Action Research Proposal Outline





A. Background

In this section you need to present three items: (1) a brief introduction to the general area to be addressed by the study; (2) the problems to solve or condition to improve and their urgency to deal with; and (3) reason(s) for choosing the topic. 

In one to two paragraphs, introduce the general area to be addressed by the study. Use the description to create a sense of interest in the topic. In ELT research, these introductory paragraphs are usually written by showing the high importance of mastering English. The following example hopefully helps you write an introductory paragraph for your action research report.

Triggered by the globalization era, English has been ‘elected” the most important language to master around the world. To help Indonesian young generation master the language, it has been made one of the compulsory subjects taught in primary school, high school and some semesters at university. In some regions, it has even been taught in kindergarten. It is expected that the sooner the children study English the better their mastery will be.

Reveal the real problems and show why it is urgent to solve them. Use factual data (obtained by researcher’s observation or quoted from valid references) to support the urgency of carrying out studies to solve the problem. Relevant results of previous researches are also good to write here. Check these paragraphs.

However, facilitating children study English sooner alone cannot guarantee better mastery. If the teaching of English to the young learners is not provided with well-designed curriculum, good teachers, appropriate media, and conducive learning environment the program will fail. Johan’s (2008) survey conducted in Jakarta reveals that 95% of 360 senior high school students who began learning English in primary school could not communicate better in English than their classmates who started English learning in senior high school. Shamira’s (2005) study indicates that the major reason why senior high school students in Jakarta could not communicate in English was their poor vocabulary, and Wawan’s (2006) study exposes that the students in 25 primary schools felt that vocabulary learning is uninteresting due to the monotonous techniques and boring media.

The present writer’s observation in SD Laut Teduh Jakarta revealed the same condition. The students are unenthusiastic to study English, including vocabulary. Their poor vocabulary causes them unable to comprehend simple sentences with simple words, not to mention to orally express something in English. In relation to these phenomena, the urgency for providing young learners’ English classes with interesting techniques and media is very obvious. If we don’t solve the problems, our students will never have appropriate amount of English vocabulary. This, in turn, will make them unable to communicate in English, as Nation (2001) stated that language learners need to know very large numbers of words to enable them to communicate in the language.

Orlova (2003) noted that for the last two decades, the English as a Foreign Language (EFL) methodology has been actively considering the possibility of using music and songs in class. Based on her 10-year experience of incorporating songs in the language teaching, she claims the use of songs in language classes puts students at ease, makes them more attentive and can increase their desire to learn a language. Based on his longitudinal study, Lynch (2005) concluded that songs can offer an enjoyable speaking, listening, vocabulary and language practice. In line with them, Beare (2010) reported that using music in the beginning of a lesson is a great way to introduce new vocabularies to students.

Before closing this background section, provide reason(s) for choosing the topic. Write a paragraph to accommodate this. The following sample might inspire you to write your own. 

Vocabulary teaching and learning is an integral part in the English Language Curriculum used in SD Laut Teduh. However, most students face difficulties when they read even simple sentence and communicate in English because they lack the needed English vocabulary. To help these students, it is significant to explore deeper on these difficulties as well as provide innovative ideas in order to improve the teaching and learning of vocabulary. In addition, as a student of English teaching study program, I have a great interest in this problem. Find solutions for the problem is very challenging to me.



B. Problem (s) Statement

List 1 or 2 problems identified from the background in interrogative sentences. See the following.


The problem to be tackled in this study is specifically formulated as follows:

1.      Can songs effectively improve the students’ vocabulary mastery?

2.    How do songs improve the students’ vocabulary mastery in teaching and learning process?

C. Research Objectives

Write down the specific, clear and to the point statements of intended outcomes from the research to undertake. Do this transforming the questions in the problem statement section into positive form. Look at the followings.


The goal of this study is:

1.      To see whether songs can effectively improve the students’ vocabulary mastery.

2.      To investigate whether the students are interested in the use of blogs to develop writing skills.


D. Research Significances

List what advantages could be expected from the research’s result to as many parties as possible, e.g. to students involved in the study, to teaching practice, to ELT theories, and to the researchers themselves.


E. Research Scope

In one or two paragraph, describe the reason(s) for limiting the research factors. Then, describe the exact area of the research, such as period of time, the participants, unit of analysis (e.g., policy, programs, activities, actual behaviors etc.), method and instrument of data collection. Keep in mind that those items should be in line with the title. Finally, explain the impact of those limitations to the results and their applicability


F. Operational Definitions

Take some words from the title which you think could possibly be multi-interpreted by different readers (three to five terms will do) and define each of the words in accordance with the context of the study.







Start with an introductory paragraph in which you introduce what to present in this chapter.


A. Literature Review

Summarize relevant concepts provided by experts as references to the undertaken study.

In this section you need to cite from some external scientific works which will add credibility to your ideas. However, any time you cite from external materials, you are required to identify the sources in the form of systematic references. However, any time you cite from external materials, you are required to identify the sources in the form of systematic references. This identification will not only give credit to the ideas and work of other scientists (and thus, prevent plagiarism) but also provide the readers with access to these sources. To get a guidelines for doing this, see “Citing and Referencing in Research Papers.”


B. Conceptual Framework

In one to two paragraphs relate the background to the problems and show how the action research conducted will hopefully provide solutions to the problems.


C.  Action Hypothesis (optional)

State the action hypothesis in the form of if-conditional statement. See the following example:

If songs are used in vocabulary teaching, the students’ achievement will increase.








A. Research Method

Briefly but concisely describe (two paragraph will suffice) the research method used i.e. action research.


B. Research Setting and Subjects Features

Explain where and how long the action research was conducted. Include description of the students group (the students’ year/class level, male and female composition, their families’ economical background, level of related language skills mastery, and any other aspects relevant to the study.


C. Research Variables

In this section, determine the variables that provided answers to the problems. The variables could be (1) the ‘inputs’ related to the students, teachers, teaching materials, evaluation procedure, learning environments, etc.; (2) matters related to the teaching and learning process, such as classroom management, students learning strategies, teaching methods, etc.; or (3) ‘output’ variables, like students’ ability to apply skills they have studied, students’ willingness to initiate further learning, etc.


D. Action Plan

In this section, describe the actions to be implemented, including the plan, action/implementation, observation, and reflection/analysis phases. The plan description includes the preparation of pre-test, lesson plan (teaching scenario), equipments preparation, and alternative solutions to be implemented. The action/ implementation description reveals the actions to be conducted, corrective action scenario, and the procedure of carrying out the action. The observation describes the procedure for collecting and interpreting the data. The description of reflection/analysis includes the data analysis procedure and the criteria and plan for conducting the next cycle.



E. Data Collection Instrument and Technique

In this section, describe how the data will be collected, including the specific technique, its procedure and the instruments for collecting data. If, for instance, the data will be collected using tests, describe the feature of the tests and how they will be administered. Do the same to questionnaire, observation and interview if they will also be used.


F. Data Analysis Technique

Briefly but concisely describe the research data analysis technique to be used i.e. descriptive analysis and the statistical analysis (e.g. t-test)—if one will be used.


G. Data Triangulation

Describe each of the data triangulation techniques to be used to guarantee the data validity. If, for instance, theoretical and time triangulation will be used, provide the rationale of employing them.


H. Success Indicator

Set up relevant and realistic success indicator for the action research. To do this, you should perceive as many as possible factors that affect the research. Setting up a too ambitious indicator may drive you into frustrated condition. On the other hand, if the indicator is too low, your action research will seem trivial. Look at the following.

The success indicator of this 3 cycles reading comprehension development action research (taking place in about four months) is that at the end of the study the class achieves mean score of ≥ 7.5. This indicator determination is based on the fact that the class had never achieved mean score of ≥ 6.0 for reading comprehension.

Increasing the mean-score of a class in reading comprehension from ≥ 6.0 to ≥ 7.5 is still reasonable, especially if the students’ aptitude is good, the learning facilities are sufficient, and the planned intervention in the action research is theoretically effective for enhancing reading comprehension skills.


I. Research Procedure

List the general steps of conducting the action research, beginning from the step of forming the research teamwork, asking permission from the school headmaster (if necessary), conducting the research, and writing the report.



APA format should be used to cite references within the paper. Guide for using APA format could be accessed at or To get a practical guide for writing references using APA style, see the Referencing Style for JET.


  1. Very useful to me especially while doing my final action research proposal. I don’t know how to write an introduction and the literature review for the action research proposal . Thank you sir ,

  2. Thank you Sir for this very informative article of yours. I will be doing action research and I didn’t know how to start. I wound also like to ask how Action Research Proposal differ from Final Action Research? Thank you so much.God bless

  3. Sir, can we use the word ‘me’ which refers to the author as it is mentioned in the example of reason why the author do the research?

    “In addition, as a student of English teaching study program, I have a great interest in this problem. Find solutions for the problem is very challenging to me.”

    1. Hi Gita,
      Thanks for asking this very good question, because it reminds me to explain a point I never mention in our classes.
      One of the special features of scientific writing is impersonality. Thus, you should not normally write in the first person. So you cannot use ‘I’, ‘my’ or ‘me’ (first person singular) or ‘we’, ‘our’ or ‘us’ (first person plural). However, there is an exception when you need to report your action or reflection in your manuscript. So instead of writing, ‘To get the data, a group of students was observed …’ you can write ‘I observed a group of students…’. Then, instead of writing, ‘In the first cycle, the participants seemed …’ you can write ‘In the first cycle I have learned that…’
      Since reporting action and reflection are common in action research and ethnography, you can write in the first person in both types of research. But do not use it in an experimental research because reporting action and reflection are not common in such research!
      I hope this brief explanation satisfies your curiosity.

  4. It is really helpful to make my action research prosal better. Thank you, Sir… 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s