Action Research Project Overview

The non-portfolio or non-internship action research projectinvolves actively researching a current technological problem or issue.  The problem or issue can be internal or external to a business; however, the research requires fieldwork.  This project’s duration must be at least eight weeks (four, two-week iterations of at least 40 hours of activity per iteration).

Introduction Overview

The introduction, as the minimum, is one to twopages long and should not have an APA heading.  The introduction must include:

  • A brief history/background of the business if the problem involves a business or the background support for your technological problem or issue if the problem does not involve a business
  • A discussion about the circumstances of the situation that you plan to improve or change
    • You may want to discuss, ‘what is wrong or deficient…and why you think making changes will result in improvements.Include why the improvement is of value to you (the stakeholder)
  • Refer to the assignment on Blackboard for additional assignment criteria

Methodology

The methodology section of the paper, as a minimum, is two to three pages long.  Essentially, this section is a mini-research paper defining and explaining theAction Research (AR) Methodology including its application to technology research.

The methodology paper must include:

  • Five (5) professional(subject matter experts) or scholarly references
  • A discussion about the history of AR and application/uses along with its applicability to researching technology issues
  • A transitional paragraph at the end of the section describing how AR is an appropriate methodology for the research you are doing
  • Refer to the assignment on Blackboard for additional assignment criteria

Literature Review

A literature review is a research paper about your topic. This section, as the minimum, isthree to four pages long using a themed (topic sections) presentation approach with as much detail as possible.  Depending on your topic, specific examples or literary support may be difficult to find.  You may need to use a surrogate (somewhat related) topic in order to complete the literature review.  For example, improving the ‘needs assessment’ process in organization XYZ may not yield research results, so you will need to generalize the topic.  Generalizing the topic could may require examining research on the value of need assessments, the processes associated with needs assessment, or how to a conduct needs assessment.

The literature review section/paper must include:

  • At least eight (8) professional (subject matter expert) and/or scholarly references
  • Refer to the assignment on Blackboard for additional assignment criteria

Proposal

The proposal sectioncontains a high-level overview of your project as laid out in a minimum of four iterations. Each iteration should represent approximately two weeks, with a minimum of 40 hours of activity in each iteration.

Do not try to layout your full plan at this point, keep this to one or two paragraphs for each iteration description.  At this point, you should focus on the big picture.

Hypothetical situation…Let’s say your proposal deals with improving the ‘needs assessment’ process in organization XYZ.  You know the process is weak and requires improvement, but do not know what the weak points are or how to correct them.You assume you will need the following iterations:

Iteration 1

In iteration 1, you anticipate two or three brainstorming sessions with representatives from each of the three divisions with each session last a maximum of two hours.  The session discussions will include identifying current process flow, a gap analysis, gathering process requirements, and communication flow.  In addition, the iteration will include compiling, analyzing, and reporting the results of each brainstorming session.  At this point you can go into a little more detail but not too much…keep this statement to one or two paragraphs.

Remember, this is an example and one meeting is not sufficient for an iteration.

Iteration 2

You expect there will be several one-hour follow up session with each of the division representatives to discuss the outcome of the brainstorming session, clarify information, and gather more detail about their division’s requirements.  Again keep this to one or two paragraphs, I encourage you to focus on the big picture.

Remember, this is an example and one meeting is not sufficient for an iteration.

Iteration 3

This iteration will be a two-hour follow-up meeting with the three division representatives to discuss identified common requirements, possible integration of requirements, and discussion of how unique requirements will be managed at the division level.  The researcher will manage common and integrated requirements, and the appropriate division must manage unique requirements.  At the conclusion of this meeting, the division representatives will be tasked with formulating a solution for all unique requirements.

Remember, this is an example and one meeting is not sufficient for an iteration.

Iteration 4

You need to fully analyze the feedback concerning the requirements from each of the divisions.  Then, document a final process to collect ‘needs’ from each of the divisions,

Remember, this is an example and one meeting is not sufficient for an iteration.

Iteration 5

A final two-hour meeting is needed to present the new process.  Copies of the new process will be provided to each division.

Remember, this is an example and one meeting is not sufficient for an iteration.

A figure, see Figure 1, showing at least four iterations of your Action Research project’s flow must appear at the end of your proposal.  The figure shown here should be used as a template for the information needed in the figure.  Remember to revise the information in each of the Iteration number blocks!

Figure 1.Iteration flow diagram

Action Research Project Overview

Iteration 1–(Your Title Here)

Plan

The plan section, as a minimum, is one page long, must describe all YOURplanned activities needed to accomplish your first iteration, and must represent approximately two weeks, or a minimum of 40 hours, of activity.  THE PLAN HAS TO BE WRITTEN BEFORE ANY ACTION TAKES PLACE!!!

The plan must include:

  • Description of each anticipated task for the iteration
  • Description of the resources needed to accomplish each task
  • Identification of people involved in each task
  • The anticipated duration of each task
  • The expected result or results from each task

Answering all the typical questions of Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How for each task in the plan will provide a good foundation for an effective plan.  For example, you are planning meetings; who should be invited and why, what topic(s) will be discussed, what is the purpose of the meeting or what do you intend to achieve, where is the meeting’s location, when is the meeting, and why is this meeting important.  Moreover, what are the expected results from the meeting and how do you intend on achieving the results.

If you develop an agenda for the meeting, either the agenda or the contents of the agenda would normally be included as part of the plan.

            Suggestion: Take extra time in developing a detailed Plan following the SMART Methodology, if you list five items in your plan, and then you carry those five elements into each activity for comments.  For example, in the Plan you say  ‘you plan on completing internet research’, then in the Action – you discuss the internet research, in the Outcomes – you list any specific outcomes or analysis resulting from the internet research, and then in the Reflections -you reflect on what you learned as a result of the internet research.  The plan sets the stage for the entire iteration.

THIS IS THE PLAN!!!

Action

The action section, as the minimum, is one page long and must represent approximately two weeks, or a minimum of 40 hours, of activity.

This section must describe theactivities that actually took place during the iteration, but most importantly, the section must describe YOUR actions/activities during the iteration. For example, your actions included a brainstorming session; who attended (and who did not), was the agenda followed, were there additional items for discussion added, or did the agenda take the meeting in a different direction and what was the duration of the meeting.  In some instances, this may be very similar to the meeting minutes.

Contact reporting.

Any action(s) involving personal communications (e.g., an informal meeting, a hallway discussion or conversation, a telephone call, text message, etc.) used as part of your research requires documentation of the participants.  This means you must provide the first and last name, email address, phone number, address, and the employer’s name of each person involved in the personal communication.  See Appendix A for the contact reporting form.  Failure to disclose any or all the contact information may result in your inability to use the personal communication as part of your action research.

Observation

This section, as the minimum, is one page long and must represent approximately two weeks, or a minimum of 40 hours, of activity

Observations mustinclude the analysis and outcomes or results of all actions/activities in the iteration with a focus on the analysis and outcomes or results from YOUR actions/activities.  For example, your brainstorming session included documenting the information presented by each participant (the action).  The observation or outcome from this action would be providing a list of all the brainstorming results or latent feedback from each participant.  Additionally, you should include any analysis that would occur because of the brainstorming.

Reflection

The reflection section, as a minimum, is one page long and must represent approximately two weeks, or a minimum of 40 hours, of activity.

This section is the most important section of your action research paper.  The iteration’s reflection section must:

  • Examine what went well
  • Examinewhat did not go well
  • Explain what actions/processes could be improved
  • Provide a self-critique yourself as well as the processes you are applying
  • Provide a critique of processes you applied during the iteration
  • Identifyany restrictions, limitations, and risks associated with the iteration and task accomplishment
    • For example, if one of the key participant was not available to attend the brainstorming session, you may want to think about how you will meet and gather information from that person (especially if the information is important to the process)

Iteration 2–(Your Title Here)

Hypothetical example – one on one interview sessions

The Plan would address the – who, what, where, when, why, and how regarding all three of the divisions.  Since you would be interviewing three different division representatives, you would create one plan, but have three actions, three observations and possibly three reflections (or one reflection that addresses thoughts about each of the interviews).  So it may look like:

Plan

The plan may include a one page description of the division representatives (may want to include specific influence), anticipated questions or dialogue, as well as justification why along with the meeting schedule (where, when, how long)

Action

The action section could include a page detailing the interview of each representative (e.g., one page with the interview of the Operations representative, one page of the interview with the Data/Telecom representative, and one page with the interview of the HR representative)

Observation

The observation section could include a page detailing the interview of each representative (e.g., one page with the interview outcomes from the Operations representative, one page with the interview outcomes from the Data/Telecom representative, and one page with the interview outcomes from the HR representative)

Reflection

The reflection section should include your perspective of all three meetings:

  • Examine what went well
  • Examine what did not go well
  • Explain what actions/processes could be improved
  • Provide a self-critique yourself as well as the processes you are applying
  • Provide a critique of processes you applied during the iteration
  • Identify any restrictions, limitations, and risks associated with the iteration and task accomplishment

The Action Research Project requires completing at least four, two-week iterations or approximately 40 days of research.

Reflective Statement

The last component of your action research paper is a reflective learning statement encompassing your complete experience.  The statement must present two aspects of your research.  First, the statement must summarize your experiences during the process and, second, the statement must summarize your overall learning during the process.  Be sure to include any specific achievements.

References

Appendix A

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Figure A1.Contact Reporting Form

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