Identification of the problem

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Take a Close Look.


You have read earlier that identifying a problem is the first step in action research.

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After reading this material and performing the activities listed, you will be able to:

  1. Know the different areas in which action research could be undertaken
  2. Identify general problems in a school set up/institution suitable for action research
  3. Analyze the general problems identified and arrive at a specific/workable/pin-pointed problem for action research.

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We have now understood what action research means. We have also seen how action research relates itself to classroom practice straightaway. The next question before us is to find out how problems are selected for action research work. The fact that action research does not assume the dimensions of a full time research activity such as fundamental research has its implications for the selection of problems too.

In this section you will know the broad areas from where the problems are likely to emerge and how to pin-point the problem identified. These areas are not exclusive of each other. They may have mutual influence. The final outcome of any classroom based research should contribute to the improvement in the quality of instruction and learning. That is why it becomes necessary to keep the academic goals in mind even while working on problems that do not seem to be directly related to learning issues.


Action research, being a scientific method of solving immediate problems in the school set up, could emerge from any of the following areas.

ACADEMIC - Classroom situation, methods of teaching, student learning, problems of disabled children and the like.

SOCIAL - late coming, not doing home assignments, poor attendance, lack of co-operation of students, lack of physical amenities, student discipline and the like

CURRICULAR - textbooks, time bound syllabus, MLLs, lack of teachers’ handbooks, mismatch of age and content, gaps in information and guidance to teachers, arrangement of content, coverage of subject areas etc.

EVALUATION - test types (achievement tests, diagnostic tests etc.), periodicity of testing, scoring, giving feedback and the like.

ADMINISTRATIVE - planning, training, framing time-table and the like.

PROFESSIONAL – Self growth, desirable attitudes, motivation, leadership and the like.

We can further narrow down these areas into some major concerns which might be hindrances in the smooth functioning of the school. Study the following areas of concern.

  1. Late submission of assignments by students
  2. Consistent low achievement in academic subjects
  3. Unruly behavior of the students
  4. Pronunciation problems of the students
  5. Lack of reading habits among teachers
  6. Lack of co-operation among teachers.

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Study these action research topics and classify them into various areas mentioned above.


  1. If there are studies which do not fall into any of these catagories
  2. If there are areas in which no studies have been undertaken at the DIET level

[1]Topics of Action Research Studies conducted at DIET Shimoga [2] Abstracts of Action Researches conducted in Mysore District Activity Sheet on Identification of the problem