What is Teacher Research?
You are here
Teacher research is intentional, systematic inquiry by teachers with the goals of gaining insights into teaching and learning, becoming more reflective practitioners, effecting changes in the classroom or school, and improving the lives of children (Cochran-Smith & Lytle 1993; 1999). Teacher research stems from teachers' own questions and seeks practical solutions to issues in their professional lives (Corey 1953; Stringer 2007).
The major components of teacher research are: conceptualization, in which teachers identify a significant problem or interest and determine relevant research questions; implementation, in which teachers collect and analyze data; and interpretation, in which teachers examine findings for meaning and take appropriate actions (McLean 1995). Teacher research is systematic in that teachers follow specific procedures and carefully document each step of the process.
Read more from "The Nature of Teacher Research" by Barbara Henderson, Daniel R. Meier, and Gail Perry (Voices of Practitioners, 2012).
Teacher Research Resources
The resources below provide early childhood education professionals with tools to learn more about the teacher research process, explore accounts of teachers conducting research in their own classrooms, and connect with others in the field interested in teacher research.
Resources from Voices of Practitioners
The Value of Teacher Research: Nurturing Professional and Personal Growth through Inquiry
by Andrew J. Stremmel
View as PDF document
How To Do Action Research In Your Classroom: Lessons from the Teachers Network Leadership Institute
by Frances Rust and Christopher Clark
View as PDF document
Resources From Other Publications
The resources listed here provide early childhood education professionals with tools to learn more about the teacher research process, explore accounts of teachers conducting research in their own classrooms, and connect with others in the field interested in teacher research.
American Educational Research Association (AERA)
AERA encourages scholarly inquiry and promotes the dissemination and application of research results. It includes special interest groups (SIGs) devoted to early childhood and teacher research. Potential members can join AERA and then choose the Action Research or Teachers as Researchers SIGs (See “AR SIG, AERA” and “TR SIG, AERA” below.) AERA holds an annual conference with presentations of early childhood teacher research among many other sessions.
Action Research Special Interest Group, American Educational Research Association (AR SIG, AERA)
This group builds community among those engaged in action research and those teaching others to do action research. It offers a blog, links to action research communities, and lists of action research books, journals, and conferences.
Teacher as Researcher Special Interest Group, American Educational Research Association (TAR SIG, AERA)
This group consists of AERA members who are teacher educators and preK–12th grade educators; it aims to present teacher research at the AERA conference and elsewhere nationally. Early childhood teacher research is an important part of the group.
The Center for Practitioner Research (CFPR) of the National College of Education at National-Louis University
CFPR aims to affect education through collaborative scholarship contributing to knowledge, practice, advocacy, and policy in education. The website includes selected action research resources, including links to websites, book lists, conference information, and its online journal Inquiry in Education.
Educational Action Research
Educational Action Research is an international journal concerned with exploring the dialogue between research and practice in educational settings.
Let’s Collaborate, Teacher Research from Access Excellence @ the National Health Museum
This site includes useful supports for engaging in teacher research, including examples of K–12 research focused on science education. It offers information on starting a project, examples of teacher research projects, and links to online resources.
National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators (NAECTE)
NAECTE promotes the professional growth of early childhood teacher educators and advocates for improvements to the field. NAECTE’s Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education occasionally publishes teacher research articles, including a special issue focused on teacher research (Volume 31, Issue 3). NAECTE also provides ResearchNets, a forum to foster educational research with teacher research presentations.
Networks: An On-line Journal for Teacher Research at the University of Wisconsin
A venue for sharing reports of action research and discussion on inquiry for teachers at all levels, this journal provides space for discussion of inquiry as a tool to learn about practice and improve its effectiveness.
Self-Study Teacher Research: Improving your Practice through Collaborative Inquiry, Student Study Guide from Sage Publications
This web-based student study site accompanies a book of the same name; it provides a wealth of information on its own for teachers or teacher educators who conduct studies of their own teaching practice.
Teacher Action Research from George Mason University
This site offers information about the teacher research process, including resources for carrying out teacher research studies. It also contains discussion of current teacher research issues and a comparison of teacher research to other forms of educational research and professional development.
Teacher Inquiry Communities Network from the National Writing Project (NWP)
This network offers information on a mini-grant program supporting an inquiry stance toward teaching and learning. It includes information about the grant program, program reports, and examples of projects (including early elementary projects).
Teaching and Teacher Education
This journal aims to enhance theory, research, and practice in teaching and teacher education through the publication of primary research and review papers.