An investigation of preschool teachers’ ways of seeing action research using phenomenography

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One of the purposes of introducing the use of action research in schools is to bring about educational change in policy and practice. To make this happen, it is of paramount importance to look into how teachers actually see action research. We, the writers of this paper, are teacher educators, teaching preschool teachers courses related to action research. This study adopted the theoretical framework of phenomenography to investigate the different ways that action research was seen by the participants in our courses. From work samples collected, five ways of seeing were identified: (i) action research as merely aiming to teach, (ii) action research as helping the weakest children, (iii) action research as showcasing a teaching approach, (iv) action research as processing data for one’s own use, and (v) action research as evaluating children against expectations. We carefully described these different ways of seeing. The descriptions were very helpful to our own teaching of action research to other classes in our courses. In this sense, we stress the great importance of investigating teacher ways of seeing for improving the teaching of action research in teacher education and more broadly for bringing about actual changes in the practice of teaching in schools. Copyright © 2015 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-162
JournalEducational Research for Policy and Practice
Issue number2
Early online dateSep 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2016


action research


Lam, H. C. (2016). An investigation of preschool teachers’ ways of seeing action research using phenomenography. Educational Research for Policy and Practice, 15(2), 147-162.


  • Action research
  • Phenomenography
  • Preschool
  • Teaching and learning of research
  • Teacher education