What is classroom-based research?
Classroom-based research, also known as Teacher Action Research, is the kind of practical, get down in the dirt research that educators can use to improve student learning. It is not focused on getting published (although classroom-based studies may be published) but rather on improving student learning. Some people call this "Action Research" because the focus is more on the actions you will take to improve things rather than on developing highly technical research methods.
The term classroom-based research does not refer to a specific methodology or topic so much as it refers to a way of thinking. The goal is to use a well thought out process to collect data that can help you answer questions. For example classroom-based research could help you answer questions such as:
- What skills do my students enter my class with?
- What are my student's perceptions of what they will learn in my class and how do those perceptions affect how well they perform?
- From my student's perspective how does a person's cultural background affect his or her learning styles?
- Is culture a factor in my class that relates to student performance?
- Can I improve student learning by implementing a new approach to teaching a particularly complex topic?
You get the idea! If you take the time to think about your own courses and the students you interact with, you can probably come up with hundreds of questions that, if you had the answers, you could dramatically improve student learning and/or retention. This is what classroom-based learning is all about.
If you want conduct classroom-based research to improve your student's learning, the ARC Research Office is here to help you! We can provide you with college data as well as help you find the best ways to collect your own data. We can also help you analyze and interpret your data.
Additionally, there are professors on campus with a lot of experience conducting classroom-based research and some of them have expressed a real willingness to answer questions other professors may have. Use these valuable resources! They will make your own classroom-based research better and it will improve the entire college as we work together to enhance student success.