online collaborative action research, online discussion group, EFL teachers, reflective practice, action research


Technology can be integrated in teacher education and, hence, be used to empower teachers to extend learning beyond their classrooms. Therefore, the present study was an attempt to investigate English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teachers’ perceptions of action research and explore the impact of their collaborative action research in an online discussion group on their reflective practice. In addition, we were interested to know how online collaborative research action research contributes to their promotion of reflective thinking.The participants of this study were 23 Iranian EFL teachers who were recruited based on convenience sampling. The design of the study was a pre-test post-test design. As such, two questionnaires were given to the participants at the beginning and end of the study. As the next step, the participants took part in online discussion groups for 10 sessions in which they read and watched some essays and videos, wrote about some topics, and shared their ideas and experiences. To consolidate the findings, semi-structured interviews were held with 12 participants. The result of the study indicated that most of the participants of the study had optimistic views regarding action research. In addition, participating in online discussion groups enabled them to think more about their teaching practice and gain higher levels of reflectivity. The results of the qualitative phase indicated that the online courses had effect on the teachers’ practice and reflectivity in different ways. Despite all studies conducted on action research in Iran, contradictory results have been found regarding teachers’ perception of action research. In addition, to the researchers’ knowledge, no study has investigated the use of online collaborative action research on teachers’ reflection. As such, it seemed necessary to conduct a study to explore the role of action research as a framework for improving reflective practice.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Zahra Fathian, Kermanshah Branch, Islamic Azad University

MA in English Language Teaching, Department of English Language Teaching

Dr. Majid Farahian, Kermanshah Branch, Islamic Azad University

Assistant Professor of Applied linguistics, Department of English Language Teaching


E. Edwards, A. Burns, ‘Language teacher action research: Achieving sustainability’, Elt Journal, vol. 70, no .1,pp. 6-15,2016.(in English)

B. Kumaravadivelu,Understanding language teaching: From method to post method, Routledge. NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2006.(in English)

S. N.Mitchell, R. C.Reilly, M. E. Logue,‘Benefits of collaborative action research for the beginning teacher’, Teaching and Teacher Education, vol. 25, no.2, pp. 344-349, 2009.(in English)

A. Y. Castro-Garces, L. Martinez-Granada, ‘The role of collaborative action research in teachers’ professional development’, PROFILE Issues in Teachers’ Professional Development, vol. 18, no. 1, pp. 39-54, 2016.(in English)

J. B. Farrell,Empowering beginning teachers through action research, Chicago, IL: American Educational Research Association, 2003.(in English)

M. B. Hines, J. Conner-Zachocki,‘Using practitioner inquiry within and against large-scaleeducational reform’,Teacher Development, vol. 19, no. 3, pp. 344–364, 2015.(in English)

S. W.Williams, K. Watkins, B.Daley, B.Courtenay, M.Davis, D. Dymock, ‘Facilitating cross‐cultural online discussion groups: Implications for practice’, Distance Education, vol.22, no. 1, pp. 151-167, 2001.(in English)

R.VanOostveen, ‘Purposeful action research: Reconsidering science and technology teacher professioal development’,College Quarterly,vol. 20, no.2, 2017.(in English)

G.Barkhuizen, S. Borg, ‘Editorial: researching language teacher education’,Language Teaching Research, vol. 14,pp. 237-24, 2010.(in English)

D.Beck, K.Black, ‘Redefining research relationships: two heads are better than one’, AlbertaJournal of Educational Research,vol. 37,no. 2, pp. 133-140, 1991. (in English)

J. L. Lesha, ‘Action research in education’, European Scientific Journal,vol. 10, no. 13, pp. 379-386, 2014.(in English)

F. Dehghan, R. Sahragard, ‘Iranian EFL teachers’ views on action research and its application in their classrooms: A case study’, Journal of teacher education and educators, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 39-52, 2015.(in English)

A.Rahimi, A.Madani, H.Rahimi, ‘University teachers’ action research: An adventure into uncharted waters?’,International Journal of Learning and Teaching, vol. 8, no. 4, pp. 262-272, 2016.(in English)

A. Sheidaei, A.Tahriri, ‘The impact of participatory action research on EFL teachers’ professional development’, Iranian Journal of English for Academic Purposes, vol.6, no. 2, pp. 100-112, 2017.(in English)

M. B. Mehrani, ‘A narrative study of Iranian EFL teachers’ experiences of doing action research’, Iranian Journal of Language Teaching Research, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 93-112, 2017.(in English)

P.Ghafoori, R.Baharlooie, ‘Junior high school EFL teachers’ attitudes towards collaborative action research’, International Journal of Foreign Language Teaching and Research, vol. 8, no. 32, pp. 21-34, 2020.(in English)

C. H. Chou, ‘Investigating the effects of incorporating collaborative action research into an in-service teacher training program’, Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, vol.2, no. 2, pp. 2728-2734, 2010.(in English)

N. Cabaroglu, ‘Professional development through action research: Impact on self-efficacy’, System, vol.44, pp. 79-88, 2014.(in English)

C. West, ‘Action research as a professional development activity’,Arts education policy review, vol. 112, no. 2, pp. 89-94, 2011.(in English)

E. F. Calhoun,How to use action research in the self-renewing school, Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1994.(in English)

B. M. Capobianco, A. Feldman, ‘Promoting quality for teacher action research: Lessons learned from science teachers’ action research’, Educational Action Research, vol. 14, no. 4, pp. 497-512, 2006.(in English)

J. C. Richards, T. S. C. Farrell, Professional development for language teachers: strategies for teacher learning, Cambridge University Press, 2005.(in English)

K. Richards, Qualitative inquiry in TESOL, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.(in English)

A.Finch, ‘Action research: Empowering the teachers’, Pleiades: Journal of Teaching Young Learners of English, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 30-48, 2005.(in English)

A. Burns, A.Westmacott, A. H. Ferrer, ‘Initiating an action research programme for university EFL teachers: Early experiences and responses’, Iranian Journal of Language Teaching Research, vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 55-73, 2016.(in English)

A. Burns, ‘Action research in second language teacher education’, The Cambridge guide to second language teacher education, pp. 289-297, 2009.(in English)

A. Burns, ‘Action research: An evolving paradigm?’, Language teaching, vol.38, no. 2, pp. 57-74, 2005.(in English)

S. Kemmis, R. McTaggart, (Eds.), The action research planner (3rd ed.), Deakin University Press, 1988.(in English)

S.Waters-Adams, ‘Collaboration and action research: A cautionary tale’, Educational Action Research, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 195-210,1994.(in English)

K.Messiou, ‘Collaborative action research: facilitating inclusion in schools’,EducationalAction Research, vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 1-13, 2018.(in English)

M. Huberman, ‘Teacher Careers and School Improvement’, Journal of Curriculum Studies, vol. 20, no. 2, pp. 119-132, 1988.(in English)

R. Sagor,‘What project LEARN reveals about collaborative action research’, EducationalLeadership, vol. 48, pp. 6-10, 1992.(in English)

M. R. Wideen, School-focused teacher development, Paper presented at the International Conference on Teacher Development, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, Toronto(1989). (in English)

G. Kearsley, B.Shneiderman, ‘Engagement theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning’,Educational technology, vol. 38, no. 5, pp. 20-23, 1998.(in English)

L. A. Schindler, G.J.Burkholder, A.M. Osama, A. Morad C. Marsh, ‘Computer-based technology and student engagement: a critical review of the literature’,International Journal of EducationalTechnology in Higher Education ,vol. 14, no. 25, pp. 2-28, 2017. (in English)

M. Shohel, C. Mahruf, A.Kirkwood, ‘Using technology for enhancing teaching and learning in Bangladesh: challenges and consequences’, Learning, Media and Technology, vol. 37, no. 4, pp. 414-428, 2012.(in English)

B. B. Nomass, ‘The impact of using technology in teaching English as a second language’, English language and literature studies, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 111-116, 2013.(in English)

M. Singhal, ‘The internet and foreign language education: Benefits and challenges’,The Internet TESLJournal, vol. 3, no. 6, 1997.(in English)

J. Lock, P. Redmond, ‘Embedded experts in online collaborative learning: A case study’, The Internet and Higher Education, vol. 48, 2020.(in English)

H. An, S. Kim, B. Kim,‘Teacher perspectives on online collaborative learning: Factorsperceived as facilitating and impeding successful online group work’,Contemporary Issues inTechnology and Teacher Education, vol.8, no. 1, pp. 65-83, 2008.(in English)

W. W. K. Ma,‘Online knowledge sharing’,In Z. Yan (Ed.),Encyclopedia of Cyber Behavior, pp. 394-402, 2012.(in English)

K. J. Lamaster, N. Knop, ‘Improving Web-based Instruction: using action research to enhance distance learning instruction’, Educational Action Research, vol. 12, no. 3, pp. 387-412, 2004.(in English)

W. W. K. Ma, A. H. K.Yuen, ‘Understanding online knowledge sharing: aninterpersonal relationship perspective’, Computers & Education, vol. 56, no. 1, pp. 210–219, 2011.(in English)

D.Murphy, P.Slovak, A.Thieme, D.Jackson, P.Olivier, G.Fitzpatrick, ‘Developing technology to enhance learning interpersonal skills in counsellor education’,British Journal of Guidance & Counselling. Routledge, pp. 1-14, 2017.(in English)

S. Sarkar, ‘The role of information and communication technology (ICT) in higher education for the 21 st century’, The ScienceProbe, vol.1, no. 1, pp. 30-40, 2012.(in English)

J. Dewey, How we think, Buffalo, NY: Free Press, 1933.(in English)

R. Lane, H.McMaster, J.Adnum, M.Cavanagh, ‘Quality reflective practice in teacher education: A journey towards shared understanding’,Reflective Practice, vol. 4, pp. 481-494, 2014.(in English)

C. E. Hong, S. A. Lawrence, ‘Action research in teacher education: Classroom inquiry, reflection, and data-driven decision making’,Journal of Inquiry and Action in Education, vol.4, no. 2, pp. 1-17, 2011.(in English)

H. L. Lin, J. Gorrell, K. Porter, ‘The road to pre-service teachers’ conceptual change’, Annual Meeting of the Mid-South Educational Research Association, Point Clear, 18 November 1999.(in English)

S.Korucukiş, ‘Professional development journey through action research: A case of a primary school teacher in an EFL context’,Educational Research Association. The International Journal of Educational Researchers, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 30-46, 2014.(in English)

A. Mackey,S. M. Gass, Second language research: Methodology and design (2nd ed.), Routledge, 2015.(in English)

R.Akbari, F. Behzadpoor, B.Dadvand, ‘Development of English language teaching reflection inventory’,System, vol. 38, no. 2, pp. 211-227, 2010.(in English)

M. P. E.Morales, E. L. R.Abulon, P. R.Soriano, A. P.David, M. V. C.Hermosisima, M. G. Gerundio, ‘Examining teachers’ conception of and needs on action research’, Issues in Educational Research, vol. 26, no. 3, pp. 464-258, 2016.(in English)

V.Rahmani Doqaruni, ‘A quantitative action research on promoting confidence in a foreign language classroom: implications for second language teachers’, ie: inquiry in education, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 3-11, 2014.(in English)

K. F. Osterman, R. B. Kottkamp, Reflective practice for educators: Improving schooling through professional development, Newbury Park, CA: Corwin, 1993.(in English)

Ruan, J., & Griffith, P. L. ‘Supporting teacher reflection through online discussion’. Knowledge Management & E-Learning: An International Journal, vol.3. no. 4, pp. 548-562, 2011.(in English)

J. Lee-Baldwin, ‘Asynchronous discussion forums: A closer look at the structure, focus and group dynamics that facilitate reflective thinking’,Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 93-115, 2005.(in English)

A. K. L Tsang, ‘Online reflective group discussion-connecting first year undergraduate students with their third year peers’, Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, vol. 11, no. 3, pp. 58-74, 2011.(in English)

P. Adams, D.Townsend, ‘From action research to collaborative inquiry: A framework forresearchers and practitioners’,Education Canada, vol.54, no. 5, pp. 12–15, 2014.(in English)

K.Burn, A. Childs, J.McNicholl, ‘The potential and challenges for student teachers’ learning of subject-specific pedagogical knowledge within secondary school subject departments’, Curriculum Journal, vol. 18, no. 4, pp. 429–445, 2007.(in English)

S. P. Gordon, R. D. Solis, ‘Teacher leaders of collaborative action research: Challenges and rewards’, ie: inquiry in education, vol. 10, no. 2, p. 3, 2018.(in English)

J. M. Ferraro, Reflective practice and professional development, Eric Digest. ED449120,2000.(in English)

V. Richardson, ‘Significant and worthwhile change in teaching practice’,Educational Researcher, vol. 19, no. 7, pp. 10-18, 1990.(in English)

A.Urzua, C.Vasquez, ‘Reflection and professional identity in teachers’ future-oriented discourse’, Teaching and Teacher Education: An International Journal of Research and Studies, vol. 24, no.7, pp. 1935-1946, 2008. (in English)

K. M.Zeichner, D.P. Liston, Reflective teaching: An introduction, Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., Publishers, 1996.(in English)

E. C.Wenger, W.M. Snyder, ‘Communities of practice: The organizational frontier’. Harvard Business Review, vol. 78, no. 1, pp. 139-145, 2000.(in English)

D. Block, ‘Revisiting the gap between SLA researchers and language teachers’, Links & Letters,vol. 7, pp. 129-143, 2000.(in English)

S. Moradkhani, M.Shirazizadeh, ‘Context-based variations in EFL teachers’ reflection: The case of public schools versus private institutes in Iran’,Reflective Practice: International and Multidisciplinary Perspective,vol. 18, no. 2, pp. 206-218, 2017.(in English)



2021-09-28 — Updated on 2021-09-28

How to Cite




ICT and learning tools in the higher education establishments