New Action Research Journal Provides Free Resource for Teachers and Education Professionals
By Robert Schroeder
What good is research if no one can apply it?
That is the challenge the Center for Practitioner Research at National Louis University set out to overcome with the creation of the journal i.e.: inquiry in education. The journal provides a worldwide perspective on action research available free-of-charge to teachers, teachers-in-training and education professionals around the globe.
"Unless a teacher is signed up for a course, they don't have access to library databases, and it's harder for them to search their materials out," said Dr. Linnea Rademaker, co-editor of the journal. "We wanted all practitioners to access it easily and of course freely."
Action research is a process of teachers thinking about a problem, determining a way to solve the problem, implementing the solution and analyzing the result. The goal is to collect data about which solutions are successful and which are not.
"Most teachers are taught to be reflective practitioners, but the action research formalizes that component," Rademaker said. "It allows you to advocate for yourself what you need in the classroom."
The journal published its second edition in December 2010. The project is cross-disciplinary, integrating multiple departments at the University. The journal provides a forum for action research practitioners to talk about their work, discuss the theories behind action research, generate conversation about the process of action research and focus on teaching action research to teachers.
The first two publications have featured the leading voices in educational action research. Ernie Stringer, the author of multiple books on action research and an education professional who has worked on three continents, wrote about the value of relationships in action research, while Jack Whitehead, the publishers of actionresearch.net and a professor at Liverpool Hope University in the United Kingdom, wrote about action research carrying forward hopes for the future of humanity.
"It has been really rewarding to read articles from practitioners and theorists all over the world," Rademaker said. "We have people telling us that they are using the journal in their classes as they are teaching new teachers about action research, which is thrilling."
National Louis University has long been a leader in action research-focused teacher preparation programs. Within the National College of Education, the Interdisciplinary Studies department contains programs devoted completely to action research, and all M.A.T. programs require an action research class. The journal is planning a themed edition to debut in spring 2012.
In the meantime, Rademaker says the publication's focus remains providing teachers and teachers in training with the best access to the cutting edge of action research.
"We'll keep providing it to teachers," Rademaker said. "I think we can all learn from each other, and I know other teachers would love to learn what others are doing."
Visit the journal's website.