Scholars have criticized teacher education programs for using action research (AR) to improve candidates’ technical skills rather than promote its emancipatory goals. The author argues candidates who conduct critical AR promote its emancipatory goals and indicate a commitment to act as change agents for social justice through education. This qualitative study explores how candidates’ AR projects reflect (or not) critical AR. The author analyzed course assignments, student interviews, and her observation notes from a graduate-level AR course to discover how students’ AR projects demonstrate a commitment toward change agency. Candidates’ AR projects reveal that the majority explored cultural and institutional factors that may affect schooling. Additionally, students reported actions taken during and after the AR course that show a developing commitment to incorporate democratic practices into the teaching and learning process. Their reasons for research topics posed appeared to be practical and emancipatory. Implications for future research and teaching AR courses are discussed.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/stephanie_burrellstorms/10/