Friday, 5 February 2016

Planning for Action Research Data Collection

Sagor (2000) suggests that tabulating your research questions and aims can help you think through more specifically about what data you need in order to triangulate your action research project.

He suggests that we write our research question into the left-most column of a four column table on the first row. In the second column we record one data source, another in the third and another in the fourth.

We then add each of our research aims into individual additional rows, and complete the required data sources for each one.

For example, our research question might be "Could we motivate our [students] to conduct and complete Real World Advocacy Projects?", with the data sources recorded as 'Teacher journals', 'Student surveys' and 'Grade book records' (Sagor, 2000).

We then need to review our table and ask ourselves if these are the best data sources we can collect in order to answer each of our questions. When we are satisfied with our answer to each question, we have completed our data collection plan.

Dick (2005) suggests that we can then make an action research data collection plan by creating a three column spreadsheet list. Using our triangulation data sources from Sagor above as a base, we can brainstorm further ideas and form a more complete list. We key in all our sources (in rough chronological order) in the left-most column.

In the second column, we key in the date that we estimate - our earliest “realistic” date -  that each item needs to be completed by.

In the third column, we record any additional resources, support or help that we need to accomplish each item. We need to get specific: noting names and contact details of people, resources or organisations.

That should then give us a fairly clear data collection plan for our action research project.


  • Dick, Bob (2005). Approaching an action research thesis:  an overview. Retrieved 30 December 2015 from
  • Sagor, Richard (2000). Chapter 9 Data Collection: Building a Valid and Reliable Data Collection Plan. Retrieved 30 December 2015 from


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