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Beyond Actions

Psychology of Action Research for Mindful Educational Improvement

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Norijuki Inoue

Beyond Actions is a new breed of book on action research, going beyond procedural descriptions of action research and discusses psychological processes and epistemological challenges involved in planning and conducting action research. The book discusses in depth key concepts of action research and the ways in which these concepts actually contribute to the improvement of educational practice by assuming the viewpoint of educators. Dr. Inoue offers ample opportunities for readers to deeply reflect on personal, social, cultural, and philosophical foundations of practice improvement efforts and develop a comprehensive understanding of action research. Beyond Actions is targeted to educators, educational researchers, principals, and students taking graduate-level courses in action research, educational research methods, educational psychology, education foundations, educational leadership, and other related fields as well as anyone seeking a new methodology for mindful educational improvement.

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Chapter 2. Examining Assumptions: New Psychology of Research

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· 2 · examining assumptions New Psychology of Research Becoming an Educational Researcher In this chapter, you will critically examine your own assumptions about edu- cational research and explore the path you are taking in your action research. In doing so, we will discuss widely held assumptions that underlie tradi- tional educational research by contrasting them with the key assumptions that underlie action research. Discussing different types of assumptions that underlie educational research will allow you to avoid a variety of traps that could be waiting for you when you actually plan and conduct your action research project. First, let me introduce the concept of paradigm. Paradigm is a specific way of perceiving and approaching reality with a certain set of epistemological assumptions. This is an important concept because your ways of perceiving and approaching reality can greatly influence how you plan and conduct your action research project. There are different types of paradigms in the world. In the history of scientific research, many new paradigms have emerged and replaced previous ones (see Wallerstein, 1991). For example, in the eighteenth century, Newtonian physics became a new paradigm for comprehending physical laws governing motions in the universe. This meant the death of the assumption that it is impossible for 16 beyond actions humans to fully comprehend physical laws created by God. At that time, the Newtonian paradigm replaced the old paradigm that had defined how people perceived and approached reality. In the history of science, this kind of change is called a paradigm...

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