ERIC Number: ED479368
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2003-Apr
Faculty Conceptions and Practices of Action Research in the NOVA Program.
Raudenheimer, Carol Dianne
This study examined approaches to action research held by science, education, and mathematics faculty and how they convert ideas to action research proposals and plan to gather and analyze their research data. The study also described some of the research outcomes of successful action research projects. Rubrics were used on a diverse set of products and processes involved in the action research project by faculty teams at 53 universities. These teams were participating in NASA Opportunities for Visionary Academics (NOVA), a project aimed at improving science education at U.S. universities. The development of the rubric allowed quantification of approaches across research proposals. Further documentary analysis was conducted on course change proposals by developing a matrix that noted: (1) the conception of action research articulated; (2) research questions or research focus; (3) research design; (4) proposed data collection methods; (5) proposed data sources; (6) proposed instrumentation; and (7) proposed data analysis. Final outcome reports and conference presentations of 16 action research projects were also analyzed. Data obtained from site visits to 20 of the institutions were used to triangulate the findings. It was found that action research projects have produced a wealth of information about successful innovation in undergraduate courses, although many faculty are still novices in the implementation of action research projects. The majority used quantitative approaches over quality designs. The outcome of these action research efforts has shown significant gains in student learning, as well as in faculty professional development, although the latter was less of a focus in the cases analyzed. Observational data undertaken during site evaluation visits support the idea that faculty shifted their practices away from traditional didactic lessons, and that action research facilitated this process. An appendix contains a sample scoring rubric. (Contains 37 references.) (SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Chicago, IL, April 21-25, 2003).