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EDU 590/592: Action Research

This guide contains resources to help students with their Action Research course.

Intro to Action Research

Focus the Study and Set the Stage:

1. Select a topic
2. Narrow the topic
3. Develop a research question
4. Identify the purpose of the study
5. Identify problems surrounding the study
6. Describe the context of the study
7. Identify central issues and subtopics

Summarized from Alber, Sandra M.. A Toolkit for Action Research. Lanham, US: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2010. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 13 May 2016.

Purpose of the literature review:

1. Demonstrate an understanding of the field
2. Inform and shape the research project
3. Prepare future readers of the study to understand the context of the project

May include:
- Rationale or why the study is important
- Historical perspectives and seminal research
- Key concepts
- Current research
- Theoretical perspectives
- Key debates
- Human development

Summarized from Alber, Sandra M.. A Toolkit for Action ResearchLanham, US: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2010. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 13 May 2016.

  • Choose a relatively focused topic or question
    • Create a list of keywords, including synonyms, to use in your search
  • Search for current relevant literature
  • Create a working outline for your literature review, remember that you are wanting to:
    • Define and clarify the issue
    • Summarize previous research into the subject
    • Identify relations, contradictions, gaps, and inconsistencies in the literature
    • Suggest the next steps in resolving the issue
  • Group notes from your references into the appropriate sections of your outline
  • Use a citation management tool, such as Academic Writer (below) to assemble a bibliography of research cited in your Literature Review.

Article Searching Tips

Use keywords when performing searches
Databases use keywords to identify articles that are relevant to your search based on things such as how many times your keywords appear in the document.

Do not use full sentences, database searches don't work quite the same as Google.


Would stricter border controls reduce illegal immigration?

Main ideas (i.e. illegal immigration, border control)

Related terms (i.e. illegal aliens, customs, border patrol, open borders, border policy)

Note: Use quotation marks to search for multiple words as one term (i.e. “immigration laws”)

Use Ctrl+F when searching
Hold down the Ctrl key and tap the F key.
This opens a search box in your browser.
Allows you to search for keywords on your active page.

What you are looking for when you hit Ctrl+F:



Internet Explorer

Note: Ctrl+F also works in most pdfs and other documents, such as Excel spreadsheets.

Use the Advanced Search
This will give you additional se
arch options so you can perform more targeted searches.

Advanced Search options: ERIC Number, Intended Audience, Publication Type

Advanced Search options: Item Type, Publication Title, Discipline

Advanced Search options: Tests & Measures, Record Type, Age Groups, Methodology

Advanced Search options: Current Events, Topics, Lexile, Number of Pages


Access Marian University Library content using Google Scholar.

Click on the link below to view a tutorial on how to make the best use of this resource. 

Google Scholar Tutorial