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Participatory Action Research for Educational Leadership
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Participatory Action Research for Educational Leadership
Using Data-Driven Decision Making to Improve Schools



July 2007 | 248 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Leadership Solutions

Follow the author on Twitter!
Alana James has a new twitter feed titled AR4Everything, which covers action research and reports on interesting facts.

"Finally we have a data-driven text on participatory action research for educational leaders. Through thoughtful examples and guided instruction, this text makes the case that the complex issues of today and tomorrow require multifaceted, rigorous, and results-oriented processes best undertaken through partnerships between educators and the communities they serve."

Darlyne Bailey, Dean and Assistant to the President, University of Minnesota

"This book includes a very useful hands-on approach to developing a PAR project. It is written in a manner that is accessible to teachers, it is detailed enough to provide clear descriptions, and the exercises at the end of each chapter help readers to implement the new material."

—Elizabeth Grassi, Regis University

"In a clear manner, this text provides the tools necessary to conduct collaborative action research in order to create needed change in our classrooms and schools. Using this book, teachers, administrators, parents, and students can become active participants in the movement toward educational change."

Emma Fuentes, University of San Francisco

The participatory action research (PAR) process discussed in the text represents the next evolutionary stage for action research and practitioner research in education. Authors E. Alana James, Margaret T. Milenkiewicz, and Alan Bucknam provide a readable overview of the PAR process similar to professional learning communities in schools. This fresh approach to participatory action research fully integrates process with research methodology. The results of the original PAR study and continued work with educational leaders propose that this "And/Both" approach ultimately produces the effect that school leaders seek and appreciate.

Key Features

  • Guides the reader through the PAR steps with a graphically illustrated process: The book's design reaches out to visual learners with graphic elements while employing a research logic model that helps ensure rigorous research methodology.
  • Provides reflective questions preceding each section: The questions increase the reflective practices and routines of the reader as appropriate to the PAR process.
  • Presents real-world examples: Practitioner stories make the lessons real and alleviate the emotional unease that comes from tackling research practices for the first time.
  • Offers tasks for working both in teams and as individuals: These tools aid participatory teams in working toward consensus and strong research designs.

Intended Audience

This is an ideal core text for graduate courses such as Action Research for School Improvement, Research for Educational Practitioners, Practitioner Research, and Teacher as Researcher in departments of education. It can also be used as a supplemental text in other research methods courses and in data-driven decision-making courses.

Meet author Alan Bucknam! http://www.notchcode.com/


 
Acknowledgments
 
Introduction
Welcome to PAR for Educational Leaders

 
Our Approach to PAR

 
Our Readers

 
Features

 
How to Use This Book

 
Final Notes

 
 
1. The Participatory Action Research Model
Reflective Questions

 
Section 1: PAR---A Tool for Change

 
PAR as a Tool for Educational Leadership

 
Reflective Questions

 
Section 2: Research and Action in the PAR Process

 
Reflective Questions

 
Section 3: Participatory Research as a Tool to Address Adaptive Change

 
An Example of PAR Use in the Classroom

 
Task 1.1: Beginning a Reflective Journal

 
Conclusion

 
 
2. The Tenets of PAR: Ethics, Purpose, and Logic
Reflective Questions

 
Section 1: Ethics

 
Ethical Elements

 
Task 2.1: The Formation of an Ethical Plan for PAR Projects

 
Reflective Questions

 
Section 2: The Power of Purpose

 
Format for Purpose Statements

 
Task 2.2: Multiple Journal Entries Define Purpose

 
Reflective Questions

 
Section 3: Logic Models

 
Task 2.3: Planning Your First Draft of Your Logic Model

 
Conclusion

 
 
3. Starting to Research
Reflective Questions

 
Section 1: Asking Good Research Questions

 
Task 3.1: PAR Practitioners Reflect On and Share Their Initials Ideas for Research Questions

 
Surfacing Assumptions

 
Task 3.2: Surfacing Assumptions

 
Reflective Questions

 
Section 2: Informal and Formal Reviews of Literature

 
Task 3.3: The Mini "Lit Review"

 
Reflective Questions

 
Section 3: A Brief Overview of the Basic Research Methods

 
Qualitative Methods

 
Quantitative Methods

 
Reflective Practice

 
Task 3.4: Reflective Journal Practice

 
Conclusion

 
 
4. Qualitative Data Collection
How Is Qualitative Evidence Useful?

 
What Makes Qualitative Evidence Difficult?

 
Reflective Questions

 
Section 1: Qualitative Data Collection Methods

 
Data Collected Directly in Words From People: Interviews and Focus Groups

 
Data Collected Through a Process of Change: Reflective Data/Field Notes/Anecdotal Accounts

 
Data Collected During the Event(s) Being Studied: Observations/Student Work/Logs

 
Task 4.1: Collecting a Variety of Qualitative Data

 
Reflective Questions

 
Section 2: Maximum Success and Rigor

 
Managing Time and Resources

 
How to Make It More Rigorous

 
Introduction to Mixed Methodology

 
Task 4.2: Data-Planning Matrix

 
Conclusion

 
 
5. Qualitative Analysis
Reflective Questions

 
Section 1: Stages in Analyzing Qualitative Evidence

 
Graphic Organizers

 
Codes

 
Memos

 
Families

 
Triangulation

 
Rubrics and Multiple Observers

 
Similarities and Differences

 
Reflective Questions

 
Section 2: Validity, Credibility, and Reliability in the Analysis of Qualitative Data

 
Task 5.1: Practice Analysis of Data

 
Conclusion

 
 
6. Quantitative Evidence
Data Found in Schools

 
Standardized Tests

 
Reflective Questions

 
Section 1: Questions Answered by Quantitative and Mixed Methods Evidence

 
Observations and Time Studies

 
Surveys or Questionnaires

 
Descriptive Statistics

 
Variance and Correlation

 
Complex Questions

 
Reflective Questions

 
Section 2: Quantitative Data Collection

 
Observations

 
Questionnaires or Surveys

 
Samples

 
Time Series

 
Reflective Questions

 
Section 3: Analysis and Statistical Information

 
Descriptive Analysis

 
Frequencies

 
Survey Analysis

 
Percentages and Mean

 
Standard Deviation

 
The t-Test

 
Correlation

 
Reporting Results

 
Task 6.1: Preliminary Quantitative Analysis

 
Conclusion

 
 
7. Taking and Measuring Action
Reflective Questions

 
Section 1: How to Know What Actions to Take

 
Three Continuums of Action

 
The Continuum of Actions From Emancipatory to Professional Development

 
The Continuum From the Individual to the Organizational

 
Examples of PAR to Foster School Improvement

 
Teachers or Support Staff in a Classroom or Whole-School Setting

 
Principals

 
Whole Schools or School Districts

 
Reflective Question

 
Section 2: Efforts at Change

 
The Challenge of Inertia

 
Defensive Behaviors

 
Task 7.1: Analyzing Force Fields and Defensive Behaviors

 
Reflective Questions

 
Section 3: Measurement

 
Formative Evaluation

 
Focus and Responsiveness

 
Determining Variables With Which to Measure Short-Term Outcomes

 
Measuring Outcome Steps

 
Conclusion

 
 
8. Cycles of PAR: The Power of the Iterative Process
Reflective Questions

 
Section 1: Messy Cycles

 
Reflective Questions

 
Section 2: Iterative Growth

 
Diagnosis

 
Action

 
Measurement

 
Reflection

 
Time Line and Group Process for Significant Success

 
Task 8.1: Using the Forward Planner

 
Reflective Questions

 
Section 3: Theoretical Understanding Bolsters Action and Visa Versa

 
Conclusion

 
 
9. Final Analysis and Results
Alchemy

 
Reasoning and Writing

 
Standards for the Final Analysis

 
Reflective Questions

 
Section 1: Validity

 
My "Real" World--or Yours?

 
Theory Building and Testing

 
Reporting the Analysis Process to Others

 
Task 9.1: Building a Preliminary Report on the Analysis Process for Others

 
Reflective Questions

 
Section 2: Credible Interpretation

 
Graphic Organizers

 
Compelling Arguments

 
Disclaimers

 
Reflective Questions

 
Section 3: Reliability

 
Fallacy

 
Reflective Questions

 
Section 4: Passionate Conclusions

 
Task 9.2: One Sentence and Three Words

 
Conclusion

 
 
10. The Final Report
Reflective Questions

 
Section 1: The Formal Report

 
The Formal Academic Report

 
Reflective Questions

 
Section 2: The Formal Presentation

 
Prior to Beginning

 
Constraints

 
Openings and Closings

 
Content and How to Present It

 
Reflective Questions

 
Section 3: The Informal Individual Report

 
Reflective Questions

 
Section 4: The Community Report

 
Conclusion

 
 
11. PAR for Educational Leadership
Reflective Questions

 
Section 1: A Creative Tool in Environments of Chaos and Complexity

 
Counteracting Educator Mobility

 
Inclusion: Both/And Rather Than Either/Or

 
The Need for Flexibility

 
Prediction: The Study of Outliers

 
Feedback Loops

 
Reflective Questions

 
Section 2: A Tool for Adaptive Leadership

 
Creating a Holding Environment

 
Avoiding Implementation Failure

 
Reflective Questions

 
Section 3: PAR and Educational Reform Efforts

 
Professional Learning Communities and Communities of Practice

 
What Is Required?

 
The Development of an Inclusive Leadership Structure

 
Conclusion

 
 
Glossary
 
References
 
Index
 
About the Authors
Key features
 
  • Clear process through both the PAR steps employing a research logic model throughout. This benefits the graduate student or educational leader by leading them to data driven outcomes that are valid, credible and reliable
  • Graphic elements guide the reader through the process and aid the visual learner in keeping track of the concepts behind the theory.
  • Reflective questions precede each section. This increases the reflective practices and routines of the reader as appropriate to the PAR process.
  • Tasks, written for both groups and individuals, aid participatory teams in working towards consensus and strong research designs
  • Practitioner stories make the lessons real and ease the emotional unease that come from tackling research practices the first time.
 

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