El-Dib Levels of Reflection in Action Research

El-Dib, M. A. B. (2007). Levels of reflection in action research. An overview and an assessment tool. Teaching and Teacher Education, 23, 24-35.

Summary: The author provided an overview of reflection and a rationale as to why action research requires an assessment tool different from current continua and other assessment tools on reflection. The author created an assessment tool for action research and implemented it in a course that s/he was teaching.

Research Questions:

  1. How would reflective thinking of prospective teachers in their action research be assessed?
  2. What levels of reflective thinking would prospective teachers exhibit in their action research?


The Tool: (Appendix A. The Inventory of Reflective Thinking via Action Research (IRTAR)) (p. 34).



Problem statement     0 Describes the problem without considering its possible reasons.

                                    1 Describes the problem giving a single because and effect reason (e.g. They misbehave because they hate school).

                                    2 Describes the problem considering possible multiple reasons.

                                    3 Describes the problem considering multiple reasons including larger societal, ethical, or cultural reasons


Plan of action             0 Decides to take an action at a procedural level without further consideration of the action, its reasons/rationale.

                                    1 Decides to investigate multiple actions without giving a rationale for any.

                                    2 Decides to investigate multiple actions giving a single reason or rationale for each action.

                                    3 Decides to investigate multiple actions giving multiple reasons or rationales for each relating them to other theories/readings.



Acting                         0 Gives no report of procedures followed and how he actually conducted the plan. (e.g. I followed the plan)

                                    1 Describes the actions he took giving specific examples of how he carried out the plan.

                                    2 Describes the actions showing an awareness of the inadequacies, complexities and limitations of his work

                                    3 Describes the actions showing awareness of the possible negative and positive consequences of them. (Punishing students might keep them quiet but it may not make them learn).



Reviewing                  0 Showing satisfaction/dissatisfaction with action(s) taken without giving reasons/or giving simple reason(s) and proposing no further actions.

                                    1 Showing satisfaction/dissatisfaction with action(s) taken giving reasons, drawing conclusions and proposing further action(s)

                                    2 Showing satisfaction with actions giving reasons but expressing awareness of limitations of action and proposing further action

                                    3 Showing satisfaction/dissatisfaction with actions giving reasons and showing awareness of ones’ own beliefs and their possible limitations relating them to other societal, cultural or ethical issues and proposing further actions or visions.”