The purpose of action research is to gather information in an attempt to solve a problem or make an improvement, which may have been highlighted as a result of self-evaluation or student feedback. While this is the core purpose, the motivations may be different, the motivation may be sincere and the goal to be improvement of student education, behaviour or morale, alternatively the motivation could be disingenuous, including aspects such as increasing chances of promotion, making teaching easier or promoting one’s own agenda.
Within education “action research supports practitioners to seek ways in which they can provide good quality education by transforming the quality of teaching related activities, thereby enhancing students’ learning.” (Koshy, 2010, p. 1)
The aim of action research is to be able to answer a question/hypothesis, such as will allowing mobile phone use within lessons increase the levels of referencing within assignments? Experienced teachers will be able to provide large quantities of anecdotal evidence, including aspects such as levels of engagement decreases and behaviour worsens, however, without performing an action research project, the question remains unanswered in any reliable form.
Koshy, V. (2010). Action Research for Improving Educational Practice: A Step-By-Step Guide. London: SAGE Publications Ltd.