Action Research in Science Education: A twenty-year personal perspective
Keywords:Instructional Design, In-service Teacher Education, Teacher Professional Development, Science Curriculum Development
Educational action research covers a broad range of strategies and methods to innovate the practice of education by a cyclical approach of implementing change and researching its effects for further improvement. By being a pragmatic and emancipatory approach, action research is done by or with teachers to meet their needs and problems in practice, and to contribute to their empowerment and continuing professional development. This paper opens up some perspectives on operating action research in domain-specific educational fields with a special focus on science education. It is based in personal experiences by the author from almost 20 years of applying action research in chemistry and science education.
Altheide, D., & Johnson, J. (1994). Criteria for assessing interpretative validity in qualitative research. In N. Denzin & Y. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research (pp. 485-499). Newsbury Park: Sage.
Altrichter, H., & Gstettner, P. (1993). Action Research: A closed chapter in the history of German school science. Educational Action Research, 1, 325-360.
Anderson, R., & Helms, J. V. (2001). The ideal of standards and the reality of schools: needed research. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 38, 3-16.
Belova, N., & Eilks, I. (2015). Learning with and about advertising in chemistry education with a lesson plan on natural cosmetics – a case study. Chemistry Education Research and Practice, 16, 578-588.
Bencze, L., & Hodson, D. (1999). Changing practice by changing practice: toward more authentic science and science curriculum development. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 36, 521-539.
Bindernagel, J. A., & Eilks, I. (2009). The roadmap approach to portray and develop chemistry teachers Pedagogical Content Knowledge concerning the particulate nature of matter. Chemistry Education Research and Practice, 9(2), 77-85.
Bodner, G., MacIsaac, D., & White, S. (1999). Action research: overcoming the sports mentality approach to assessment/evaluation. University Chemistry Education, 3 (1), 31-36.
Burmeister, M., & Eilks, I. (2013a). German chemistry student teachers' and trainee teachers' understanding of sustainability and education for sustainable development. Science Education International, 24, 167-194.
Burmeister, M., & Eilks, I. (2013b). Using participatory action research to develop a course module on Education for Sustainable Development in pre-service chemistry teacher education. Centre for Educational Policy Studies Journal, 3, 59-78.
Burmeister, M., Schmidt-Jacob, S., & Eilks, I. (2013). German chemistry teachers’ understanding of sustainability and education for sustainable development – an interview case study. Chemistry Education Research and Practice, 14, 169-176.
Carr, W., & Kemmis, S. (1986). Becoming critical: education, knowledge and action research. London: Falmer.
Costa, N., Marques, L., & Kempa, R. (2000). Science teachers' awareness of findings from education research. Chemistry Education Research and Practice, 1 (1), 31-36.
De Jong, O. (2000). Crossing the borders: chemical education research and teaching practice. University Chemistry Education, 4(1), 29-32.
Eilks, I. (2003). Co-operative curriculum development in a project of Participatory Action Research within chemical education: Teachers' reflections. Science Education International, 14(4), 41-49.
Eilks, I. (2005). Experiences and reflections about teaching atomic structure in a jigsaw classroom in lower secondary school chemistry lessons. Journal of Chemical Education, 82, 313-320.
Eilks, I. (2013). Teachers’ ways through the particulate nature of matter in lower secondary chemistry teaching: A continued change of different models vs. a coherent conceptual structure?. In G. Tsaparlis & H. Sevian (eds.), Concepts of matter in science education (pp. 213-230). Dordrecht: Springer.
Eilks, I. (2014). Action research in science education: From a general justification to a specific model in practice. In T. Stern, F. Rauch, A. Schuster, & A. Townsend (eds.), Action research, innovation and change (pp. 156-176). London: Routledge.
Eilks, I., Leerhoff, G., & Moellering, J. (2002). Was ist eigentlich eine chemische Reaktion? [What in fact is a chemical reaction?]. Der Mathematische und Naturwissenschaftliche Unterricht, 55, 84-91.
Eilks, I., & Feierabend, T. (2013). Developing the curriculum by participatory action research – an interdisciplinary project on climate change. In T. Plomp & N. Nieveen (Eds.), Educational design research: introduction and illustrative cases (pp. 321-338). Enschede: SLO Netherlands.
Eilks, I. & Markic, S., (2011). Effects of a long-term participatory action research project on science teachers’ professional development. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, 7(3), 149-160.
Eilks, I., Markic, S., & Witteck, T. (2010). Collaborative innovation of the science classroom by participatory action research – theory and practice in a project of implementing cooperative learning methods in chemistry education. In M. Valenčič Zuljan & J. Vogrinc (eds.), Facilitating effective student learning through teacher research and innovation (pp. 77-101). Ljubljana: University of Ljubljana.
Eilks, I., & Moellering, J. (2001). Neue Wege zu einem faecheruebergreifenden Verständnis des Teilchenkonzepts [New ways towards an inter-disciplinary understanding of the particle concept]. Der Mathematische und Naturwissenschaftliche Unterricht, 54, 421-427.
Eilks, I., Möllering, J., & Valanides, N. (2007). Seventh-grade students' understanding of chemical reactions – Reflections from an action research interview study. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, 4 (3), 271-286.
Eilks, I., & Ralle, B. (2002). Participatory action research in chemical education. In B. Ralle & Eilks, I. (Eds.) Research in Chemical Education - What does this mean? (pp. 87-98). Aachen, Shaker.
Eilks, I., Witteck, T., & Pietzner, V. (2009). A critical discussion of the efficacy of using visual learning aids from the Internet to promote understanding, illustrated with examples explaining the Daniell voltaic cell. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, 6(2), 145-152.
Eilks, I., et al. (2005). Chemie interaktiv. Berlin: Cornelsen.
Elliott, J. (2005). Becoming critical: the failure to connect. Educational Action Research, 13, 359-374.
European Commission (2013). Supporting teacher educators for better learning outcomes. Brussels: European Commission. Accessed online b, April 14, 2018, at ec.europa.eu/dgs/education.../support-teacher-educators_en.pdf.
European Commission (2015). Shaping career-long perspectives on teaching. A guide on policies to improve initial teacher education. Brussels: European Commission. R Accessed online, April 14, 2018, at ec.europa.eu/dgs/education_culture/repository/education/library/reports/initial-teacher-education_en.pdf.
Feldman, A. (1996). Enhancing the practice of physics teachers: Mechanisms for the generation and sharing of knowledge and understanding in collaborative action research. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 33, 513-540.
Feldman, A., & Minstrel, J. (2000). Action Research as a research methodology for study of teaching and learning science. In A. E. Kelly & R. A. Lesh (Eds.), Handbook of research design in mathematics and science education (pp. 429-455). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Gilbert, J. K, & Newberry, M. (2004). The Cams Hill Science Consortium: An institutional collaborative action research project. In B. Ralle & I. Eilks (eds.), Quality in practice-oriented research in science education (pp. 53-62). Aachen. Shaker.
Grundy, S. (1982). Three modes of action research, Curriculum Perspectives, 2 (3), 23-34.
Haney, J. J., Czerniak, C. M., & Lumpe, A. T. (1996). Teacher beliefs and intentions regarding the implementation of science education reform strands. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 33, 971-993.
Huberman, M. (1993). Linking the practitioner and researcher communities for school improvement. School Effectiveness and School Improvements, 4, 1-16.
Johnstone, A. H. (1991). Why is science difficult to learn? Things are seldom what they seem. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning. 7, 75-83.
Laudonia, I., & Eilks, I. (2018). Teacher-centred action research in a remote participatory environment – a reflection on a case of chemistry curriculum innovation in a Swiss vocational school. In J. Calder and J. Foletta (ed.), Participatory Action Research (PAR): Principles, approaches and applications (pp. 215-231). Hauppauge: Nova.
Kemmis, S. (1993). Action research and social movement: a challenge for policy research. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 1(1). Accessed online November, 17, 2009 at http://olam.ed.asu.edu/epaa/v1n1.html
Krause, M., & Eilks, I. (2018). Using action research to innovate teacher education concerning the use of modern ICT in chemistry classes. Action Research and Innovation in Science Education under review.
Krause, M., Kienast, S., Witteck, T., & Eilks, I. (2013). On the development of a computer-based learning and assessment environment for the transition from lower to upper secondary chemistry education. Chemistry Education Research and Practice, 14, 345-353.
Mamlok-Naaman, R., & Eilks, I. (2012). Action research to promote chemistry teachers’ professional development – Cases and experiences from Israel and Germany. International Journal of Mathematics and Science Education, 10, 581-610.
Mamlok-Naaman, R., Eilks, I., Bodner, G. M., & Hofstein, A. (2018). The professional development of chemistry teachers. Cambridge. RSC.
Mamlok-Naaman, R., Navon, O., Carmeli, M., & Hofstein, A. (2005). Chemistry teachers research their own work two case studies. In: K. M. Boersma, O. De Jong & H. Eijkelhof (Eds.), Research and the quality of science education (141-156). Heidelberg: Springer.
Marks, R., & Eilks, I. (2009). Promoting Scientific Literacy using a socio-critical and problem-oriented approach in chemistry education: concept, examples, experiences. International Journal of Environmental and Science Education 4 (3), 131-145.
Marks, R., & Eilks, I. (2010). Research-based development of a lesson plan on shower gels and musk fragrances following a socio-critical and problem-oriented approach to chemistry teaching. Chemistry Education: Research and Practice, 11, 129-141.
McIntyre, D. (2005). Bridging the gap between research and practice. Cambridge Journal of Education, 35, 357-382.
Nespor, J. (1987). The role of beliefs in practice of teaching. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 19, 317-328.
Noffke, S. (1994). Action Research: towards the next generation. Educational Action Research, 2, 9-21.
Obaya, O. (2003) Action Research: creating a context for science teaching and learning. Science Education International, 14(1), 37-47.
Parke, H. M., & Coble, C. R. (1997). Teachers designing curriculum as professional development: A model for transformational science teaching. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 34, 773-790.
Putnam, R. T., & Borko, H. (2000). What do new views of knowledge and thinking have to say about research on teacher learning? Educational Researcher, 29(1), 4-15.
Scott. P. H., & Driver, R. H. (1998). Learning about science teaching: perspectives from an action research project. In B. J. Fraser & K. G. Tobin (eds.), International handbook of science education (pp. 67-80). Dordrecht: Kluwer.
Stang, H. (1982). Erprobung (Adaptation) von Unterrichtseinheiten und -konzepten: Verfahren, Erfahrungen und Ergebnisse. In W. Klafki (ed.), Schulnahe Curriculumentwicklung und Handlungsforschung. Weinheim: Beltz.
Stuckey, M., Heering, P., Mamlok-Naaman, R., Hofstein, A., & Eilks, I. (2015). The philosophy of Ludwik Fleck and its potential meaning for the teaching and learning of science. Science & Education, 24, 281–298.
Taber, K. S. (2001). Constructing chemical concepts in the classroom: using research to inform practice. Chemistry Education Research and Practice, 2 (1), 43-51.
Towns, M. H., Kreke. K., & Fields, A. (2000). An action research project: student perspectives on small-group learning in chemistry. Journal of Chemical Education, 77, 111-115.
UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) (w.y.). Action research. Accessed online May 22, 2018, at http://uil.unesco.org/literacy/action-research
Wilson, S., & Berne, J. (1999). Teacher learning and the acquisition of professional knowledge: An examination of research on contemporary professional development. In A. Iran-Nejad & P. D. Pearson (Eds.), Review of Research in Education 24 (pp. 173-209). Washington, AERA.
Whyte, W. F., Greenwood, D. J., & Lazes, P. (1989). Participatory action research. The American Behavioral Scientist, 32, 513-551.
Zowada, C., Gulacar, O., & Eilks, I. (2018). Incorporating a web-based hydraulic fracturing module in general chemistry as a socio-scientific issue that engages students. Journal of Chemical Education, 95, 553-559.
How to Cite
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Copyright © Authors