannick (2005).

    Interviews, especially, take on new meaning when considered through the intervention framework. They literally become stepping stones to other goals rather than just a map of where the stones are located.

  5. #5 by chinazurfluh on July 15, 2008 - 12:10 am

    The conference call seemed to resolve many of our issues. In true political power struggle fashion, neither Ed nor Michael were involved. Michael even wrote a comment to the effect that he felt it was unworkable. Given his level of participation, you would have thought that he would have jumped at the opportunity rather than writing more content. Go figure!?

    Negotiation is a big part of this process. It brings to specific relief the core issue for AR. If the AR researcher goes in with a belief, when is that belief potentially abandoned in the face of rejection and ridicule. Hmmmm.

  6. #6 by chinazurfluh on July 14, 2008 - 11:52 pm

    Given Michael’s responses to the team project, you have to wonder if maybe our professor had asked him to serve in the role of protagonist. Michael’s responses demonstrate in specific relief the kinds of issues one faces in the Action Research cycle. I could see where the AR researcher could be ground to a halt by this kind of opinionated reaction. Hard to imagine how to resolve issues like this.

    We often think that research is easy because it is distant and “thoughtful” – the concept of really deep thinking. In reality, and this is especially true of AR, research is messy business and the range of human reaction is often undefinable.

    What a poignant message brought to specific relief by circumstances of the moment.

  7. #7 by chinazurfluh on July 11, 2008 - 11:30 pm

    The complications of moving people from status quo seem to be the most formidable aspect of action research (AR). Chapter 6 describes a daunting challenge that is likely what I will encounter with this organization. There are very difficult power relationships that will be staunchly adhered to in this environment. How to generate change in this environment?

    I’m not overly worried about ethical issues because these issues are pretty much there every day. However, the political aspects of this are potentially far reaching. How do I protect a subordinates job when the remedy for change can sometimes mean that I put individuals at risk when encouraging them to extend their participation.

  8. #8 by chinazurfluh on July 9, 2008 - 4:43 am

    Chapter 7 was impressive. It brought some light to what was becoming almost insurmountable. I am very pleased with the distinctions between ‘opportunity’ vs. ‘problem’. (Coghlan & Brannick, 2005) The authors gave us great insight into molding pre-existing negative attitudes into positive ones.


  9. #9 by chinazurfluh on July 8, 2008 - 4:37 am

    Working on the group project has been difficult this week. Despite trying to use email as our medium in hopes of enhancing participation, we still had trouble in the end game getting the actual product together.

    In this instance, technology tools alone may not be sufficient in bringing about change. There is a time issue that has to be addressed in order to get individuals more involved.

  10. #10 by chinazurfluh on July 7, 2008 - 4:35 am

    In Chapter 4 it became clear that I’m likely going to be working in Quadrant 3 for my project. While I would like to believe that my organization would sponsor something of this nature, it’s unlikely under the current strains and fits of controversy.

    That being said, a Q3 action research project could be powerful and have some weight on some unfortunate problems.

  11. #11 by chinazurfluh on July 5, 2008 - 4:39 am

    My concerns about researching in my current organization continue to grow as I ponder the implications of both the level of access and the degree of collaboration that is needed. Politically and professionally, I’m questioning if it can be done in this environment.

  12. #12 by chinazurfluh on July 1, 2008 - 7:18 pm

    One of the challenges of Action Research may be insight into the team aspect of it. If the current experiences of the Omega team are any indication, there is a long road ahead with assuring the necessary communication to make our collaboration yield usable results.

  13. #13 by chinazurfluh on June 30, 2008 - 10:27 pm

    I think there is a danger that some might see Action Research as a method for making decisions more quickly under the guise of research with other more methodical methods are taxing and frustrating. While our text and lectures don’t define it this way – in fact, quite the opposite – I could see where some could see the iterative cycles as opportunities to move decision making where other processes might seem cumbersome.

    I have a picture in my mind’s eye of a captain at the helm of a ship:

    Full speed ahead in the name of finding new knowledge! – No matter that the shoreline is obscured by a ghostly fog. If we pummel the shoreline, we will certainly uncover it’s location.

    Action research?

  14. #14 by chinazurfluh on June 30, 2008 - 4:41 pm

    After reading Chapter 5 last night (Goghlan & Brannick, 2005), I became seriously worried about the limitations to action research in my organization. The cautionary statements forced me to reconsider the potential for success given my leadership role as Head of School. Additionally, there is a tenuous relationship between myself and my board of directors right now that could emerge as a serious limitation to my potential to pursue this type of research. Balancing that is a strong leadership team of collaborators that could provide for exceptional progress on researched actions. Is that enough to make success a probability?

  15. #15 by chinazurfluh on June 29, 2008 - 7:30 pm

    The learning in action cycle introduced in Chapter 3 (Coghlan & Brannick, 2005) brings experience into focus as it relates to this process. It values the true human experience of how we adapt and it allows a meta-analysis of why we do what we do in the face of increasingly complex challenges.

  16. #16 by chinazurfluh on June 29, 2008 - 7:28 pm

    In many ways the concept presented in the text and in the lectures are akin to my own developmental processes. I have been feeling that isolated qualitative and/or quantitative research, including mixed mode, leaves the researcher out of the equation except in regards to addressing bias.

    In action research, it seems that the whole picture, much the same as addressing the whole child in education, is the core of the process and the incremental nature of overlapping cycles bring to specific relief the idea of addressing many more facets of the complex nature of human science than isolated treatments allow.

(will not be published)