SDP III is the capstone “Teacher as Researcher” project conducted as a clinical practice to ensure that candidates have the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to impact student learning. This occurs most often in the building where the educator is employed. The Teacher as Researcher project includes a problem statement, review of research literature, research design, data analysis, reflection of the study and action plan, references, and elements related to the professional dispositions. The study will be presented in a seminar or at the IU Southeast Research Conference. If a candidate is pursuing a concentration (such as reading, gifted and talented, computer education, ENL, special education, or content area) the SDP III should describe a study pertinent to the concentration. The SDP III form should be used as a guideline and rubric for the writing. The rubric is used for the blind-review process of evaluation. The SDP III guidelines form may be obtained from the Research in Education instructor. SDP III should be completed no later than 30 hours into the program. Check for specific submission deadlines for SDP III, available on the website and in the information sheet on Summative Decision Point Advising, which is regularly updated. Depending on the results of the blind review of the research paper, candidates may resubmit their work up to two times.

Suggested Reference Materials

Buchen, I. H. (2004). The future of the American school system. Oxford:Scarecrow Education.

  • Here, Irving H. Buchen projects the future of public education for the next 25 years. He identifies and examines the major drivers of change, profiles all the critical educational constituencies, and offers a number of common sense solutions to current and subsequent problems. Buchen also provides scenarios of solutions to prove that new approaches are doable and viable. [publisher]

Cruickshank, D. R. (1990). Research that informs teachers and teacher educators. Indiana: Phi Delta Kappa Educational Foundation

  • A considerable body of research exists that can guide the practice of both teaching and teacher education. In this volume, Donald Cruickshank provides concise summaries of research on effective schools, effective instructional practices, effective teachers, and teacher education. [editorial review]

Houston, W. R. (ed), Haberman, M., Sikula, J. (assoc. eds) (1990). Handbook of research on teacher education. New York: Macmillan

  • A project of the Association of Teacher Educators, this volume, directed toward those responsible for preservice teacher education and in-service staff development, offers a review and assessment of the research and knowledge base regarding the preparation of teachers, induction into tasks of teaching, and career teacher development. [Book News, Inc.]

Hubbard, R. S., & Power, B. M. (2003). The art of classroom inquiry: A handbook for teacher-researchers, revised ed. New Hampshire: Heinemann.

  • This book shows teachers how they can carefully and systematically ask and answer their own questions about learning. [publisher]

Josselson, R., Lieblich, Amia, & McAdams, D. P. (eds.) (2003). Up close and personal: The teaching and learning of narrative research. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

  • In this book, chapter authors challenge readers to think about narrative research in its own context while also maintaining original, personal voices that underscore the value this field places on an individual's communication of his or her experience. By revealing their struggles with qualitative research's emerging and evolving processes and their experiences working with students at various educational levels, these authors subtly, but effectively, arm teachers with tools that anticipate common pitfalls and frustrations. AT the same time, the authors relate professional triumphs that illustrate effective teaching - and doing - of narrative research. (eds.)

Lankshear, C. & Knobel, M. (2004). A handbook for teacher research: from design to implementation. New York: Open University Press.

  • This book provides a comprehensive and detailed approach to teacher research as systematic, methodical and informed practice. It identifies five requirements for all kinds of research, and provides clear and accessible guidelines for teachers to use in conducting their own classroom-based studies.


    • A clear definition of teacher research which insists on more than 'stories' and anecdotal 'retrospectives'
    • Innovative organisational structure based on the collection and analysis of spoken, written and observed data, with strong emphasis on the design of research projects
    • Easy-to-use and widely applicable tools and techniques for collecting and analyzing data in qualitative research
  • Informed by the authors' own wide-ranging experiences, A Handbook of Teacher Research provides everything the teacher researcher needs in order to conduct good quality practitioner research. It is ideal for upper level undergraduate Education programmes and for postgraduate research, as well as for teacher researchers who conceive and drive their own independent studies. [publisher]

Meyers, E. & O'Connell Rust, F. (2003). Taking action with teacher research. New Hampshire: Heinemann.

  • More and more, classroom teachers are using action research strategies to tackle basic issues and daily dilemmas--everything from designing their own professional development to reshaping instructional practice. Through their support of teachers who are eager to take up this work, Ellen Meyers and Frances Rust have found that the challenges to the reform of public schools are most likely to surface in three areas: resources needed to meet standards, conditions of the workplace, and status of the teaching profession. Their book is a lucid guide for teachers to address these and other problems in classrooms and beyond; to ask the right questions and design and implement research to find answers; and to use this data to effect change.

Every chapter contains rich examples of teacher research in action.

    • Jane Fung focuses on the conditions of schooling and the status of teachers in an elementary school in downtown Los Angeles.
    • Lara Goldstone, teaching in New York's Chinatown, looks at obstacles to successful communication with the parents of her students.
    • In a Lower East Side middle school, Matt Wayne confronts the problem of getting appropriate books for struggling eighth-grade students.
    • Carol Tureski at a high school in Queens finds that lack of access to high-interest, culturally relevant resources is a significant barrier to facilitating adolescent literacy.
    • Janet Price, also at a Queens high school, shows what can happen when teachers set the agenda for professional development around assessment in their school.
    • Natasha Warikoo at a Manhattan high school looks at the impact of class size on her teaching of second-language learners in her math class.
  • When teachers consider themselves to be researchers, not just consumers of research, they are exercising leadership. And when teachers form networks to share their knowledge, they are breaking down obstacles that have thwarted their leadership for so long. Action research empowers teachers to do just that--to lead reform efforts and provide the remedies needed for all children to succeed. [publisher]
  • When teachers form networks to share their knowledge, they are breaking down obstacles that have thwarted their leadership for so long. Action research empowers teachers to do just that. [editorial review]

Mills, G. E. (2011). Action research: A guide for the teacher researcher, 4th ed. MA: Pearson Education, Inc.

  • An outstanding step-by-step guide and companion website that will guide beginning and experienced action researchers. Includes a chapter on online action research resources including all key web addresses and screen captures. Provides a comprehensive coverage of qualitative data collection techniques applied to teacher research. Includes chapter vignettes and a chapter-length case study to illustrate the action research process. Includes chapter question ,"For Further Thought" to engage student sin conversations about action research issues. For Preservice and in-service teachers, teachers working on an advanced degree, and state-level licensing groups. [publisher]

Mohr, M. M., et. al. (2004). Teacher research for better schools. New York: Teachers College Press.

  • This book is about a group of experienced K-12 teachers who took teacher research to another level. Their story is not only about teachers working together to improve their own teaching, but also about how their research reverberated throughout their school system and influenced how their schools were run. Grounded in the day-to-day life of classrooms and featuring dialogue from the participants. [publisher]

Nadelman, L. (2004). Research manual in child development, 2nd ed. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

  • This is a hands-on lab manual in child development. It includes projects in psychomotor/perceptual, cognitive and social development. Projects are preceded by background essays on the history of that topic, related research, theoretical issues, and controversies.

Pressley, M. (1995). Advanced educational psychology for educators, researchers, and policymakers. New York: Harper Collins.

  • This book informs advanced graduate students, practicing educational researchers, and policymakers who have a need for state-of-the-science information about educational psychology and educational research. The contents emphasize the development of student understanding of promising directions I educational research that might be pursued either as part of thesis research or as a program of advanced scholarship. (author)

Sagor, R. (1993). How to conduct collaborative action research. Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development.

  • In this practical book, Richard Sagor describes how teachers can use a process called collaborative action research to both improve the teaching-learning process and make meaningful contributions to the development of the teaching profession. This second purpose is important, Sagor says, because "until teachers become involved in generating the knowledge that informs their practice, they will remain cast as subordinate workers rather than dynamic professionals.
  • Drawing on his work with Project LEARN (League of Educational Action Researchers in the Northwest), Sagor takes readers through the five steps of collaborative action research, emphasizing that the process is one that will pull teachers out of the harmful isoliation of their classrooms and enable them to consult and work with one another in the way that other professionals are accustomed to doing. [editorial review]

Strauss, A. & Corbin, J. (1990). Basics of qualitative research. California: Sage Publications, Inc.

  • This book is addressed to researchers in various disciplines (social science and professional) who are interested in inductively building theory, through the qualitative analysis of data. (author)

Online Resources

George Mason University Teacher Research Webpage
This is a Teacher Research Webpage of George Mason University which includes information about teacher research (TR), TR projects, research about teacher research, current issues in TR and links to TR such as the following.

The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)
NCTE maintains The Research Foundation for teacher research providing grants of up to $5,000 for classroom teachers, Pre-K-12, to explore questions related to teaching English/Language Arts. Applicants must be members of NCTE.

The National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy (NCWL)
The center was an independent research center sponsored by the U.S. Dept. of Education and was affiliated with the NWP. It supported research projects examining how students learn to write, how teachers can best help students who come from an increasing diversity of cultural backgrounds, and how writing can be used more effectively across the curriculum.

The National Writing Project (NWP)
The NWP's mission is to improve the teaching of writing and improve learning in the nation's schools. Through its professional development model, the National Writing Project recognizes the primary importance of teacher knowledge, expertise, and leadership.

Spencer Foundation - Practitioner Research Communication and Mentoring Grants (PRCM)
This foundation has three main purposes:

  1. To establish or strengthen channels for rigorous examination and discussion of the characteristics and knowledge produced by well-constructed teacher/educator-research.
  2. To provide teacher/educator-researchers with the opportunity to enhance their research skills through consultation with others in the teacher/educator-research and/or traditional academic communities.
  3. To support high quality teacher/education research projects.

Teacher as Researcher, a SIG of American Educational Research Association (AERA)
This special interest group of AERA is dedicated to showcasing research on practice by teachers K-12 and the work of teachers involved in adult literacy settings, community colleges, or colleges and universities. While this research can be conducted in collaboration with university researchers, the study should reflect equity of initiation, collection, analysis, and presentation, with teachers sharing equal credit and responsibility.

Teacher Inquirer
Teacher Inquirer contains links to teacher researcher reports from British Columbia, Canada.

The United States Department of Education
The Department of Education puts out an evaluation guide for assessing the use of technology. Much in the guide can be used to help structure an action or teacher research project.

Teacher-As-Researcher. ERIC Digest
ERIC Identifier: ED355205 Publication Date: 1993-03-00 Author: Johnson, Beverly Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on Teacher Education Washington DC.

APA Writing Style Guide
NOTE: The Division of Educational Psychology of the American Psychological Association has come up with a special issue of Educational Psychologist on Design-Based Research Methods for Studying Learning in Context. This volume (v 39, 4, Fall 2004) has articles titled: "Design-Based Research Methods for Studying Learning in Context: Introduction", "Methodological Alignment in Design-Based Research", "Developing Context: Negotiating the Tension Between Exogenous and Endogenous Educational Design", "The Practice of Design-Based Research: Uncovering the Interplay Between Design, Research, and the Real-World Context", "On the Theoretical Breadth of Design-Based Research in Education", "A Commentary on Design Research.”

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