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In this course, you are embarking on an exciting journey into action research. To begin you need to identify and describe the general idea that will be your area of focus. No matter what your current or future role is in early childhood education, action research is a framework you can use to take action to create positive change for young children. If you are a teacher, you may be interested in improving behavior or learning in your classroom. If you are the director of a childcare center, you may be interested in determining effective professional development models for your staff and teachers to improve family and community involvement. If you are a regional administrator for a childcare center or preschool, you may be interested in which centers or classrooms are most effectively differentiating learning experiences for children with disabilities. If you are a home daycare owner, you may be interested in finding ways to improve indoor and outdoor environments to foster play and creativity in young children in your care. Depending on your current or future role in early childhood education, you could focus on working with young children, families of young children, or Early Childhood Education (ECE) teachers/staff. These are all examples of how action research could make a positive difference in any setting or organization to support learning and developmentally appropriate practices for young children. The opportunities for making a positive difference in any ECE role are endless.
Your idea should be directly related to a situation that you would like to change or improve upon in your own classroom or organization. If you are currently not working in an early childhood education setting, you may use a contrived situation based on previous experience, articles you have read, or challenges you are aware of in the field that align with your career goals and interests. You may also draw inspiration from resources or articles that you have read or learned from in your previous MAECEL courses, your bachelor’s degree program, or in your professional studies and experiences. If you have other ideas for a population to work with, be sure to contact your instructor to get feedback and advice. Your area of focus should involve teaching and/or learning in early childhood education, be within your locus of control, be something you are passionate about, and be something you would like to change or improve. In this discussion, you will generate your preliminary ideas for your area of focus and research question(s). Your work in this discussion will also be a foundation for your Week One Assignment.
*Note: If you are not currently working in ECE, you can choose a topic based on past experience or a contrived topic that you anticipate in a future role or position in ECE.
To prepare for this discussion, please read Chapter 3 of the Mills (2014) textbook, as well as the Davis (2015) and Stremmel (2007). These sources will support your understanding of how to determine your area of focus and research questions, as well as how others in the field of early childhood education utilize action research to seek practical solutions. Additionally, read Chapter 5 of the Sagor (2000) ebook to support the development of your research question. In your post, respond to both Part 1 and Part 2 prompts below.
Part 1: Example Action Research Study
- After reading the Davis (2015) action research study, explain how this study aligns with the overall purpose of action research. Briefly describe the problem the researcher was trying to solve and the population influenced by the action research.
Part 2: Your Preliminary Area of Focus
- Describe your current professional role and setting. If you are not working in early childhood education at this time, you can use a previous or future role that aligns with your career goals and interests.
- Explanation of Problem
- State the problem or situation that led to this interest or why you want to pursue this topic, including trends in education or educational research.
- Briefly describe the population of children (or teachers, staff, families, etc.) that would be the focus of your study.
- Purpose Statement
- In one sentence, state the purpose of your action research study.
- Preliminary Research Question(s)
- What do you wonder? What do you hope to answer? Draft a research question that seeks to explore the problem you discussed above.
- Locus of Control
- Explain how the problem and the questions you want to answer are within your locus of control. If you are using a past experience or contrived topic because you are not currently working in ECE, please explain locus of control as related to your previous position or anticipated future position.