Action Research for Educational Communications and Technology



Action research refers to the formalized, self-reflective research of practitioners. According to Cochran-Smith and Lytle (Inside and outside: Teacher research and knowledge. NY: Teachers College Press, 1993) action research is “systematic and intentional inquiry” (p. 7). It is often conducted collaboratively in research groups that meet in person or at a distance via communication technologies. Action research transforms the traditional “outside-in” relationship between practitioners and the educational community. It can provide a powerful means for bridging the divide between theory and practice and encouraging practitioners to engage in innovative practices. Action research includes a cyclical process of posing questions, collecting data, reflecting on findings, and reporting results. This chapter provides a comprehensive overview of action research and its history in the USA, Great Britain, and Australia. It also describes the epistemological and ontological differences between practical and critical action research. To inspire future action research in our field, we detail the action research method, including data collection and analysis techniques and provide example studies from the field of educational communications and technology. More specifically, we demonstrate the manner in which action research has already been used to better understand the impact of the integration of technology in classrooms and social settings. At the same time, we describe how action researchers have used educational communications and technology to conduct action research and to teach this research method through online or hybrid classes. Technology can be both the focus and part of the method of the action research.


Action research Participatory action research Technological pedagogical content knowledge 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Meghan McGlinn Manfra
    • 1
  • Daniel Kelvin Bullock
    • 2
  1. 1.North Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA
  2. 2.Durham Public Schools and North Carolina UniversityDurhamUSA

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