Portland State University
Summer  2004
Graduate School of Education

CI 560: Action Research CRN#: 82788

Instructor: Dannelle D. Stevens, Ph.D.

Office: 602F Education Building

Contact Information: 503-725-4679, stevensd@pdx.edu

Office Hours: Thursdays- 9:00- Noon (1st 4 weeks of summer term), Call 503-725-4619 for an appointment

Students needing an accommodation pursuant to federal, state or institutional education regulations should immediately inform the course instructor. Students with conditions affecting their abilities will be referred to The Office of Disability Services (503-725-4005) to document their disability. That office will provide appropriate support and services.

PSU Graduate School of Education Guiding Principles

1.    We create and sustain educational environments that serve all students and address diverse needs.

2.    We encourage and model exemplary programs and practices across the life span.

3.    We challenge assumptions about our practice and accept the risks inherent in following our convictions.

4.    We develop programs to promote social justice, especially for groups that have been historically disenfranchised.

5.    We strive to understand the relationships among culture, curriculum, practice and the long-term implications for ecological sustainability.

6.   We model thoughtful inquiry as a basis for sound decision-making.

Catalog course description:

Designed to help educators see themselves as researchers, in order that they may conduct research in educational settings that contribute to the improvement of education.  Research questions and methods appropriate for practicing educators will be covered.


Action research is systematic inquiry into classroom and school practices designed to improve those practices.  First, classroom educators reflect on issues, problems or curiosities in their practice.  Next, they investigate the nature of the problem or curiosity.  Finally, they make action plans to improve the situation.  A side benefit of the class is that the educators will share the wealth of what they have learned with others.  Thus, the action research cycle is a self-reflective, systematic, data-driven and accountable process by which to improve teaching and learning .  John Dewey (1904) reminds us

            Learning to teach well requires being conscientious students of our own practice.

The purpose of this course is to help educators in designing a project that studies one aspect of their own practice.  In CI 560 you will design and plan your action research project.  In CI 501, you will implement the plans you have made in this class and write up a final report.

Required materials

            Mills, G. E. (2003).  Action Research: A Guide for the Teacher Researcher.  Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill Prentice Hall.

A blank book for a journal (you may continue to use a journal from another class, if you wish.)

CI 560-Action Research, Summer 2004, CRN #:82788

Class/ Date


Assignments Due

Chapters to be read

1. June 25

Action Research-A DEFINITION

Developing & writing "The Problem Statement"

Developing & deciding on the "Methods"

Using a journal to develop your proposal

Writing & the Action Research Proposal

(Download Action Research Problem Statment Rubric. Freewriting, focused writing & action research..)

Dividing into groups for methods presentations


2. July 2

Using research literature

APA format
   (View a resource on the APA format )

Go to library, browse stacks and journals

Writing an abstract for a research article

Writing a literature review

Methods Presentations





Problem Statement &

(download Problem Statment Rubric)

Methods Section

(download Group Methods Rubric)

Bring in one article from the library or internet about your topic

Read in Mills,



3. July 9

Feedback on problem statement & methods

Methods Presentations




Draft Literature Review

(download Lit Review Rubric)

 (Returned Monday, July 12 for inclusion in final paper)

Read in Mills,



4. July 16

Creative Expressions

Final Proposal Presentations

Next steps

     Data collection

     Data analysis

Final full proposal due

(download Full Proposal Rubric)

Creative Expression due

(download the Creative Expression Rubric)


** Class #1- Friday, June 25
Due to a family emergency, there will be no class on campus today.  The class assignments and activities will be on-line at www.dannellestevens.com under CI:560- Action Research Summer 2004. The remainder of the classes will be on campus as scheduled.

Due to the fact that we will miss one whole day of classes, during Class #2, I will schedule small group meetings for the week of July 6, to answer questions and help people develop their projects further.   I am sorry for the inconvenience.


1. Problem Statement (Download) 10 pts.

2. Literature Review (Download) 15 pts.

       Share one article and write an abstract about it  (Download) 5 pts.

3. Group Methodology Presentation (Download) 15 pts.

                 Case Study, Interview, Survey, Draw-a-Scientist,

                 Focus Groups, Observation, Concept maps

4. Individual Methods (Download) 15 pts.

5. Final Proposal-all the pieces together (Download) 30 pts.

   Problem Identification, Literature Review, Individual Methods

6. Journal- each student will keep a professional/personal journal. (Download) 5 pts.

  Turn in your Table of Contents and copy of one significant entry at the end of the term.

7. Creative response activity (Download) 10 pts.

                       Individual or group response


Total Points            100 pts.