Educational Research

  • Systematic series of steps to conduct the investigation

  • Observed by a researcher who is removed from the study

  • Link research to relevant theory

  • Builds in previous research or well-known theory

  • Replicable and generalizable across studies

  • research to prove the statement wrong or adding to confirm the statement

  • Linear, research does not have to continue after answer is reached

Traditional Research

  • The observer is part of the study, can be to improve their study

  • Education-based - conducted by teachers and administrators 

  • Connecting theory to practice

  • Cyclical - after completion, the study can continue to further research

  • Crucial step - reflection to improve practice

  • Improves education performance by incorporating change

Action Research

Traditional Research Process

Initial questions, problem, idea, or issue

Review of literature

Specific purpose, question, or hypothesis

What data are collected, from whom, how

Analysis of data

Discussion and interpretation

Answers to research questions, limitations, and implications


Source of data



Image Content Credit: McMillian, 2016

Action Research Process

While conducting Action Research, the research must follow a four-stage process that includes nine specific steps that serve as guidelines when conducting the research. With this cyclical process, after conducting and reflecting the research, it opens to the door to continue the process again with new findings. 

Image Content Credit: Mertler, 2017

Nine Specific Steps for Action Research:

  1. Identifying and limiting the topic

  2. Gathering Information

  3. Reviewing the related literature

  4. Developing a research plan

  5. Implementing the plan and collecting data

  6. Analyzing the data

  7. Developing an action plan

  8. Sharing and communicating the results

  9. Reflecting on the process

Planning Stage
Acting Stage
Developing Stage
Reflecting Stage


Mertler, C. A. (2017). Action research: improving schools and empowering educators. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, Inc.

McMillan, J. H. (2016). Fundamentals of Educational Research. Boston: Pearson.

© 2019 by Joeleen Monclova. Proudly created with