Those investigators who choose to use the action research to find effective solutions in such social and educational spheres as teaching are oriented to investigating the problem while involving participants in the research and to developing the collaborative interaction of researchers and participants. Researchers focus on finding ways to solve the problems and implementing the action plan. Karen Swift’s research design is analyzed according to the appropriateness of the investigator’s use of action research methods to answer the questions about the teachers, parents, and students’ attitudes to the new mathematics curriculum.
Analysis of Action Research Evaluation
Action research is a specific systematic approach to investigating the issues which are primarily used in the social context in order to provide an adequate solution to the complex problems. In her report on the action research results in the sphere of teaching mathematics at Blacksmith Primary School in Australia, Karen Swift presents the discussion of her design to complete the action research in order to analyze the teachers, parents, and students’ attitudes to the new mathematics curriculum (Stringer, 2013, p. 264-266). Thus, the analysis of Swift’s action research includes the focus on the design’s strengths and weaknesses as well as the focus on the rationale, data collection methods, and the action plan’s validity.
Strengths and Weaknesses of the Design’s Rationale and Data Collection Methods
The main strength of Swift’s research is in the clear focus on the research question and on supporting the rationale for the investigation. The main goal of Swift’s research project is to concentrate on the behaviors, experiences, and attitudes of teachers, parents, and students regarding the new specific mathematics curriculum. Swift notes that the direct involvement of the participants in working with the research results is necessary (Stringer, 2013, p. 265). As a result, the cycling and complex action research approach is chosen according to the researcher’s rationale.
Swift uses the methods of collecting and analyzing the data which are appropriate for working with the qualitative information. The researcher concentrates on the naturalistic qualitative research approach, which can promote the collection of the important qualitative, subjective data and further collaborative analysis of the information (Greenwood & Levin, 2007, p. 112). The strong point is the detailed discussion of all the stages of the action research approach. The Look, Think, and Act stages are completed fully, in spite of the fact that some stages of the action plan are not reflected in the research review.
One of the research’s strengths is in the fact that Swift chose to use ethnographic interview questions in order to collect the information with references to the participants’ gender, age, and backgrounds at the Look stage. Thus, the collected data can be discussed as rather reliable because of reflecting the persons’ real attitudes. The focus on categorizing and coding the data is effective at the Think stage because of the necessity to communicate the results efficiently. The Act stage is complex, and Swift reasonably divides it into the parts associated with informing and developing the real action plan (Stringer, 2013, p. 265-269).
The validity of the Proposed Action Plan
The proposed action plan is developed with the participation of teachers and parents, and it includes two stages: the first one is for resolving the issues connected with purchasing and using mathematical resources, mathematics textbooks, and Internet in the classroom; and the second one is for resolving the issues connected with the parent involvement and teacher collaboration (Stringer, 2013, p. 274).
The action plan is valid because all the disadvantages of the new mathematics curriculum implementation are addressed, and the proposed improvements and strategies respond to the students, teachers, and parents’ needs and expectations. One weak point is the impossibility to evaluate the effectiveness of the taken actions with references to the provided research review, but the general possibility for evaluation is provided.
Appropriateness of the Action Research Approach to the Evaluative Questions
Swift’s focus on the action research approach can be discussed as a good empirical choice for this concrete investigation because the researcher is focused on studying teachers, parents, and students’ attitudes and experiences regarding the new mathematics curriculum used in the junior primary classes of Blacksmith Primary School. The reasons to support Swift’s choice are associated with the fact that the researcher needs to focus on the participants’ subjective attitudes, experiences, and visions in order to develop an effective action plan.
Swift’s research is conducted in the field of teaching, and the involvement of participants in the development of the problem-solving process is necessary in order to improve the implementation of the new mathematics curriculum (Stringer & Dwyer, 2007, p. 54). The evaluative questions are associated with the participants’ needs and attitudes. Thus, the researcher needs to collect the qualitative, subjective data, to communicate the results of the collection and analysis processes to the participants, and to involve participants in finding the solutions to the determined issues and problems. These steps in the research process can be successfully completed only with references to the action research effectively utilized by Swift.
Having analyzed Swift’s focus on the action research approach, it is possible to state that the researcher’s choice of design is appropriate. The action research approach addresses Swift’s needs to answer the questions about the teachers, parents, and students’ attitudes to the new mathematics curriculum. The design has a lot of strengths related to the supporting rationale, chosen data collection methods, and organization of the action research process. As a result, the research is valid, and the action plan is correlated with the research’s goals.
Greenwood, D. J., & Levin, M. (2007). Introduction to action research. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.
Stringer, E. (2013). Action research. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.
Stringer, E., & Dwyer, R. (2007). Action research in human services. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.