Tutorial 11: Writing Your Report
Tutorial 11: Resources for Writing
Your Action Research Report
A. Learning From Others
Reading Examples of Action Research Reports from university programs will help you think about the many ways in which people have organized their writing about their action research. It is an effective way to get past writer's block. You have done the work; now you need to share your story in the most compelling way you can. Read a few examples from different universities and see what style seems right for your audience.
Center for Collaborative Action Research, Pepperdine University
The Center has collected Action Research Portfolios that serve as useful models. The model portfolios are categorized into two groups: School Action Research for projects that help improve instructional practices and Community Action Research for projects in University, Corporate, and other Community settings.
Center for Practitioner Research at National Louis University
Their online journal features original practitioner research studies, theoretical articles about practitioner research, descriptions of practitioner research centers and book reviews.- Inquiry in Education Journal
Educational Journal of Living Theories
Many - Action Research Projects and a range of studies published in the journal
Moravian College, Bethlehem, PA
Many examples of - Moravian Action Research Projects some of which focus on the improvement in the arts
Social Publishers Foundation is a non-profit organization and supports the publishing of action research reports.
Washington State University, Vancouver
Wisdom of Practice: An online journal of (freely accessed)
B. Using Templates and Rubrics to Guide the Writing
In the activities, we have provided a template to help you write your action research report. There are many other templates to help you use a particular style to write your report. Journals or magazines will also have advice as to how they want submissions to their publications to be formatted. If your school or editor suggests that you use the American Psychological Association (APA) style, you will find that Purdue University's Online Writing Lab (OWL) will have the best information. Here is their template annotated so you can understand the conventions they suggest.
Reading through a writing rubric can help you think through the process of writing. Writing one as a group will help you think through the process of doing action research and can be a great exercise before you engage in writing. We include some rubrics here to provide ideas but it is best if you develop your own as a group.
We have developed this web portfolio rubric to evaluate the action research e-portfolios and/or papers. We use a shorter scoring rubric for evaluating the e-portfolio and a presentation. You are welcome to use this to develop your own document.
If you are working in a group, it is great to have each of you use the scoring sheet to give feedback to your peers on their e-portfolios and their practice presentations.
C. Developing an Online Portfolio of Action Research
Some of you will choose to share your ideas and work over the internet in e-portfolios. Your work might be linked to the university, school, district, state or global networks. To publish your work in this way you will need to make use of color, design and multimedia material. There are many online journals for publishing action research. You might want to consider publishing your work on the Social Publishing Foundation.
For developing your website, here are some considerations:
1) Opening "splash" or home page: This page should present the major topic or problem of your action research and yourself as the action researcher. "My Action Research Project" is not a very descriptive title and something like "Seeing Below the Surface: Using video and peer feedback to improve coaching" is more informative. Your name and links to more information about you are important to include on the page. The page should be graphically clear with images that communicate clearly about the nature of the problem you are exploring. The use of an appropriate metaphor (pieces of a puzzle, seasonal changes, transportation, lenses, magnification) can often help communicate your ideas in an engaging way. A video of you giving a short overview of your project (the elevator pitch) might invite your readers to continue exploring.
2) The site should have a very clear navigation bar that helps the reader find the different parts of your work. These should be clear on every page so that the reader does not get lost in exploring your work. Suggested tabs and pull-down menus might look like this:
3) Pay attention to color and design. You don't want to use so much vibrant colors and images that you lose the sense of your work. On the other hand, you do not want to waste the potential of the web by only posting text.
Technology Help: Web Journals (blogs) and Portfolios and Wikis (quick websites)
wiki.com (not a blogging platform but good for web creation for e-portfolios)
Good sites for website creation and blogging weebly.com -
Google Sites for wiki-web sites that can integrate all of the many google suites of applications
Site builder is another website editor that many find useful.
This web sites was created using the Wix editor
Choosing a color scheme
http://kuler.adobe.com (quick access to popular color schemes based on topics)
http://colorschemedesigner.com/ (create a color scheme and see it in action)
http://www.pictaculous.com/ (use your logo to get the right color scheme)
D. Developing your Conference Presentation
Some of you might chose the conference format for sharing your action research with peers. In this format you will be given an amount of time and you will need to carefully consider what you can include in the time frame. You will want to make sure you give enough time for each part of your talk. You don't want to spend all your time telling stories about what happened and not get to your analysis of data or reflections on change.
Here is a guide for the amount of time on each of the elements.
If you have a 10 minute talk, then 10% would be 1 minute.
10% - Opening-- Introducing the problem and why you care about it.
20% - Setting the Background (what you learned from reading and from what you know about the setting)
10% - Your Action Research Approach and plan
40% - Reporting on your Iterative Process (cycles of research)
20% - Overall Reflections on learning
E. Publishing Articles on Action Research
If you plan to submit your writing to a journal you will need to match your work to their format. If you are writing a report to share with colleagues, you have more flexibility in the way you describe your work. We include a listing of journals that accept action research reports.
F. Exhibitions of Teacher (and student) Learning
Watch an example of an exhibition of action research: 5th Annual Action Research with Technology Conference which was held on June 18 & 19 2013. The session has been video streamed. You will see keynote discussions and the presentations of four learning circles. This is posted to provide a model for organizing a university conference.
Making Learning Visible provides resources and tools to support learning in groups in the classroom and schools. The tools are mostly intended for teachers, professional development designers and coaches, and administrators. Almost all of the tools emphasize greater intentionality combined with careful looking and listening. The site includes five kinds of tools and resources:
Supporting Learning in Groups in the Classroom includes practical tools with suggestions for creating learning groups at the beginning of the school year, forming study groups in classrooms, and promoting a culture of dialogue. provides tools for forming adult study groups, hands-on activities for adults to explore learning groups and documentation for themselves, and conversation structures for discussing and reflecting on student learning.
Supporting Learning in Groups in the Staffroom provides tools for forming adult study groups, hands-on activities for adults to explore learning groups and documentation for themselves, and conversation structures for discussing and reflecting on student learning.
Documenting Individual and Group Learning includes resources for understanding, creating, and sharing documentation with students and colleagues. Some tools will help you think through the purpose of your documentation; others provide guidelines for gathering or sharing documentation via video, computer, photographs, or powerpoint.
Engaging Families in Supporting Student Learning offers resources to inform families about visible learning, involve families in supporting their children’s learning, and communicate with families about learning. Tools range from a refrigerator reminder to guidelines for parents interested in forming their own study group.
Making Learning Visible beyond the Classroom provides tools and templates for creating bulletin boards, documentation panels, visual essays, and school-wide exhibitions that make learning and learners visible, with examples from preschool-high school.