Action Research Plan

Action Research Design Outline

In thinking about our action research plan, Ryan, Erin, and I used a chart to plan things out. There were a few key questions we needed to address before begining our literature review. This planning stage will help to narrow our focus moving forward.

Action Research Design Outline

What is the topic of your action research? Dr. Helen Barrett (2004) references The Learning Cycle from Dewey, Piaget, and Lewin which recognizes reflection as a key component for deep learning along with experience, abstraction, and active testing. This deep learning is exactly what we hope to instill within our students through the implementation of ePortfolios. Our deep learning goal is to use ePortfolios to help students become independent, intrinsically motivated learners, so focusing our action research on reflective learning in ePortfolios seems like the perfect topic to consider.
What is the purpose of your study? When we began this program and were asked to choose a topic for our innovation plan, we immediately agreed on ePortfolios because our current portfolio system is ineffective and restrictive.  We created a video promoting our idea that accurately reflects the students’ opinions of the value of our current system. These students, mostly 12th graders, were both unaware that they had portfolios and uninterested in looking at or reflecting on their previous work. This reaction and disconnect helped us determine the purpose of our study: to find out if implementing reflection within ePortfolios will positively impact 12th grade engagement.
What is your fundamental research question?


Our fundamental research question is: What impact will the reflective learning process in ePortfolios have on student engagement in 12th grade college prep English classes? This question will be researched using the twelfth graders that we’re piloting our ePortfolio initiative with right now to find out if, as they create content and reflect on their learning, there is a positive impact on engagement. This question addresses a realistic classroom issue, is of interest to us, and is important for a variety of reasons, such as gaining and sustaining stakeholder support (Mertler, 2016, p. 67).
What is the most appropriate type of data to collect? What is your research design? Qualitative, quantitative both (mixed-methods) Why?



The most appropriate type of data for us to collect is qualitative data. We decided to use a qualitative approach because our research question is open ended, broad, holistic, and open for interpretation (Mertler, 2016, p. 73).  Because the data will be collected in our classrooms, over a defined period of time, by the three of us who are implementing ePortfolios in our twelfth grade classrooms, it is best to follow the case study design (Mertler, 2016, p. 79). Qualitative research using the case study design will allow us conduct the best in depth analysis of the ePortfolio initiative at Owen J. Roberts High School.
What types of measurement instruments will you use?



In our classrooms, it will be extremely important to collect the most relevant data. We plan to primarily use four major kinds of data: surveys, interviews, observation, readily available data (reflections and artifacts) (Ferrance, 2000, p.11). We have chosen these data types because they will be the most useful to us for immediate feedback and response time. When surveying students, we will do both anonymous and named polls so that students can feel the flexibility to be honest and so that we have the most objective feedback. However, it might be important to know the name of the responder so that we can compare their feedback to their specific portfolios. As the teachers who will be implementing the ePortfolios in class, our observations, as well as the reflections and artifacts from the students will be equally important in analyzing the effectiveness of our process.


What is the focus of your literature review?






Our literature is going to focus on ePortfolios. We have outlined our themes and subtopics below. We used the design template to help develop the outline below.

Theme: Reflective learning

  • Subtopic: The impact reflective learning has on engagement

Theme: Artifacts

  • Subtopic: The impact of compiling learning artifacts

Theme: Components and uses

  • Subtopic: The impact of self-guided learning              and inquiry

These themes and subtopics may have to change based on the information we are able to find in our resources. If we need to make changes, we will be sure to update this action research plan outline.



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