Action Research Project on Using Graphic Novels in the Classroom: Definitions and Approval (Part 2)

Defining Action Research
With the annotated bibliography and literature review complete, it was time to begin my action research. For those new to research, or not familiar with the concept, action research is essentially the study of a subject (aka person) to monitor the effects of some kind of intervention. The research typically answers some kind of “yes” or “no” question, such as “Do graphic novels positively affect student comprehension when used in the classroom?” Action research quantifies the results of the study and typically includes graphs or charts.

Getting My Action Research Project Ready
As with teaching, there is a lot of work that goes into getting an Action Research project ready. I started by outlining my proposal and submitting it to my professor for feedback. She was incredibly helpful in her suggestions and pushed me to add more. My initial outline included the basics to any research project: goal, definitions, research question, variables to investigate, interventions, and group model design. I also included the tools I would need and the demographics of the participants and setting.

In short, my plan was (and still is) to have an experimental group and a control group. Both will take the pretest and posttest and participate in interviews. However, only the experimental group will receive the intervention of reading graphic novels; the other group will read the original text. This allows a baseline to be established.

Getting Approval
After updating my proposal outline, I moved to create permission slips for parents. This part was crucial for both my protection and that of the project. Parents needed to be aware that I would protect the anonymity of their child at all times, but I would be using the data from the project in my report and would ultimately seek publication. When I felt that the permission slip accurately conveyed the options to the parents, I presented my project to the principal for approval. He read it over and provided me written permission to move forward.

I sent the permissions slips home with the students and within the week had received 100% of them back. All the students had permission from their parent (or guardian) to participate! Once I knew that I had the parents on board (or at least had their permission), I started creating the materials I would use for the research.