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Action Research Question – A Weak Question Is Not ‘Learning By Action’!

Do you have to use action research for your thesis or dissertation but you don’t know what that is? Want to know what an action research question is or how to recognize a weak one?Then you’ve come to the right place! But before we find out how to recognize a weak action question, let’s see what an action research is?

Action research is a problem that allows practical inquiry or implementation to reach a conclusion of the problem. It can also be called an experiment in design where the purpose is to implement an action to study its consequences.

In simple words, action research can be called ‘learning by doing’.

Why is a good action question necessary?

The importance of research question composed well cannot be emphasized enough. It is very important to formulate a good action study question as it gives a central focus to your entire research paper and tells you what action you must take for the solution of the problem. To explain it more elaborately, the research process is like taking a hike on an unknown path. You need to make a road map so that you don’t get lost on the way. A good action question is like that road map.

So how can you recognize a weak action study question from a good one?

It is a weak action question when

  1. When the answer to the question does not allow practical experiment
    The difference of action research from other research questions is that it allows practical implementation for the outcome of the issue. If the answer to the question does not allow any experimental design and is only conducted to prove a point to others then it is a weak action study question.

    The difference of action research from other research questions is that it allows practical implementation for the outcome of the issue. If the answer to the question does not allow any experimental design and is only conducted to prove a point to others then it is a weak action study question.

For example

If a school holds quarterly student events and wants to study parental participation in the events then a weak action statement can be:

Will holding student events make an impact on parental participation?

This is a weak action question as it does not allow any change in experimental design to study the proposed question. This might be a good example of other research types but not for experimental research.

  1. When the questions can be answered in yes or no
    Questions that can be answered in yes or no provide no direction to the experimental study which is why they tend to be weak action questions. Instead, compose questions in a way that they cannot be simply answered in yes or no..

For example

Will increasing student assignments encourage more study hours resulting in higher grades?

This is an incorrect question. A better question can be:

How will increasing student assignment encourage more study hours resulting in higher grades?

  1. When they use words like ‘meaningful’ or ‘thoughtful’ or jargons as they can be interpreted in many different ways
    Formal research questions need to be consistent in their interpretation for all. Words like ‘meaningful’ and ‘thoughtful’ or using jargons are subjective which can mean one thing for one person and other thing for other. Using such words in your action question makes it weak and illogical.

In a nutshell, the main goal of action research is continuous learning through progressive problem solving study where the researcher tries to get a deeper understanding of issues through practice on a theoretical problem. Becausea research question is the focal point of the study, therefore it is very important to develop it with effectiveness.

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