Action research places a powerful tool for school improvement in the hands of teachers. By highlighting the outcomes that are possible and presenting clear steps in the research process, this book is one to encourage anyone who is seeking to implement evidence-based school improvement.
Eileen Piggot-Irvine uses her Problem Resolving Action Research (PRAR) model to demonstrate the effectiveness of this structured but flexible approach to action research. Its strength is a clear sequence of stages or cycles which give the structure. Within this, flexibility is also possible if the potential for “spin-offs” occurs from the findings.
The theory section describes the features which characterise the PRAR model. It is iterative, experiential, context specific and developmental. It emphasises change and transformation along with evidence- or data-based decision making; encourages reflection and narrows the theory–practice gap.
The teacher-written case studies report on action research as a process which incorporates these features. These real-life studies are valuable not only for the way in which they illustrate action research methodology but also for their content, which includes little-researched areas such as listening skills; supporting teacher aides; facilitating dialogue; and working with children with severe learning disorders. The studies indicate the adaptability of the approach across primary, secondary and tertiary sectors.
A “must” for all schools undertaking their own research.