Collaborative Action Research (CAR) is an enquiry process used in a range of the programmes that are offered across the eight local authorities in the West Partnership. It is highly flexible and adaptable and works in any sector and context to support improvement. The CAR process can be used as part of ongoing school improvement processes and can be easily planned to articulate with existing self-evaluation activity.
Below you will find resources that are designed to support schools and centres that are undertaking CAR either as part of one of the West Partnership programmes or independently. These resources were created in partnership with the Robert Owen Centre for Educational Change at the University of Glasgow.
This handbook contains the rationale for using CAR, an overview of the approach and a workbook that can be used by those undertaking CAR in their establishment.
These narrated PowerPoints cover many of the questions most frequently asked by those undertaking CAR for the first time. The narration can be played by clicking on the speaker icon in the bottom left corner of each slide. These last between one and five minutes.
For ease, these narrated slides are shared here in two formats – as individual topics and, at the bottom of the list, all the slides with narrative combined into one PowerPoint.
Created in partnership with the Robert Owen Centre for Educational Change at the University of Glasgow.
— Kevin Lowden, Stuart Hall and Jo Neary
Research shows that CAR can:
The CAR process typically has four main stages: Assess, Plan, Do, Review (APDR)
The research question provides a clear focus for your project and:
Does introducing healthy sleep routines at home (via workshops delivered by home link workers) reduce rates of lateness in target pupils?
There is no “correct” type of evidence to collect. Instead, your evidence should reflect what your research question is.
Also, consider when your evidence should be collected:
Often CAR projects require more than one method to collect evidence to gain an understanding of whether a project worked and why.
surveys, standardised testing, existing datasets (e.g.: SIMD, ACEs, SEEMIS etc)
focus groups, learner conversations, lesson study and professional observation
The first stage of the CAR cycle is Assess. This is done by looking closely at the context and identifying an area of interest.