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Abstract

Action research classes are being offered in many universities as part of the education curriculum. The definition and methods for conducting educational action research are as varied as the projects and people engaging in them. This paper seeks to define educational action research as it applies to one graduate program that incorporates action research classes into its Master of Education program as a requirement for the graduate degree. The university is a small private liberal arts university that graduates 50-70 teachers from it masters’ program each year. The research is grounded in in-depth interviews with the two professors who organized, planned, and initiated the action research classes. In addition to defining action research the paper examines the rationale and formation of the classes. The analysis shows that while the action research classes can be empowering for the professors and the practicing teachers, the practicing teacher’s research projects are greatly influenced by the prior research knowledge of the instructing professor and the university’s institutional review board.

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