Program Improvement through Action Research

Authored by: Drucie Weirauch

Handbook of Family Literacy

Print publication date:  April  2012
Online publication date:  August  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415884570
eBook ISBN: 9780203841495
Adobe ISBN: 9781136899126


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Over the years, most evaluation or research studies of family literacy services have been conducted by individuals who are not part of family literacy staff but rather are external evaluators or researchers, based on the assumption that these outside researchers obtain information that is more objective than what staff inside the organization might obtain. Less often has research involved practitioners directly, though doing so is a recognized method of collecting data to use in ongoing program improvement efforts (Carr & Kemmis, 1986; Quigley, 1997b, Quigley & Norton, 2002; Schön, 1983; Stringer, 2007). Indeed, when practitioners engage in research, they typically do so because they want to find a way to do their work better (Sagor, 1992). This chapter presents a brief history of practitioner research and the model, action research (Quigley, 1995), which is an established and well-known systematic, intentional model for teacher and program improvement and one that the author used with family literacy programs in Pennsylvania. The chapter also provides results from field action research and describes the impact of action research on program improvement and professional development.

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