Action Research Process – Developing a Question

How to Create a Good Action Research Question

Questions to Think About

Significance: focuses on teaching practice and learning that will have an impact on student behavior or achievement of district, state and/or national standards

  • Will my effort make a significant difference for my students?

  • How important is this to me and to my professional concerns?

  • Am I interested in this situation in order to change and improve something?

  • Am I interested enough in this topic to sustain the effort to learn from a year-long investigation?

  • Does this go beyond the objectives of one lesson or unit?

Clarity: accurately conveys the focus and scope of the research
  • Can I simply and clearly explain this investigation to others?
  • When others read my goal/question will they be able to understand that what I am studying?

  • Can I identify the boundaries of this investigation – what it includes and excludes?

Measurability: the degree to which the behavior of interest is observable and data can be collected to assess change… ability to describe results to judge if current efforts are sufficient, yield better outcomes than whatever was being done previously, and/or are worth student and teacher time

  • What would I see/hear that would give me data about progress toward the learning outcome of interest?

  • In what ways could I keep track of results?


Manageability: consideration of the time constraints of the researcher and the viability of sustaining a long- term investigation

  • Will this involve doing things that I have to or want to do anyway?

  • Do I have the time to cope with this?

  • Is it possible to build research activities for this investigation directly into my daily/weekly teaching?

  • Are there too many preparatory tasks before I can start this investigation?

Experience-Based: grows out of teacher’s daily work, reflections and questions

  • To what extent is this compatible with my everyday work and not an added project?

  • In what way does this grow out of my experience with students?

  • What have I observed that makes me feel that this is important to study?

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