The characteristics of action research in music education

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This review article discusses the use of action research in music education, its potential for producing knowledge and improving practice. This is situated in an analysis of action research studies in music education. The review demonstrates that action research in music education focuses on a wide variety of subject matter, integrates research and action, is collaborative, grounded in a body of existing knowledge, and leads to powerful learning for the participants. However, few action research projects are cyclical, deal with aspects of social transformation, or broad historical, political or ideological contexts, and there is little focus on reflexivity. The review suggests that, in order to undertake high-quality action research, researchers need a good understanding of action research, a focused use of research literature and a defensible position with regard to data analysis and the generation of trustworthy findings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-313
JournalBritish Journal of Music Education
Volume25
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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music lessons
action research
reflexivity
Music Education
data analysis
research project
knowledge
learning

Keywords

  • Action research
  • music education

Cite this

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title = "The characteristics of action research in music education",
abstract = "This review article discusses the use of action research in music education, its potential for producing knowledge and improving practice. This is situated in an analysis of action research studies in music education. The review demonstrates that action research in music education focuses on a wide variety of subject matter, integrates research and action, is collaborative, grounded in a body of existing knowledge, and leads to powerful learning for the participants. However, few action research projects are cyclical, deal with aspects of social transformation, or broad historical, political or ideological contexts, and there is little focus on reflexivity. The review suggests that, in order to undertake high-quality action research, researchers need a good understanding of action research, a focused use of research literature and a defensible position with regard to data analysis and the generation of trustworthy findings.",
keywords = "Action research, music education",
author = "T. Cain",
note = "AUH, M. (2005) ‘Make a difference in a public high school? A personal experience in music classes’. Proceedings of the 15th National Conference, Australian Society for Music Education, Melbourne, July 3-7, 2005. BANNAN, N. (2004) ‘A role for action research projects in developing new pedagogical approaches to aural and musicianship education’, in J. W. Davidson (Ed) The music practitioner: research for the music performer, teacher and listener. Aldershot: Ashgate. BARRETT, M. (1994) ‘Music Education and the Primary/Early Childhood Teacher: a solution’. British Journal of Music Education, 11(3): 197 - 207. BLACK, C. (1998) ‘Improving group dynamics and student motivation in a Grade 9 music class’. The Ontario Action Researcher, 1(1), www.nipissingu.ca/oar/archive-Vol1.htm accessed 23/01/07. BRESLER, L. (1996) ‘Basic and applied qualitative research in music education’. Research Studies in Music Education, 6: 5-17. BRESLER, L. (1995/2006) ‘Ethnography, phenomenology and action research in music education’. Visions of Research in Music Education, 8. www.rider.edu/~vrme [accessed 10/01/07]. BYRNE, C. & SHERIDAN, M. (2001) ‘The SCARLATTI papers: development of an action research project in music’. British Journal of Music Education, 18(2): 173-185. CAIN, T., HOLMES, M., LARRETT, A. & MATTOCK, J. (2007) ‘Literature- informed, one-turn action research: three examples and a commentary’. British Educational Research Journal, 33(1): 91-106. CARR, W. & KEMMIS, S. (1986) Becoming Critical: Education, knowledge and action research. Lewes: Falmer. CONWAY, C. M. & BORST, J. (2001) ‘Action research in music education’. Update: Applications of Research in Music Education, 19(2): 3-8. CONWAY, C. M. & JEFFERS, T. (2004) ‘Parent, student and teacher perceptions of assessment procedures in beginning instrumental music’. Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, 160: 16-25. COPE, P. (1999) ‘Community-based traditional fiddling as a basis for increasing participation in instrument playing’. Music Education Research, 1(1): 61-73. DAVIDSON, J. W. (2004) ‘Making a reflexive turn: practical music-making becomes conventional research’, in J. W. Davidson (Ed) The music practitioner: research for the music performer, teacher and listener. Aldershot: Ashgate. ELLIOTT, J. (1991) Action research for educational change. Milton Keynes: Open University Press. FOREMAN-PECK, L. & MURRAY, J. (2007) Epistemological bases of educational research: ESRC teaching and learning programme. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the British Educational Research Association, London, 5-8 Sep 2007. GAUNT, H, (2007) ‘Learning and teaching breathing and oboe playing: action research in a conservatoire’. British Journal of Music Education, 24(2): 207-231. GIFFORD, E. (1997) ‘Improving music learning and teaching through action learning and action research’. Proceedings of the 15th National Conference, Australian Society for Music Education, Brisbane, July 4-8, 1997. HAMMERSLEY, M. (2004) ‘Action research: a contradiction in terms?’ Oxford Review of Education, 30(2): 165-181. HARRIS, R. (2000) ‘An action research project to improve the quality of A Level history writing’. Prospero 6: 65-69. HEMSLEY-BROWN, J. & SHARP, C. (2003) ‘The Use of Research to Improve Professional Practice: a systematic review of the literature’. Oxford Review of Education, 29(4): 449-471. HOOKEY, M. (1994) ‘Music education as a collaborative project: insights from teacher research’. Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, 123: 39-46. JAMES, L. (1988) ‘Action research: conducting activities for third graders’. Teaching Music, 5(5): 42-43, 88. LEGLAR, M. & COLLAY, M. (2002) ‘Research by teachers on teacher education’, in R. Colwell & C. Richardson (Ed.) The new handbook of research on music teaching and learning, pp. 855-873. New York: Oxford University Press. LEWIN, K. (1946) ‘Action research and minority problems’. Journal of Social Issues, 2(4), 34-46 LOUGHRAN, J. (2005) ‘Researching teaching about teaching: self-study of teacher education practices’. Studying Teacher Education, 1(1): 5-16. LYTLE, S. L. & COCHRAN-SMITH, M. (1992) ‘Teacher Research as a Way of Knowing’. Harvard Educational Review, 62(4): 447-474. MACKWORTH-YOUNG, L. (1990) ‘Pupil-centred learning in piano lessons: an evaluated action-research programme focusing on the psychology of the individual’. Psychology of Music, 18: 73-86. MAJOR, A. E. (2007) ‘Talking about composing in secondary school music lessons’. British Journal of Music Education, 24(2): 165-178. McNIFF, J. (1988) Action research: principles and practice. Basingstoke: Macmillan. McNIFF, J. & Whitehead, J. (2005) Action research for teachers: a practical guide. London: David Fulton. MIDDLEWOOD, D., COLEMAN, M. & LUMBY, J. (1999) Practitioner research in education: making a difference. London: Paul Chapman. MILLER, B. A. (1996) ‘Integrating elementary general music: a collaborative action research study’. Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, 130: 100-115. MILLER, B. A. (2004) ‘Designing compositional tasks for elementary music classrooms’. Research Studies in Music Education, 22: 59-71. NOFFKE, S. E. (1997) ‘Professional, personal and political dimensions of action research’, in M. W. Apple (Ed) Review of research in education. Washington DC, American Educational Research Association. ODENA, O. & CABRERA, L. (2006) ‘Dramatising the score: an action research investigation of the use of Mozart’s Magic Flute as performance guide for his clarinet concert’. Proceedings of the 9th international conference on music perception and cognition, University of Bologna, August 22-26. ORMELL, C (2000) ‘Can Action research rebut charges of intrinsic subjectivity and subversity?’ Prospero 6: 111-121. PARKER, E. & FURNESS, E. (2006) Groove on: music for the future. Middlesex: IMPRO integrated music projects. PRICE, D. & D’AMORE, A. (2007) Musical Futures: from vision to practice. www.musicalfutures.org.uk/publications_inner_KeyFindings.html accessed 24/07/07. REGELSKI, T. A. (1995) ‘Action research and critical theory: empowering music teachers to professionalize praxis’. Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, 123: 63-89. RIDEOUT, R. & FELDMAN, A. (2002) ‘Research in music student teaching’, in R. Colwell & C. Richardson (Ed.) The new handbook of research on music teaching and learning, pp. 874-886. New York: Oxford University Press. ROULSTON, K., LEGETTE, R., DELOACH, M., BUCKHALTER-PITTMAN, C., CORY, L. & GRENIER, R. S. (2005) ‘Developing a teacher-research group in music education: mentoring and community through research’. Research Studies in Music Education, 25: 14-35. ROULSTON, K. (2006) ‘Mapping the possibilities of qualitative research in music education: a primer’. Music Education Research, 8(2): 153-173. SAVAGE, J. (2005) ‘Working towards a theory for music technologies in the classroom: how pupils engage with and organize sounds with new technologies’. British Journal of Music Education, 22(2): 167-180. SOMEKH, B. (2006) Action Research: A Methodology for Change and Development. Maidenhead: Open University Press. STRAND, K. (2006) ‘Learning to Inquire: Teacher Research in Undergraduate Teacher Training’. Journal of Music Teacher Education, 15: 29 – 42. SWANWICK, K. (1994) Musical knowledge: intuition, analysis and music education. London: Routledge. WASIAK, E. B. (2005) ‘litaohkanao’pi – The Meeting Place Project: an alternative approach to young people’s concerts’. International Journal of Music Education, 23(1): 73-88. WELCH, G. F., HOWARD, D. M., HIMONIDES, E. & BRERETON, J. (2005) ‘Real-time feedback in the singing studio: an innovatory action-research project using new voice technology’. Music Education Research, 7(2): 225-249. WHITEHEAD, J. (1989) ‘Creating a living educational theory from questions of the kind, “How do I improve my practice?”’. Cambridge Journal of Education, 19(1): 137-153. YOUNG, S. (2005) ‘Changing tune: reconceptualising music with under three year olds’. International Journal of Early Years Education, 13(3): 289-303. ZUBER-SKERRITT, O. (Ed.) (1996) New directions in action research. London: Falmer Press.",
year = "2008",
doi = "10.1017/S0265051708008115",
language = "English",
volume = "25",
pages = "283--313",
journal = "British Journal of Music Education",
issn = "0265-0517",
publisher = "Cambridge University Press",
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}

The characteristics of action research in music education. / Cain, T.

In: British Journal of Music Education, Vol. 25, No. 3, 2008, p. 283-313.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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T1 - The characteristics of action research in music education

AU - Cain, T.

N1 - AUH, M. (2005) ‘Make a difference in a public high school? A personal experience in music classes’. Proceedings of the 15th National Conference, Australian Society for Music Education, Melbourne, July 3-7, 2005. BANNAN, N. (2004) ‘A role for action research projects in developing new pedagogical approaches to aural and musicianship education’, in J. W. Davidson (Ed) The music practitioner: research for the music performer, teacher and listener. Aldershot: Ashgate. BARRETT, M. (1994) ‘Music Education and the Primary/Early Childhood Teacher: a solution’. British Journal of Music Education, 11(3): 197 - 207. BLACK, C. (1998) ‘Improving group dynamics and student motivation in a Grade 9 music class’. The Ontario Action Researcher, 1(1), www.nipissingu.ca/oar/archive-Vol1.htm accessed 23/01/07. BRESLER, L. (1996) ‘Basic and applied qualitative research in music education’. Research Studies in Music Education, 6: 5-17. BRESLER, L. (1995/2006) ‘Ethnography, phenomenology and action research in music education’. Visions of Research in Music Education, 8. www.rider.edu/~vrme [accessed 10/01/07]. BYRNE, C. & SHERIDAN, M. (2001) ‘The SCARLATTI papers: development of an action research project in music’. British Journal of Music Education, 18(2): 173-185. CAIN, T., HOLMES, M., LARRETT, A. & MATTOCK, J. (2007) ‘Literature- informed, one-turn action research: three examples and a commentary’. British Educational Research Journal, 33(1): 91-106. CARR, W. & KEMMIS, S. (1986) Becoming Critical: Education, knowledge and action research. Lewes: Falmer. CONWAY, C. M. & BORST, J. (2001) ‘Action research in music education’. Update: Applications of Research in Music Education, 19(2): 3-8. CONWAY, C. M. & JEFFERS, T. (2004) ‘Parent, student and teacher perceptions of assessment procedures in beginning instrumental music’. Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, 160: 16-25. COPE, P. (1999) ‘Community-based traditional fiddling as a basis for increasing participation in instrument playing’. Music Education Research, 1(1): 61-73. DAVIDSON, J. W. (2004) ‘Making a reflexive turn: practical music-making becomes conventional research’, in J. W. Davidson (Ed) The music practitioner: research for the music performer, teacher and listener. Aldershot: Ashgate. ELLIOTT, J. (1991) Action research for educational change. Milton Keynes: Open University Press. FOREMAN-PECK, L. & MURRAY, J. (2007) Epistemological bases of educational research: ESRC teaching and learning programme. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the British Educational Research Association, London, 5-8 Sep 2007. GAUNT, H, (2007) ‘Learning and teaching breathing and oboe playing: action research in a conservatoire’. British Journal of Music Education, 24(2): 207-231. GIFFORD, E. (1997) ‘Improving music learning and teaching through action learning and action research’. Proceedings of the 15th National Conference, Australian Society for Music Education, Brisbane, July 4-8, 1997. HAMMERSLEY, M. (2004) ‘Action research: a contradiction in terms?’ Oxford Review of Education, 30(2): 165-181. HARRIS, R. (2000) ‘An action research project to improve the quality of A Level history writing’. Prospero 6: 65-69. HEMSLEY-BROWN, J. & SHARP, C. (2003) ‘The Use of Research to Improve Professional Practice: a systematic review of the literature’. Oxford Review of Education, 29(4): 449-471. HOOKEY, M. (1994) ‘Music education as a collaborative project: insights from teacher research’. Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, 123: 39-46. JAMES, L. (1988) ‘Action research: conducting activities for third graders’. Teaching Music, 5(5): 42-43, 88. LEGLAR, M. & COLLAY, M. (2002) ‘Research by teachers on teacher education’, in R. Colwell & C. Richardson (Ed.) The new handbook of research on music teaching and learning, pp. 855-873. New York: Oxford University Press. LEWIN, K. (1946) ‘Action research and minority problems’. Journal of Social Issues, 2(4), 34-46 LOUGHRAN, J. (2005) ‘Researching teaching about teaching: self-study of teacher education practices’. Studying Teacher Education, 1(1): 5-16. LYTLE, S. L. & COCHRAN-SMITH, M. (1992) ‘Teacher Research as a Way of Knowing’. Harvard Educational Review, 62(4): 447-474. MACKWORTH-YOUNG, L. (1990) ‘Pupil-centred learning in piano lessons: an evaluated action-research programme focusing on the psychology of the individual’. Psychology of Music, 18: 73-86. MAJOR, A. E. (2007) ‘Talking about composing in secondary school music lessons’. British Journal of Music Education, 24(2): 165-178. McNIFF, J. (1988) Action research: principles and practice. Basingstoke: Macmillan. McNIFF, J. & Whitehead, J. (2005) Action research for teachers: a practical guide. London: David Fulton. MIDDLEWOOD, D., COLEMAN, M. & LUMBY, J. (1999) Practitioner research in education: making a difference. London: Paul Chapman. MILLER, B. A. (1996) ‘Integrating elementary general music: a collaborative action research study’. Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, 130: 100-115. MILLER, B. A. (2004) ‘Designing compositional tasks for elementary music classrooms’. Research Studies in Music Education, 22: 59-71. NOFFKE, S. E. (1997) ‘Professional, personal and political dimensions of action research’, in M. W. Apple (Ed) Review of research in education. Washington DC, American Educational Research Association. ODENA, O. & CABRERA, L. (2006) ‘Dramatising the score: an action research investigation of the use of Mozart’s Magic Flute as performance guide for his clarinet concert’. Proceedings of the 9th international conference on music perception and cognition, University of Bologna, August 22-26. ORMELL, C (2000) ‘Can Action research rebut charges of intrinsic subjectivity and subversity?’ Prospero 6: 111-121. PARKER, E. & FURNESS, E. (2006) Groove on: music for the future. Middlesex: IMPRO integrated music projects. PRICE, D. & D’AMORE, A. (2007) Musical Futures: from vision to practice. www.musicalfutures.org.uk/publications_inner_KeyFindings.html accessed 24/07/07. REGELSKI, T. A. (1995) ‘Action research and critical theory: empowering music teachers to professionalize praxis’. Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, 123: 63-89. RIDEOUT, R. & FELDMAN, A. (2002) ‘Research in music student teaching’, in R. Colwell & C. Richardson (Ed.) The new handbook of research on music teaching and learning, pp. 874-886. New York: Oxford University Press. ROULSTON, K., LEGETTE, R., DELOACH, M., BUCKHALTER-PITTMAN, C., CORY, L. & GRENIER, R. S. (2005) ‘Developing a teacher-research group in music education: mentoring and community through research’. Research Studies in Music Education, 25: 14-35. ROULSTON, K. (2006) ‘Mapping the possibilities of qualitative research in music education: a primer’. Music Education Research, 8(2): 153-173. SAVAGE, J. (2005) ‘Working towards a theory for music technologies in the classroom: how pupils engage with and organize sounds with new technologies’. British Journal of Music Education, 22(2): 167-180. SOMEKH, B. (2006) Action Research: A Methodology for Change and Development. Maidenhead: Open University Press. STRAND, K. (2006) ‘Learning to Inquire: Teacher Research in Undergraduate Teacher Training’. Journal of Music Teacher Education, 15: 29 – 42. SWANWICK, K. (1994) Musical knowledge: intuition, analysis and music education. London: Routledge. WASIAK, E. B. (2005) ‘litaohkanao’pi – The Meeting Place Project: an alternative approach to young people’s concerts’. International Journal of Music Education, 23(1): 73-88. WELCH, G. F., HOWARD, D. M., HIMONIDES, E. & BRERETON, J. (2005) ‘Real-time feedback in the singing studio: an innovatory action-research project using new voice technology’. Music Education Research, 7(2): 225-249. WHITEHEAD, J. (1989) ‘Creating a living educational theory from questions of the kind, “How do I improve my practice?”’. Cambridge Journal of Education, 19(1): 137-153. YOUNG, S. (2005) ‘Changing tune: reconceptualising music with under three year olds’. International Journal of Early Years Education, 13(3): 289-303. ZUBER-SKERRITT, O. (Ed.) (1996) New directions in action research. London: Falmer Press.

PY - 2008

Y1 - 2008

N2 - This review article discusses the use of action research in music education, its potential for producing knowledge and improving practice. This is situated in an analysis of action research studies in music education. The review demonstrates that action research in music education focuses on a wide variety of subject matter, integrates research and action, is collaborative, grounded in a body of existing knowledge, and leads to powerful learning for the participants. However, few action research projects are cyclical, deal with aspects of social transformation, or broad historical, political or ideological contexts, and there is little focus on reflexivity. The review suggests that, in order to undertake high-quality action research, researchers need a good understanding of action research, a focused use of research literature and a defensible position with regard to data analysis and the generation of trustworthy findings.

AB - This review article discusses the use of action research in music education, its potential for producing knowledge and improving practice. This is situated in an analysis of action research studies in music education. The review demonstrates that action research in music education focuses on a wide variety of subject matter, integrates research and action, is collaborative, grounded in a body of existing knowledge, and leads to powerful learning for the participants. However, few action research projects are cyclical, deal with aspects of social transformation, or broad historical, political or ideological contexts, and there is little focus on reflexivity. The review suggests that, in order to undertake high-quality action research, researchers need a good understanding of action research, a focused use of research literature and a defensible position with regard to data analysis and the generation of trustworthy findings.

KW - Action research

KW - music education

U2 - 10.1017/S0265051708008115

DO - 10.1017/S0265051708008115

M3 - Article

VL - 25

SP - 283

EP - 313

JO - British Journal of Music Education

JF - British Journal of Music Education

SN - 0265-0517

IS - 3

ER -