Action Research: Questionnaire

In Wednesday’s lecture; The Reflective Practitioner, we learned about Action Research. We were shown a number of examples from various scholars. During the lecture I recalled a teacher training workshop on the same topic. However, the term Action Research was termed ‘learning by doing’ Scholar Stephen Kemmis developed a model of the cyclical nature of the typical Action Research process. The cycle involves 4 steps, plan, act, observe reflect. However, some scholars, for example, Gerald Susman (1983) elaborated on his Action Research Model and uses 5 phases: 1 Diagnosing– 2 Action Planning– 3 Taking Action– 4 Evaluating– 5 Specifying learning

On the way home that day, it’s a normal process for me to reflect on what I had been listening to and think about things that I learned from the lecture. I probably and almost certainly didn’t ‘learn’ anything in the lecture. For me, my learning process starts to take effect when I’m out of the classroom and not in it. I might be at home in a quiet room, sitting in a quiet café or talking about that lesson/lecture with a colleague on the same course (peer learning). That day I took out my old note book and began to read about what I had written during the lecture. I found a lot of scribbled notes. I started to make sense of some things but not of others things so my next plan of ‘action’ is to go to a search engine (Google) in order to make those unclear things a little more coherent in my mind.

‘Learning by doing’

Part of the 4 characteristics in Action Research involves collaboration.

Plan & Act– Part of the Action Research involves qualitative research. As I work in Tokyo, I considered including some cultural research into my project. Initially, I thought about interviewing but later, rejected the idea as I do not have any recording equipment and gathering the data could be very time-consuming so I thought about a putting together a questionnaire. Devising the questions wasn’t as easy as I thought. There are many considerations. For example: Shall I use close-ended questions or open-ended questions?  The former has its advantages, the participants only require a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response. However, the drawback is, short answers can be inconclusive therefore the qualitative data might not be a true representation of the participant’s answers. The latter provides more comprehensive data and are more exploratory and conclusive by nature. The participant will be required to give their own opinions. However, other questionnaire-related problems can still arise. The participant might not want to spend a lot of time answer the questions. The participant might not want to share their personal information with a relative stranger. Then there are language and cultural issues. For example, the questionnaire is written in English, a literal translation from one language might not be the same in English. It is possible the participant could misunderstand the question(s) thus giving irrelevant data. Regarding cultural issues, in some countries people are very guarded about their feelings and opinions so they might feel reluctant to complete the questionnaire. I needed to carefully think about the aforementioned considerations. I decided to only write 6 questions as opposed to 10. Most of the questions are designed so that the participant can decide whether to elaborate in detail or not. The questions are easy to read; making sure not to include ‘big’ words, slang and complex grammar structures etc. I aim to submit 40/50 questionnaires. It will be interesting to see what kind of results come back and what will I gain from the findings. I should hope the qualitative data will be of importance and relevance with my project.




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