Who could help? An action research or an experiment?

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    Amber Yuan

    I am currently doing a study but kind of stuck in the methodology part. I am quite confused of the style of my research. What I am going to do is to introduce a new assessment method (self-assessment) into a classroom and futher evaluate and analyse the characteristics and impact of it. It is an intervention, however, an experiment could also be seen as an intervention, couldn’t it? What I want is to compare self-assessment with teacher-assessment in order to suggest whether self-assessment could be used as an alternative assessment method in the classroom.

    I am sorry it sounds quite a silly question, but still appreciate if anyone could help. Many thanks.


    I would suggest a mixed method design of experiment, interview and document analysis. The experiment will determine if self assessment can replace teacher assessment. Interview will help you to understand why and how students assess themselves. You can also analyze the documents produced (homework, assignment etc) and see how a students rate a particular work. Hope this will help you.

    Amber Yuan

    Dear Yoon Sook Jhee,
    Thanks for your suggestions:) Actually what really confused me is whether it is an experimantal research or an action research. Obviously, what I will do is nothing related with a control group and pre- or post test. I will just use self-,peer assessment as an intervention and to evaluate its relation with teacher assessment. Can it still be considered as an experimental research? or an action one? Quite puzzled.



    It should be action research 🙂

    Nadia Ahouari_Idri

    Dear Amber:
    Concerning your question, I don’t find it silly anyway. I would rather suggest the experimental design here. Action research is less generalisable. Add to this that you are trying out the effectiveness of a teaching and an assessment method and its effectiveness. comparing the outcomes between the peer assessment and the teacher’s one seems more experimental in the teaching situation.
    The peer assessment here is the experimental group and the teacher- assessment is the control; because it’s generally what takes place in our classrooms. A detail that should be considered here is that the researcher’s position. Is the researcher and outsider or an insider? Thta makes a great difference I think in terms of the results and the effectiveness of the method.
    I hope this helps.
    I invite you to my network and hope you will like sharing discussions there where a great many of EFL teachers take part.
    cheers: nadia

    Pat Bazeley

    Does the label you put on a method actually change what you do? Your confusion is well justified because it does fall between the action research and a single case-control quasi-experiment – so why not say so? In any case, the overall purpose is evaluation – so there’s a third possibility in the labeling stakes (evaluative case study)! What’s important in writing up methodology is to introduce it with sufficient overview that the reader knows where they are going, and then to describe what you actually did, so they know how you got to your results and can make some judgement about their validity (or trustworthiness – depending on which label takes your fancy!).

    Amber Yuan

    Dear Nadia,
    I am sorry for a delay reply. I was away from the univeristy last week. Thanks for your suggestions and invitation. I would like to join your network:)
    BTW, I donnot think the teacher assessment could be the control group since its property is far dfferent from students’.

    Best wishes


    Amber Yuan

    Dear Pat,
    Thanks for your advice. Yes !what I am going to do is to explain it in the way you mentioned. I think it is more likely to be a case study–a case study after an intervention. Thanks.

    best wishes


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