PHENOMENOGRAPHY: IMPLICATIONS FOR EXPANDING THE EDUCATIONAL ACTION RESEARCH LENS

Rodney Beaulieu

Abstract


Action research is a growing tradition for improving teachers’ practice and students’ learning outcomes, and it draws from a variety of methods for collecting and analysing data. In this article, phenomenography is proposed as an innovative approach for enhancing action research. With an emphasis on mapping variations on students’ experience, using their own voices, phenomenography offers an analytic system for revealing how students differ in their perspectives, and results from this approach can potentially lead to action research for tailoring curriculum to fit a diverse student population. Though popular among researchers who are interested in studying variation, especially educators, phenomenography is absent in the action research literature. Qualitative analytic approaches tend to reduce data to a few common themes, yet phenomenography is about purposefully coding the data to explore differences. In diverse communities, phenomenography offers a system for tapping a variety of perspectives/conceptions/experiences, including oppositional ones, and action research offers the means for improving educational conditions. While much of action research is committed to inviting multiple voices to resolve educational problems as participatory action research, phenomenography has not been explicitly indicated as a methodological approach throughout the literature. This article draws attention to the potential union of these two disciplines as phenomenographic action research.

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ISSN 1925-7147

© CAARE 2014